Review: Again, but Better

Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that? 

Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s a ticking, and she needs a change—there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure! 

Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart. 

Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless.

After a sucky beginning to college, 20-year old Shane finally decides to make a change and does a study abroad program in London.  Right away we learn that Shane is an awkward, shy, quirky girl who has a dream of being an author someday.  However, due to her parents’ expectations, she is a premed major.  But when she found the writing program abroad in London, she couldn’t help but jump at the chance, even if it means deceiving her parents for a short time.

While in London, Shane actually finds that she’s becoming friends with her flatmates, whereas before she’d kept to herself.  She also finds that she is crushing on Pilot, and they seem to have a connection.  But, of course, he has a girlfriend back home.  So while she often finds herself alone with Pilot and enjoys their on-off flirtatious banter, she must also debate whether she wants to keep her feelings hidden or just woman-up and tell him how she feels.

This was a book that I went back and forth with while reading about how much I liked it.  Part of it was the pacing in the beginning and another part was I thought it was going to be utterly predictable.  I was wrong on that final part.  The pacing actually evens out though as the story moves on, and I found myself invested in Shane’s adventure abroad and wondering if she’d tell her parents she doesn’t’ want to be a doctor, if Pilot would break up with his girlfriend, and if Shane would tell Pilot how she felt.

I love the theme of this novel though, which is to not let others choose your path.  After all, it’s your life, not theirs.  I totally understand wanting to make your parents proud of you, but in the end you have to do what’s best for you.

Overall, this story was enjoyable and full of a lot of relatable situations and circumstances.  But for me, I think it was more of a one-time read.  Maybe I’d pick this book up again in a few years, but it wasn’t a story that totally blew me away like it did for others.  That said, I would still recommend it, it’s a good book for sure.  It’s just not one I can see myself rereading over and over again for years to come.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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