Begin Again ARC Review! // now THIS hit on a personal level

Sometimes, you read a book at the wrong time in your life. Other times, you read it at the right time. And still other times you read a book and it quite literally changes the course of your life*. And that was me with Emma Lord’s latest novel.

*you might think I’m being overdramatic as is on brand for me but I’m actually only exaggerating slightly. i shall explain shortly
An illustrated cover of a girl and a boy standing in front of a pink college building underneath a rosy, sunset sky. The boy is looking at her.

🏫College story

🎙️Broadcasts and learning to find your voice

💓Sweet romance

A huge thank you to the publisher for an arc in exchange for an honest review!

TL;DR: A girl transfer to the school her now-deceased mom went to, with a grand plan for how the semester is going to go. However, she doesn’t count on surprise opportunities, new friends, a cute RA, and a very difficult stats class. Age Rating: 13 and up.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Emma Lord knows how to write heroines you want to root for, love interests you want to melt for, and plots that are somehow both fresh and nostalgic. Begin Again is her latest novel that does everything I said above and more.

We follow Andie Rose, a girl who transferred to Blue Ridge State College with the perfect plan.

  • Her late mother went to that same college and had been part of a secret society that you can only join if you get ribbons from a competition. That’s one!
  • Next, her boyfriend Connor already goes there, so they’re going to have a perfect relationship now right? Now we have two!
  • Finally, she knows she’s going to be the greatest self-help figure in the US of A, so why not start now?

Of course…life doesn’t always work out the way you want it to.

Andie’s boyfriend Connor transferred out to be with her, Andie’s roommate Shay needs help that Andie struggles to give, and of course there’s Milo: the hot RA who’s also permanently sleep-deprived* who’s turning her world upside-down. However, as Andie learns, she can lend her voice to those who need it the most through an anonymous podcast that her own mother started, and maybe figure out what she wants to do along the way.

*milo is me tbh

THIS BOOK IS SO FUN. And charming, and witty, and adorable! Anyone who misses college should read this. Anyone who’s excited about college should read this. And anyone who likes a good coming-of-age story full of wisecracks and found family and unique bagels should most definitely read this.

Andie is a fun character to read from. She’s extroverted and friendly. Her roommate Shay is Black, smart and loves promoting diverse books (omg hi same minus the smart part) and Milo is…well, he’s Milo. Very sweet and funny.

This is a book that really follows Andie and her struggles and relationships over the course of the spring semester. There’s not really one huge overarching plotline but several smaller ones that make up the book. For example, we have Andie struggling to figure out her relationship with her dad after he basically went AWOL in her life after her mom died. We have a whole broadcasting subplot where Milo tries to get Andie on-air (which she is terrified to do but is excellent at). There are BAGELS. With COOKIE-DOUGH CREAM CHEESE. That’s definitely a plotline all by itself right? RIGHT?!

All of that being said, this is such a fun, lighthearted read. However, this book actually came to me at such a personal time.

yes, i am bringing this full-circle to what i said i’d explain at the beginning. if you have no interest in hearing my personal story than you have my full permission to skip to the end!!! (like you need my permission but whatever)

You see, I started Begin Again randomly a couple of weeks ago. I’d had the ARC since July, but just felt like it was the right time to dive in. So I’m sitting here, laughing a little because Andie is transferring into Blue Ridge State College for the spring semester. And here I was, trying to figure out which university I wanted to transfer to for the spring semester. And if that wasn’t bad enough, as I read, I could tell that Andie’s fictional college was definitely based in Virginia (where the two schools I was choosing between were located, coincidentally).

So I go to visit one of the school’s campuses, and I saw a bagel place there. Slowly, my subconscious began to transform the fictional school I was reading about into the school I visited. I finished the book and I sat there, thinking and wondering to myself “why did I envision this book as being set in this school that I visited?” And suddenly, I had a hunch. I googled the author and you know what? Miss Emma Lord did in fact attend the school that I visited, envisioned as Blue Ridge State, and had just decided to attend. Did that help me make my uni decision? Yeah, it kinda did*.

*although if i don’t have a hot RA named milo I’m demanding a refund from the entire state of Virginia because my expectations are THROUGH THE ROOF now

So that’s it! I know that I talked a lot about myself (more than usual, which is saying something) but Begin Again just truly blew me away with how it connected to my own personal life at the moment. This comes out on January 24th so be sure to order a copy, add it to Goodreads and add it to Storygraph! Tell me: what’s one of your favorite books with good political tension? Also check out my reviews for Emma Lord’s third novel When You Get The Chance!

Buying books through my affiliate link with gives me a small commission. I’d be eternally thankful if you buy from it!

If You Enjoy YA Contemporary Books With Great Heroines, Check Out These Reviews!

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