Rummanah Aasi
 College freshman Andie is used to fixing other people's problems, but when her seemingly perfect plan for her future starts to crumble, Andie struggles to fix them and learns that the best-laid plans are not necessarily the right one.

Review: There are not many young adult books that talk about the freshmen experience of college. While categorized as a romance, I think readers of that genre will be disappointed as the book really is a coming of age story with a romantic subplot. 
   Andie has always aspired to study psychology and attend Blue Ridge State. Since the death of her mother who had an illustrious college experience at Blue Ridge State and pioneered the college radio's program, Andie's goal had been set, but was unfortunately it was derailed when she put her boyfriends needs ahead of her own. After she’s rejected, though, she attends Little Fells Community College while her boyfriend, Connor, heads off to Blue Ridge. When she’s given the opportunity to transfer, she keeps the good news secret from Connor, hoping to surprise him; however, upon arriving at Blue Ridge, she learns that Connor has transferred to Little Fells to be near her. 
   Alone in an unfamiliar place, Andie’s has a lot on her plate: figure out how to maintain a long distance relationship with Connor, create a social circle of her own, pass a difficult statistics class, and of course meet her parents' expectations of success. In a slice of life format, we begin to learn more about Andie as she reveals her gift/flaw in wanting to make people happy. A natural people pleaser, Andie put other people's needs ahead of her own. It is her way to keep people near her. When her relationship with Connor comes to a crossroad, Andie has to decide what does she want out of her college experience?
    Begin Again reminded a lot of the television show Felicity, starring Kerri Russell in which Felicity makes the impulsive decision to follow her crush Ben and attend a fictional NYU instead of continuing her journey to medical school at a university in California. What starts as a stereotypical romance leads to a story of self discovery. Andie follows a similar path. Through ups and downs, Andie does make a circle of friends who she cares about and who equally care about her. She comes into contact with her perpetually sleep-deprived RA named Milo, whom she shares similarities with and slowly starts a slow burn romance. Despite all of these subplots, the focus on Andie never wavers and I found her first year college experience to be relatable and realistic. I also really liked the subplot featuring Andie's queer friends who also have a sweet romance. While this is a worthwhile read, fans looking exclusively for romance will be disappointed and/or bored. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, the main characters have lost a parent (one due to cancer and another a car accident), and mentions of underage drinking. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Study Break edited by Aashna Avachat, This is Not a Personal Statement by Tracy Badua 
1 Response
  1. I can see this appealing to higher-aged teens who are looking to post high school.

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