Again, But Better: Review

I inhale sharply. “I might like you more than the shawarma.”

“Damn. Shawarma was basically why you wanted to come back and  study abroad again in the first place.

I went into Again, But Better with pretty low expectations. There were many, many mixed reviews and I didn’t know what to expect. I knew that this book had a magical element in the second half and that the main character, Shane, was heavily based on Christine herself. I think knowing to expect these things before starting to read this heightened my enjoyment of this book.

Again, But Better follows Shane, who has been doing college all wrong, and is determined to reinvent herself by deciding to study abroad in London. There she meets a slew of new friends and a cute boy named Pilot (like the pen). Along her journey of self discovery, she travels to new countries and experiences everything from first kisses to finding her passion in life.

This book is as much of a romance between Shane and Pilot as it is Shane discovering what she wants to do with her life. The first half followers her breaking out of her shell and putting herself out in the world, like spending a semester abroad in London, and exploring cities like Rome and Paris. The travel aspect of this story was authentic and a joy to read, as you could clearly tell Christine drew from her own abroad experiences. While this book received some backlash of how similar Shane is to Christine, I didn’t mind the similarities. The constant references to things in 2011 did get a little excessive at some points, and I can definitely see why many people did not enjoy that aspect. 

The jump from 2011 to 2017 was a surprise for me, and I find the approach that Shane took to find closure a little strange. While the character growth was obvious, I just found it unbelievable she was “stuck” in the situation she was in with her life a couple years later. Why did it take her six years to suddenly realize she was unhappy in her current relationship and still hung over Pilot? Why didn’t she reach out to him beforehand if she was still not over him? Also the whole subplot with Amy was really messy. (spoiler) I don’t understand why the cheating that was included in this book because it doesn’t really add anything other than the driving force that keeps them apart. The force that could have kept them apart could have been Shane trying to balance boys and her passion like it did in the latter half. Instead the cheating just made me extremely frustrated and dislike Pilot.

Overall this was a 2.5 star read (rounded to 3 stars) since there were many aspects I enjoyed, like the travel and the parts about Shane’s internship, but also parts I couldn’t stand like the whole Amy situation.

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