For my 2021 Reading Challenge, I had the category “A Book with ‘Better’ in the Title.” For this, I chose a book I had come across before, “Again, but Better” by Christine Riccio.
“Again, but Better” is a YA book that follows Shane as she travels to London on a study abroad trip. She believes this is her chance to do college the way she wants with friends, classes she enjoys, and maybe, she’ll get a boyfriend. But what happens when these opportunities come crashing down around her?
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. As with many YA novels I have come across, the cliches tend to run rampant in the book, but the characters and the plot was enough to keep me engaged.
While this had a slow start, I definitely got invested in this the more I read it. I accidentally flipped to the middle of the book when things began crashing down around her, and I became eager to learn what happened to get to that point.
The main character, Shane, is relatable in her quirkiness, and the family drama she experiences is believable. In the first half of the book, whenever her parents were mentioned or seen, the conflict that the character experiences with them is so profound.
The next point I will talk about is a spoiler, so if you haven’t read it yet, I recommend skipping this part.
The novel does have a magical element in it. Shane and her love interest Pilot are sent back in time to be able to redo the study abroad trip. Being able to have the opportunity to go back in time and repeat and fixed perceived mistakes is one many would take.
At first, the two focus on giving themselves another chance with their relationship. This does become annoying because Shane does spend more time focusing on the boy rather than her own individual interests. However, this is changed when Shane soon realizes how much she has changed from the original timeline, and not for the better. When she makes this realization, the last half definitely becomes better.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read once the drama picked up, and the meta jokes made were fun to read. I give this 4/5 stars.