Fiction,  Reading,  The Writing Life

The Summer Shelf: The Start of Me and You

“Ryan Chase was my eighth-grade collage, aspirational and wide-eyed. But Max was the first bite of grilled cheese on a snowy day, the easy fit of my favorite jeans, that one old song that made it onto every playlist. Peanut-butter Girl Scout cookies instead of an ornate cake. Not glamorous or idealized or complicated. Just me.” Emery Lord – The Start of Me and You

What do rainy days, smoky days, scorching hot days all have in common? Why, they are all perfect for curling up inside, out of the weather, with a delicious novel. So far this summer, there has been no shortage of reading days!

If you read my previous post Write Another Book, you’ll know that waiting for news on a manuscript is not my favourite thing, but that it is crucial to not waste this gift of time. With that in mind, I am spending these summer months figuring out just what book I want to write. What are my stories to tell? What story am I passionate about at this particular point in time? Can I benefit from the wisdom of my agent and the sage advice from publishers and still tell the story I want to tell? Speaking of which, what story do I want to tell? All important questions. So instead of forging ahead to finish my current WIP, I decided to press pause. I needed to have a few more answers before deciding on next steps.

Which means…time to read more books!

Love this cozy bookstore vibe with the book bag hanging from a peg.

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord came out in 2015 and was on my To-Be-Read list forever so I’m not sure what took me so long to get to it. The premise of the story (if you haven’t read it yet) is that Paige is trying to move on from the tragic drowning of her boyfriend, which happened a year ago. When she decides she needs to make more of an effort to move on, she creates a list of tasks to help her accomplish just that. I love lists in stories and this immediately appealed to me. It’s comforting, like a guide for how the story is going to unfold.

The friendship to lovers trope with Paige going for her popular “crush” only to discover that the geeky Max is actually pretty great, is completely satisfying , and of course, what makes the story totally work. The characters are likeable, and well-developed and I particularly enjoyed the friendship between the four young women. “Tess, Kayleigh, and Morgan stood tightly around me, like they could physically shield me from the stares.” From the beginning you understand the depth of their friendship. Each of these characters is distinct with their unique personalities and issues, making them utterly real to the reader and lending insights to Paige’s struggles.

The Start of Me and You is such a cute story with fantastic characters. The sequel, The Map from Here to There, came out to mixed reviews in 2020, but I’m definitely going to check it out. I’d like to judge for myself which ending I prefer for Paige and Max.

What’s currently on your TBR bookshelf?

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