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Again, But Better by Christine Riccio
Young adult

Again, But Better

Debut

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Christine Riccio, on your first book!

by Christine Riccio

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Quick take

When you’re a straight-A student, but you’re failing at life, sometimes a trip abroad is all you need.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Romance

    Romance

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Millenial

    Millennial

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Buzzy

    Buzzy

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Magical

    Magical

Synopsis

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.

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Again, But Better

Part 1: 2011

1. Take a Chance

I’m leaving the country because I have no friends.

That’s what it comes down to. People can continue along most paths, however unpleasant, if they have at least one good friend with them. Not having one has forced me to consider my path-changing options. Now, I’m thousands of miles over the Atlantic in a giant hollowed-out pen with wings, on my way to a study abroad program that’s irrelevant to my major.

My parents don’t know about the irrelevant part. Every time I think about it, my hands start shaking.

I grip the armrest nearest to the window. No second-guessing. I fold forward, trying not to bang my head on the seat in front to me, and extract the pen and notebook from my book bag on the floor—writing usually helps. I find it cathartic to pour out my soul via pen and paper. These days all my notebooks are Horcruxes, so I’ve started titling them accordingly; Horcrux notebooks one through eight are piled up in a Rubbermaid under my bed back in New York.

This new notebook makes a satisfying noise as I pull back the cover and flip it around to view my first entry.

1/1/11

COLLEGE, TAKE TWO: STUDY ABROAD GOALS 1) Kick ass at internship—turn it into a paid summer job. 2) Make friends you like to hang out with and who like to hang out with you.

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Why I love it

“I’m leaving the country because I have no friends.” So begins the sweet, honest, and utterly relatable debut novel, Again, But Better. While not all of us have jetted off to a foreign country in hopes of traversing our troubles, we’ve definitely all experienced those feelings of being adrift and alone.

Meet Shane, a 20-year-old college student who’s a wiz in the classroom (pre-med, anyone? oof), but lacking in social skills. Her dating life sucks, she has no friends, and instead of partying it up with her classmates, she spends weekends at home with her parents (womp). Taking matters into her own hands, Shane embarks for London with her eyes on a new internship, a smooch or two, and maybe even a sip of alcohol. Naturally, nothing goes as planned. But maybe that’s a good thing??

Readers anticipating this book likely know as much about its author as they do about its synopsis. Christine Riccio is a talented content creator with a fervent YouTube following. She’s also been a fierce advocate for reading since she was a very small human, so it’s extra exciting to welcome her—and her sparkling, inventive debut novel—to the BOTM YA community. But whether you’re reading to keep up with the convo on Twitter, or simply looking for your next favorite romantic comedy, you won’t be disappointed. Again, But Better is a knockout.

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Member ratings (1,155)

  • Ghelie T.

    Honokaa, HI

    I thought this book would give a “second chance” romance vibe, and I surely wasn’t wrong about it. There was a character development as the story went deeply. It was as if the story was personal, IRL.

  • Lily C.

    Boston, MA

    This was the sweetest story-I really connected with Shane & her journey made me reminisce on my own study abroad experience. This is such a light, feel-good read & I loved the characters’ relationship

  • Lauren S.

    Orlando, FL

    Next stop: Europe! Shane and Pilot made me feel like I was sitting on the edge of my seat with every surprising twist and turn. Their love story was an unexpected whirlwind adventure worth waiting for

  • Anna B.

    Mason City, IA

    The magical realism twist was really well done. Shane & Pilot are perfect. I identify so much with Shane and her journey. This book inspires me to live vicariously in reality. Not just through books

  • Elizabeth J.

    Brainerd, MN

    I wasn't so sure about this book at first, but it picked up and I couldn't put it down! Each character is constructed purposefully, and the added element of magic to the plot truly makes it sparkle.

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