Review: Again, But Better by Christine Riccio
For years, I’ve been a loyal subscriber to Christine's YouTube channel. Because of that I got to witness the process of her writing this book. Over the course of a couple of years, she would post a videos about her writing this book. She provided an in-depth look into the world of writing and publishing. And the release date neared for Again, But Better, my excitement increased. I felt as if I had been along the journey with her.
Unfortunately, I had not enjoyed the book as much as I had hoped that I would. This is not a bad book by any means. Christine put her heart and soul in this book and that is very evident.
Again, But Better tells the story of Shane who decides to study aboard in England because “she has no friends.” She is looking for adventure and excitement. As well as trying to not let her parents find out that she doesn’t really want to be a doctor. While in England, she finds her people. Including the guy of her dreams. Unfortunately, for Shane romance can be complicated and after her semester is over she leaves with her life messier than ever. Years, later she stumbles upon the chance to do it all over again.
At first glance, I enjoyed the concept that a character will get to have a “redo" on her life. But that was only in a metaphorical sense. And as I read, I realized that what I thought was going to happen in the book would be taken to a whole different level.
Again, But Better features an almost unnecessary twist. The twist doesn’t add anything to the plot. Post and pre-twist feature nearly the same results. The story would have been able to function effectively without the twist and it could have provided a much solid ending. Which would have been an ending that elaborated more on the future, instead of providing hints of what may have happened.
I love pop culture references as much as the next person, the references in this book felt extreme and overwhelming. There were multiple ones on the same page. It felt as if the author was yelling, “hey cant you tell that this is 2011. Look at this movie reference.” Since I’m familiar with Christine’s videos, I understand that she enjoys her pop culture, but I would have liked a little less references. At times, they did take you out of the story and they felt a little redundant.
Like mentioned, earlier Christine put everything she had into this book. In addition, to that, she made sure that she threw “her self “ in the book as well. I don’t mean that there is a character named “Christine Riccio" in the book. What I mean is that Shane is basically Christine. Every quality. Every word and even blog name, can be traced back to Christine. Christine didn’t come up with an individual character, she wrote her self and changed the name. I understand that is important to write what you know, but I was hoping for an original character with her own identifying qualities. I was already aware of this person so I didn’t have the privilege of discovering her.
Again, But Better features an underwhelming story of getting a change to redo your life. The characters felt a little too familiar and the plot twist was weak.