Begin Again is a wonderful coming of age YA story that follows Andie Rose, as she starts over at her dream school. It’s great fun to watch her build new friendships and discover more about herself as she takes on new challenges. I also love the good-natured humor that runs throughout the story as well as its sweet romance.
Andie is a college freshman who transferred halfway through the year to Blue Ridge State, a prestigious college and her parents alma mater. She spent a semester at a local community college to bring her grades up so she could get accepted into Blue Ridge State, which has an excellent Psychology program. Her boyfriend Connor, whom she grew up with, also attends there. She hasn’t told Connor that she is coming and is excited to surprise him. But when she arrives she finds out he transferred back to their local community college! Talk about a lack of communication – I found this frustrating but went along with it.
She makes new friends with Shay, her roommate, Valeria, her tutor, and Milo, her grumpy dorm resident advisor. Andie is a good listener and often helps her friends find solutions to their problems. When she was in high school, she wrote an advice column for her school paper. At college she is active with the school’s underground radio station where she gives advice to students that call into the radio show.
Andie has kind of a tragic background. Her mother died young of cancer and Andie misses her terribly. She starts going on campus scavenger hunts and attending trivia nights where she collects ribbons. These were things her mother did and doing them helps Andie feel a connection to her. Her two grandmothers raised her after her mother died and her father took a new job two hours away. Andie didn’t see much of him after that which hurt her terribly. Lately, he has tried to reach out to make amends but he has a new family now and Andie feels like she doesn’t fit into his life anymore.
Fortunately for Andie and for the reader, there is Milo Flynn, a green-eyed, sleep-deprived coffee fanatic with a big heart. He is a broadcast major who works at the radio station and encourages Andie with her work there. He also helps her get a work study job at Bagelopolis, the local bagel shop that has incredible flavors like Chocolate Chip Sourdough, Peanut Toffee Crunch and a dozen different cream cheeses to go with them. It’s sweet to see Andi and Milo connect with each other and realize how much they have in common; both have some healing to do and it’s gratifying to see how they support each other as their relationship grows.
At Blue Ridge State, Andie is trying to balance school, trivia nights, her job at the bagel shop and volunteer work at the radio station. She also begins to question whether she and Connor still have a future together. It’s a lot and when her grades start to suffer, she is overwhelmed by it all and worries that her plans aren’t going to work out.
As I read, I struggled with Connor and Andie’s lack of communication, especially in the beginning. I thought it took too long for them to resolve their relationship. There were also times when Andie was a little too obsessed with collecting ribbons and it got to be too much. But I loved the theme of friendship and forgiveness and how the book is sprinkled with references to Taylor Swift songs, including the title. (I love Taylor Swift!)
It’s a pleasure to watch Andie’s group of friends come alongside each other and create what Shay calls “their weird little family.”. If you’ve read Lord before, you’ll probably feel Begin Again has a similar feel to her last book, Take a Chance on Me. That’s a good thing! I didn’t want to put either book down! I can definitely recommend Begin Again. It is a book that, as I read, I couldn’t wait to find out how it would all turn out, especially the romance!
Kayne Spooner is a retired science teacher, dog owner, and proud grandma who lives in beautiful Colorado. While she's an avid reader of all genres, romances have always swept her off her feet. Kayne gravitates toward stories with humor, swoon-worthy love interests, and memorable furry sidekicks, although really, if there's a happy ever after, she's here for it! She loves sharing her passion for books with the romance community and connecting with fellow readers. https://www.instagram.com/kspoonerfish/.
|Review Date:||January 28, 2023|
|Book Type:||Contemporary Romance | Young Adult|
On my TBR pile!
I especially remember a fun snowball fight and some unicorn cream cheese on a bagel I would love to try.