ARC REVIEW: Christine Riccio “Again, But Better”

81kW7J18kvLTitle: Again, But Better

Author: Christine Riccio

Genre: Contemporary/Romance

My Rating: 2/5 stars

Release Date: May 7, 2019


Oh boy. Where to begin.

I don’t mind Christine Riccio. I’ve watched her Booktube videos and I think she can be very funny sometimes. I wanted to read this because I was curious to see how someone who is forced to be critical about the books she reviews would write a book of her own. She can be insightful sometimes, so I hoped that Riccio would learn from other author’s mistakes and publish a good debut.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed.

Let’s start with the things I liked: Again, But Better has a great setting. Stories in Europe are great, and I love being able to live vicariously through the characters since I’ve never been able to experience any of these great locations. Riccio infuses lots of fun, nerdy things and makes references to shows, movies, books: Lost, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Vampire Academy, etc. Some of the dialogue was also very clever and sharp, and I appreciated some of the banter between characters, particularly Shane and Pilot.

Which brings me to things I didn’t like. You see I mentioned a character named “Pilot” above? That’s his actual, given name. One of Shane’s roommates is named Babe. Again, not a nickname. And there wasn’t even a cool story as to why they had these strange, unique names? Oh, and then there was the guy that Babe had a crush on, “Chad”, who’s your stereotypical jerk who says “yo” a lot.

While I did enjoy some of the dialogue and banter, there were other parts that felt clunky and awkward. Some of Riccio’s phrasing was weird to me and didn’t make for a flowing, easy read. I had to reread a few paragraphs to understand what exactly was being said.

I’m not even going to get into the odd subplot with the spirit guide? This didn’t add to the story and frankly, made this book so much more cringe-y.

I feel I would have liked this book more had the characters acted their age. These were supposed to be college students studying abroad in Europe, but they read like 14 year old brats. I hoped this would feel less like YA given the age of the characters, yet there was really no change in the way they spoke or acted.

I do hope that Riccio takes some of the criticism of her debut novel and uses that to improve, because I’d love to see her succeed. Again, But Better just wasn’t imaginative or polished enough.

An e-copy of this book was provided by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

What is “Bookstagram”?

For someone who might not be in on the fads and trends, this might be a difficult question to answer. In the last decade, pop culture has been exploding with the birth of fandoms and the people who are apart of those fandoms, typically called “fangirls” or “fanboys”. While comic conventions have been a thing for over 40 years (the first San Diego comic con occurring in 1970), attendance has been growing steadily in recent years.

Now more specifically to books, there are many platforms in which book fangirls and fanboys can express their loves and passions. Fans who choose to post YouTube videos about their love of books are called “booktubers”, so naturally, the people who post pictures relating to books on Instagram have been lovingly dubbed “bookstagrammers”.

As a semi-recent addition to the bookstagram community, I can confidently say that the community is one of the most positive that I’ve been a part of. Many fandoms, while fun and full of lively debates, can become aggressive where disagreements and arguments are concerned. I’ve found that on bookstagram, most individuals are very accepting of other’s opinions and are generally respectful and friendly to one another. Seeing as I only launched my bookstagram account about 2 months ago and already have made connections and friendships with several lovely people speaks volumes for the love this community has for each other.

While browsing through bookstagram, you’ll find plenty of beautiful pictures of books. We here in this community find the sight of books very aesthetically pleasing. Many bookstagrammer also run their own blogs as well as booktubes.

Another fun perk to being a part of the bookstagram community is seeing the amazing bookish merchandise! You may not have known this, but you can buy book related products of all kinds: candles, prints, themed-bookmarks, pillows, coffee, tea, t-shirts, accessories, jewelry, blankets, pins, stickers, mugs, etc, etc, etc. When I joined this bookish community, I was stunned by the hundreds of Etsy shops and online businesses selling beautiful products. If you become a rep for any of these numerous shops, they will typically send you free items as long as you feature them in 3-4 of your photos each months as a way to promote their company.

All in all, bookstagram is a lovely community filled with wonderful people that I’ve been so lucky to become connected with, and I’m so excited to meet more fellow book lovers through it. You can follow my bookstagram account @spineless_bookwyrm!