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Sunday, May 12, 2019

AGAIN, BUT BETTER BY CHRISTINE RICCIO REVIEW


Again, but Better by L.J. Shen
Release Date: May 7th 2019
Source: Purchased
Format: Audiobook and Hardcover
Pages: 384
Buy it: Amazon|B&N|Book Depository

From one of the most followed booktubers today, comes Again, but Better, a story about second chances, discovering yourself, and being brave enough to try again.

Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane's made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that? 

Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time's a ticking, and she needs a change—there's nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She's going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure! 

Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart. 

Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless.


        Let me start this out by saying that I have an immense love and respect for Christine and her YouTube channel. For years as soon as I finished a book, I would scroll through her channel looking to see if she had a BookTalk about it. I love to way she is so emotional about the books she reads and how she can ramble on and on about a topic for ages straight from her head... but that doesn't necessarily translate well written down into a book. In short, Again, but Better needs to be written again, but better.

        This book was bad... and I mean BAD BAD. The amount of times my eyes literally rolled as I read this book, I'm fucking surprised they're not stuck there. Everything about this book made me cringe that it was almost unbearable to get through. I got the audiobook just so I could give it a fair chance, because physically reading the book made me want to throw it in the trash. I wanted to do anything else with my time besides read this book.


       First things first–– The Writing. It was so fucking bland despite the number of exclamation marks used. It felt like Christine was inside my head talking so much about absolutely nothing. "We did this! And then we did this! Oh! And also this!" She managed to make England, France and Italy all sound boring and honey those places are the opposite of boring.

        There was one point that almost made me angry. They were in the Palace of Versailles, IN FUCKING FRANCE, standing in the Hall of Mirrors and Shane goes, "Is this the hall of mirrors? Where are all the mirrors?" Did you expect it to look like a fucking carnival's hall of mirrors. I was 11 the first time I walked into the Hall of Mirrors and it took everything in me to remove my jaw from the floor. You are in a room that stretches further than your eyes can see, gold paint outlines the most beautifully detailed paintings on the ceiling and chandeliers float delicately all the way down. It is one of the most breathtaking experiences and to diminish it into "i'm a stupid american. hall of mirrors? where the mirrors," is just outrageous. To describe the Effile Tower as "looks like Tinkerbell threw up all over it and it's having a sparkly seizure," is beyond me. I nearly had a stroke reading that sentence. These countries are filled head to toe with history and culture that I could not even begin to imagine looking at it and not feeling respect for it. The whole thing is extremely childish.

        Next, Shane isn't this character's name...it's Christine. This book is about Christine. As a fan of hers it is easy to see the similarities between the main character and the author. From the way she works things out in her head to her blog name. Frenchwatermelons19... hmmm sounds oddly familiar to FUCKING POLANDBANANAS20. It is impossible to ignore these parallels and ultimately takes away from the plot, if there even is one.

        And don't get me started on Pilot Penn (yes that is his fucking real name.) The most one dimensional bland basic ass bitch boy I have ever read. His only personality trait is being the only person to ever like The Beatles. “I like the Beatles…” “Wait.” Pilot comes to an abrupt stop mid-aisle. “What?” I say hesitantly. “The Beatles?” he breathes. “No way. You like them? No. Way. No. Way—” I roll my eyes. “Stop—” I interject. “No. Way!” “Stop!” My voice hits squeak levels yet unknown to mankind. “I love them! I thought I was the only one who knew about them.” He beams.” BITCH WHAT. EVERYONE KNOWS THE FUCKING BEATLES. THEY'RE THE BEATLES. Wow so obscure and quirky. You know The Beatles?????? This book is filled with pop culture references like LOST, Harry Potter, Cassandra Clare as if they are personality traits. I'm pretty sure Angry Birds and Vampire Academy were explained more in this book than the fucking plot. 
        I love a good fan fiction. I can get over grammatical and spelling errors as long as there is substance... and this sweetie had none of it. This book feels like it was written in 3 or 4 sittings, edited down by two friends and then was just slapped with a cover and sold to the world. Also this book was marketed all wrong. Going into it expecting a full blown contemporary and then being hit with time travel was unsettling. And looking at the summary and seeing how they threw in "a touch of magic" at the end as if that would help.

        I really wanted this book to work out and be amazing. I wanted the industry to start taking Booktubers and Book Bloggers seriously and I was hoping that this would be a step forward. It ended up being 20 steps back. I am sorry to anyone who read this. This book was awful. Christine, honey, stick to making videos. You're good at it. 1 out of 5 stars. Easily the worst book I have ever read. I want my money back. I would not recommend this book to anyone unless you want your eyes to rolls so hard into the back of your head they fall out of your ass. I love you girl but no. This ain't it. Also, I never swear this much in my reviews. This is honestly me jumping right out of the book and just keeping it real.
What's the worst book you have ever read? Let me know in the comments down below!

Thanks Hons,
Lee Chand

23 comments :

  1. The tea is hot today! Move over Tati and James

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  2. Wow I was about to pick it up at Barnes and Noble tomorrow. Glad I saw your review on GoodReads. Never really occurred to be that someone who likes reading wouldn’t be good at writing. She does like basic books anyways.

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    1. yeah I feel like she only got the deal because publishers wanted to make money off of her.

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  3. i really wish booktubers would stop getting book deals just because publishers know that they can sell a few more copies to their audience

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  4. Thank you for your honesty here, it made me laugh but I'm glad someone is giving it critique instead of giving it a five star rating before even reading it.

    I don't follow Christine's videos, but when I heard she was writing a book I assumed it would be fairly okay, not my cup of tea but not bad, because it was an independent effort and she wasn't approached for a book deal. The description is so stereotypically YA I almost didn't believe that could really be what the book is about. Why must every YA coming of age story be so incredibly similar?

    When I first heard it was about a girl going on an exchange to London I thought "huh, Christine did the same thing. Mildly odd but not a big deal", but then I heard the other ridiculous similarities. FrenchWatermelon19? Honestly!? That is the straw that broke the camels back, this book is absolutely a self-insert. The only other semiautobiographical book I know of is 'The Bell Jar', and that has similarities to Sylvia Plath but it isn't anywhere near the degree that this is. Again, But Better is borderline just a biography.

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    1. I almost want people to read it so they can laugh at it with me. It is so stereotypical that it is laughable. Everything was so bad.

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  5. Yep, I agree. Also, should someone like Shane be in the stressful environment of a doctor?

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    1. I DIDNT EVEN THINK OF THAT! If she was my doctor I would shit myself

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  6. jennifer koudelkaMay 13, 2019 at 1:30 AM

    omg Pilot Penn HOW AND WHY

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  7. Not going to lie I was laughing the whole time I read your review. I love brutal honesty and sometimes authors need it so they can better their writing. I don't honestly see that as a bad thing. I used to like her too but like you her personality became too immature as I got older, being 31 here she just doesn't appeal to me personally.

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    1. She needs a serious wake up call. Her friends keep telling her that she is doing amazing instead of being honest with her.

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  8. The way you describe the palace, YOU should be an author. Great review Lee! I was dying. Thank you for being so honest

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    1. haha i am not going to be an author because I know I shouldn't be.

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    2. and thats exactly the same energy Christine should of had

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  9. “... because physically reading this book made me want to throw it in the trash.” I CHOKED ON THE TEA I WAS SIPPING. Glad I read this review! Tea was spilled and it helped me save $17.

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  10. "What's the worst book you've ever read?" LOL Mine is Zenith by Sasha Alsberg. Another popular BookTuber that failed at writing anything decent. Please tell me you read it. I want to know what you think!

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    1. I have not because she is a booktuber I actually never liked. She has not changed since I started watching booktube and she needs to fucking grow up. There is also something with her voice that I hated. So I was not going to give her a single cent of my money

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  11. Oof the tea is boiling hot here! Glad I’m not Christine but I’m sure she’s getting a lot of reviews like this. I read this book. Finished it because it was so bad it was comical. Returned it so I could get my money back. Trash trash trash

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