Hi, and thanks for stopping by.
Today I'm reviewing the third book I've read by Emery Lord. If you've been reading for a while, you may know I wasn't too big of a fan of When We Collided, and then The Names They Gave Us was one of my favourite books I have ever read, so I really didn't know what to expect from The Star of Me and You. Luckily, it was another beautiful 5-star read.
"I was the Girl Whose Boyfriend Drowned."
This is the story of Paige, whose first ever boyfriend dies in a swimming accident, and, a year later, she begins to start the impossibly difficult task of living her life again. Paige writes a list of "normal" things she can do to get back on track, including: date someone new, go to parties, join a club, travel somewhere and swim - something she has been petrified of ever since losing Aaron. I thought Paige was a lovely protagonist to read - she was very believable and sympathetic in her darker moments but also had my two favourite qualities in female (or male) protagonists (and also, real-life human beings): she was funny and she was smart. I was rooting for her from the first page to the last.
"I was too tired, too sad, too much of everything."
It's also worth noting that the strength of female characters, and female friendships, in this novel was so, so uplifting and joyful to read. Paige's best friends, Tessa, Morgan and Kayleigh, were all unique, funny, kind characters. I loved how they all had their quirks and hobbies (Tessa's music, Morgan's feisty feminism and simultaneous role as the hopeless romantic etc etc). They were wonderful friends to one another, rallying round when one needed support, with realistic tiffs and disagreements. Tessa in particular was a character that really surprised and pleased me - I always cringe and tense up when I read about the beautiful blonde best friend who everybody adores (it's a cliche, right?) but Tessa defied her stereotype at every turn, being every bit the feisty, independent female and never once wavering in her immense support of Paige. I was also SO happy to see her get her own happy ending, through the emails at the end of the novel. A great example of a healthy, supportive best-friendship.
"Because with true friends, no one is keeping score."
Ryan was another figure of friendship who really surprised me as a character. He too had all the makings of a cliche, being the handsome, popular guy who everybody loves; yet he was seriously heartbroken about his break-up, kind and supportive of Paige, smart, funny, a great, accepting friend to Max (his birthday party surprise was ADORABLE) and a wonderful brother (see the supermarket scene and try not to weep too much).
"Love extra, even if it means you get hurt extra, too."
Max is our romantic interest. He was a joyous character to read; unashamedly intelligent, courageous, sweet and very, very funny. I loved how he and Paige would just sit for hours in the bookshop, reading, in each other's silent company - sounds dreamy to me. I thought it was really interesting to see how he challenged Paige, to be braver and to push herself. That moment when she realised he had seen her list (complete with Ryan's initials on the dating bullet point) killed me - poor Max! One of my favourite moments of the entire book was Paige finding the Pride & Prejudice card during the school project and seeing what Max had written to her on it (see in the quote below).
"I think I've loved you since that first day."
The emails that finish the novel off were pure genius, allowing us to discover lots of wonderful little moments that Paige and Max enjoyed over their summer apart, as they share them with another. You also got to keep up, that way, with the likes of Ryan and Tessa at home, and watch as Paige in particular grew into herself and found her footing in the world. It was wonderful to see her be so brave and independent in New York City. Also, the emails were not only utterly ADORABLE, but just so hilariously funny.
"Max was the first bite of a grilled cheese on a snowy day, the easy fit of my favourite jeans, that one old song that made it onto every playlist."
Finally, I want to mention, as I briefly did in reference to Max, how much I loved the unashamed heralding of being a GEEK. The nerd-factor was high, and I bloody loved it. The quiz competitions allowed a range of different teenage characters, who weren't necessarily all defined simply by their intelligence, to show off their knowledge and I LOVE THAT. I wish more YA books showed intelligence (and being a bookworm, in particular!) as a positive, cool thing, because it totally is! The conversations and rather heated debates that Max and Paige had about books were just brilliant. I want more YA books about books and reading.
So, that's it! I am eagerly awaiting another Emery Lord book, ASAP, please! Have you read this book, and, if so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments!
"Like you had been drowning, and the book was air."
Till next time