Again, But Better by Christine Riccio

Hi Everyone!  I have checked out the audiobook of Again, But Better by Christine Riccio many times but never actually listened to it.   I finally got a chance to listen to it.  Here are my thoughts:

42036587._SY475_Title: Again, but Better: A Novel
Author: Christine Riccio
Note: I listened to the audiobook.

Summary: Shane feels like she is wasting her college experience.  She’s enrolled at a good school and is getting great grades in her pre-med program but she dreams of being a writer.  Shane has decided to take extreme measures, she enrolls secretly in a creative writing study abroad program in England.  Shane is going to follow her dreams which may lead her to her adorable classmate, Penn.  However, as time passes Shane realizes that it’s harder to follow her dreams then she originally thought and she must decide what she is willing to give up to reach her goals.

Review:****Spoiler Alert!  I don’t think I can discuss my issues with this book without giving a few spoilers. **** After I finished this book it took me some time to decide why I didn’t like this book as much as I thought I would.  It’s a time travel romance filled with YA book references, I should have loved it but I really didn’t.  Basically, I think my issue with this book is that it feels like a self-published book that never had the benefit of a professional polishing but it did.

The majority of the book is set in 2011 but it is never explained why this time period was necessary.  The character is in college in 2011 and then the book jumps ahead to 2017 before returning to 2011 with none of these time periods actually impacting the story.  Why do we need to read about the main character being amazed by Angry Birds and Lost?   It didn’t really build her as a character but it was a little distracting.  Also, distracting was all the pop-cultural references.  Shane loves Taylor Swift and she is reading City of Glass and she the song Wrecking Ball.  We know this because we are told this many times which is another issue with this book, we are told things repeatedly and never really shown.  Every detail is just presented without the details being drawn for us.  Also, for a great love that was so epic, it resulted in time travel we never really got to see Shane and Penn interact enough to make readers root for them.  Honestly, the fact that Shane found Penn six years later after not talking to him to talk about their past feelings makes her seem a little unstable.  I understand pining and never letting go of your feelings but it just didn’t work for me.  Plus, many of the side characters were unnecessarily extreme.  Penn’s girlfriend, Amy, came off as manipulative and a wee bit crazy and Shane’s parents were horrible to an almost cartoony level.  Finally, this book hit on one of my big YA pet peeves, the characters in this book are in college or (after the time jump) out of medical school which means they are in their 20s.  Why is this book in the teen section?  It would do better in the new adult or adult section.  There is a good message of finding yourself and being true to your dreams but the book’s message got lost in a lot of clutter.

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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