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BEGIN AGAIN by Emma Lord

As usual, Andie Rose has a plan: Transfer from community college to the hyper competitive Blue Ridge State, major in psychology, and maintain her lifelong goal of becoming an iconic self-help figure despite the nerves that have recently thrown her for a loop. All it will take is ruthless organization, hard work, and her trademark unrelenting enthusiasm to pull it all together.

But the moment Andie arrives, the rest of her plans go off the rails. Her rocky relationship with her boyfriend Connor only gets more complicated when she discovers he transferred out of Blue Ridge to her community college. Her roommate Shay needs a major, and despite Andie’s impressive track record of being The Fixer, she’s stumped on how to help. And Milo, her coffee-guzzling grump of an R.A. with seafoam green eyes, is somehow disrupting all her ideas about love and relationships one sleep-deprived wisecrack at a time.

But sometimes, when all your plans are in rubble at your feet, you find out what you’re made of. And when Andie starts to find the power of her voice as the anonymous Squire on the school’s legendary pirate radio station–the same one her mom founded, years before she passed away–Andie learns that not all the best laid plans are necessarily the right ones.

Filled with a friend group that feels like family, an empowering journey of finding your own way, and a Just Kiss Already! romance, Begin Again is an unforgettable novel of love and starting again

Title : Begin Again
Author : Emma Lord
Format : eARC
Page Count : 352
Genre : YA contemporary
Publisher : Wednesday Books
Release Date : January 24, 2023

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★.5

Hollis’ 2.5 star review

Even though this is the lowest I’ve rated a book by Lord, I still consider her an auto-read author. But this didn’t quite reach the usual levels of charming that I’ve come to expect. And mostly, and I’m bummed to say it, that’s because of the main character, Andie.

Strike one : her way of non-swearing by instead using cutesy dessert names. Nope. Strike two : her over-fixating on everyone’s problems but her own. Strike three : the romantic drama that any hints at would mean revealing some spoilers.

While I liked the supporting cast, barring the one we aren’t supposed to like, I wish they had been fleshed out a bit more. So much time was spent on various elements like the advice plotline, the ribbon plotline, the parental issue plotline, and then all the love interest backstory drama plotline.

Maybe I’m just in a mood and maybe I would’ve liked this more had I read it another time but the whole thing just tried too hard to feel rosy and charming and sweet without authentically being that way. And I’m used to feeling that authenticity from this author so I’m bummed. But that’s okay. There was enough for this to be still somewhat enjoyable but it did take me way too long to push through during those draggy bits.

Despite all this, I will continue to pick up and read Lord. While I’m sad this wasn’t a win the odds are definitely in her favour (and mine!) for future releases.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **


An effervescent, endearing, joyful contemporary romance of one young woman searching for her birth mother one summer, by New York Times bestselling author Emma Lord.

Nothing will get in the way of Millie Price’s dream to become a Broadway star. Not her lovable but super-introverted dad, who after raising Millie alone, doesn’t want to watch her leave home to pursue her dream. Not her pesky and ongoing drama club rival, Oliver, who is the very definition of Simmering Romantic Tension. And not the “Millie Moods,” the feelings of intense emotion that threaten to overwhelm, always at maddeningly inconvenient times. Millie needs an ally. And when a left-open browser brings Millie to her dad’s embarrassingly moody LiveJournal from 2003, Millie knows just what to do. She’s going to find her mom.

There’s Steph, a still-aspiring stage actress and receptionist at a talent agency. There’s Farrah, ethereal dance teacher who clearly doesn’t have the two left feet Millie has. And Beth, the chipper and sweet stage enthusiast with an equally exuberant fifteen-year-old daughter (A possible sister?! This is getting out of hand). But how can you find a new part of your life and expect it to fit into your old one, without leaving any marks? And why is it that when you go looking for the past, it somehow keeps bringing you back to what you’ve had all along?

Joyous, heartfelt, and brimming with emotion, WHEN YOU GET THE CHANCE is a novel about falling in love, making a mess, and learning to let go that will have you happy-sobbing and cheering all the way to the end.

Title : When You Get The Chance
Author : Emma Lord
Format : eARC
Page Count : 320
Genre : YA contemporary
Publisher : Wednesday Books
Release Date : January 4, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★

Hollis’ 4 star review

As much as I was super keen to read more by this author, who is quickly becoming a fave, I was a little worried about some similar echoes to her sophomore debut what with another family-based secret and/or discovery being a main plot point. But honestly this was so different that if you are likewise worried, don’t be.

I’ll also admit (yes, we’re apparently starting off with all the negatives, why not) that Millie took some time to warm up to. And she had her moments (not to be confused with her Millie Moods). But, like all Lord books, the vibes, the warmth, the ensemble, it all just.. works.

I’m not sure this outshines Tweet Cute but it might be on par with You Have a Match. This has a fewer laugh out loud moments but makes up for it by one of the sweetest best-friend relationships and there is some good quality banter between Millie and her love interest.

This made me both long to watch Mamma Mia! (the story more or less follows the plot of the musical) and also cringe in fear at the idea of someone related to me discovering an old LiveJournal (god, so many horrors, yes, I did just do a quick google to make sure I had deleted mine) but, despite how wrong and weird the whole investigative plot went, I really liked how — sneaky underhanded intentions notwithstanding — Millie did it and how it ended up. And much like Millie herself, I actually forgot what the catalyst was that made her finally set out to determine who her mother might be. Sure, it wasn’t the real reason, it wasn’t the only reason, but it was the push. But in doing so it shed light on all the strength and love and greatness she had in her life even without a mother and that.. that was lovely and sweet and yes okay fine I teared up a few times whatever.

I don’t think this contemporary is such a standout that I’ll remember it as vividly as, say, Lord’s debut, but in an era where my YA consumption is going down, and everything feels like it’s already been done to death, this left me feeling really content and delighted and soft and I had a really good time with these characters. With three books under her belt, this author is an auto-read for me and I’m excited to see what she does next.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **