Release Day Review: Begin Again

As usual, Andie Rose has a plan: Transfer from community college to the hyper competitive Blue Ridge State, major in psychology, and maintain her lifelong goal of becoming an iconic self-help figure despite the nerves that have recently thrown her for a loop. All it will take is ruthless organization, hard work, and her trademark unrelenting enthusiasm to pull it all together.

But the moment Andie arrives, the rest of her plans go off the rails. Her rocky relationship with her boyfriend Connor only gets more complicated when she discovers he transferred out of Blue Ridge to her community college. Her roommate Shay needs a major, and despite Andie’s impressive track record of being The Fixer, she’s stumped on how to help. And Milo, her coffee-guzzling grump of an R.A. with seafoam green eyes, is somehow disrupting all her ideas about love and relationships one sleep-deprived wisecrack at a time.

But sometimes, when all your plans are in rubble at your feet, you find out what you’re made of. And when Andie starts to find the power of her voice as the anonymous Squire on the school’s legendary pirate radio station–the same one her mom founded, years before she passed away–Andie learns that not all the best laid plans are necessarily the right ones.

Let me tell you, this book tackled a lot of feelings – leaving home, long distance relationships, life plans falling apart, mourning parents, and more – and I think it did a great job of tackling each one. I don’t think I even realized how many things were going on until after I sat and reflected on the book for a bit. It was all done so seamlessly. This story is definitely character-drive as opposed to plot-driven, so you know it’s going to be good.

“Anything worth doing starts with a mess.”

Andie is a planner, so when her plan to surprise her boyfriend by transferring to Blue Ridge backfires, everything for Andie seems to slowly come apart for her. She does make some good friends throughout the semester, and uses her “fix-it” urge to help with their problems as a distraction from her own. She does eventually face her problems, with the push from her friends, and learns some lessons from it. Her main character arc was to learn that plans don’t always go the way you want and sometimes you have to embrace the spontaneity of life. 

Meanwhile, I loved her relationships with her grandmothers, who raised her after her mother passed away. They were a funny duo and I wished there had been more page time for them. I especially loved how Grandma Nell’s trait of using food as curse words was one that Andie picked up.

“Pretzel bagel and unicorn cream cheese!”

The friendships Andie made with Shay, Milo, and Valeria were all just so pure and funny at times. I was a fan of all three of them. They were each fantastic characters and all had traits that I loved about them. First of all, Shay is a bookstagrammer and loves reading and reviewing books (which is all of us reading this, or most), and she has a great sense of humor and her immediate connection to Andie was so sweet. Milo – I just adored him, and I loved his addiction to his own brew of coffee, Eternal Darkness, that’s borderline legal on the caffeine scale. And Valeria was a fun addition, as well as an interesting one, as she is the rare combination of being good at math while also being a writer. I felt her hesitation when she was asked by Shay and Andie to read her manuscript because I’ve been there. 

The dialogue in this book is one of my favorite things about it. The characters are quick with their wit and I found myself smiling at the things they’d say to each other. Shay especially had that quick wit about her, as any great side character does, and again, she was probably one of my favorites in the story.

“My life may have just flashed before my eyes,” I say after we’re in the clear.

“Was it pretty?” asks Shay.

There’s so much more to this book that I could go on about, but that would make this review a novel of its own, haha. I’ll leave it here and just say that this was a very enjoyable read, and while it’s listed mostly as Romance on Goodreads, I feel like this book is more of a contemporary read because it doesn’t really give all its focus to the romance. The book is definitely more about leaving home for the first time, making and breaking friendships, and learning that plans can change at any time in your life.

I highly recommend this one!

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley for the eARC I recieved in exchange for an honest review

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