businesswoman drawing  ladder of success on the wall

Success comes in all forms in Christine Riccio's New York Times best-selling debut novel, "Again, but Better."

Another summer read for me, "Again, but Better," written by Christine Riccio, was one of my favorites this year.

This blend of fantasy and young adult romance was so fun to read. The fantasy element comes at a surprising time in the story, and I was not expecting it at all.

The main characters are funny and relatable, but the general gist of it all is that the main character Shane struggles with adjusting to her college in New York.

She has not made any friends and although she makes great grades, she is not having any fun in college. She travels abroad to London in effort to make friends, get out of her comfort zone, get away from her highly expectant parents and try to find romance.

Although there are struggles along the way, London was the greatest place Shane could have gone to step outside of her fears and really experience life for the first time on her own.

Main Plot Points:

  1. Shane's parents are overbearing and are forcing her to go into a field she is not passionate about.
  2. Her goal in London is to get out of her comfort zone, even though it is hard for her to be extroverted.
  3. Shane is very passionate about writing, and she signs up for writing classes in London, without her parents’ knowledge.
  4. There is a lot of travel throughout the book to many different countries in Europe.
  5. Shane's roommates and neighbors in London become her very good friends, and this is where she meets Pilot.
  6. Pilot is someone Shane meets right after she arrives in London. He becomes her crush. Their relationship becomes the focus the book.
  7. Fantasy elements are introduced later in the book, which is a surprising genre change.

Personal Review:

I thought this book was so fun. I love anything that has to do with traveling, so all the scenery around Europe was so interesting to me.

I love how the author incorporates fantasy elements into the story without completely changing the genre of the book from realistic fiction to true fantasy. The main character is very relatable, and it is so cool to see throughout the story how she gets out of her comfort zone and tries to be more outgoing.

Her feelings for Pilot are expressed in-depth throughout the story, which makes this book difficult to put down. I always wanted to read what was going to happen next between them.

As Riccio's novel was the first of her career, I think it is nothing short of a phenomenal start to a promising tenure.

KYLIE HAGMANN is a blogger for The Vidette Blogger. She can be contacted at kahagma@ilstu.edu. Follow her on Twitter at @kyliehagmann.

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