Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my eARC in exchange for my honest feedback!
Emma Lord is back at it again with a cutesy, feel good YA romance that will make the adult readers that pick it up wish that they were back at a younger time in their life (me, I’m the adult reader I’m referring to). Set in the winter/spring semester of the main character, Andie’s, freshman year of college, this story was full of heart, challenges, and for me, all of the university nostalgia.
Andie is a “fixer” for everyone in her life – always trying to take her friends problems and help them solve it in a methodical, logical way. She loves big and wears her heart on her sleeve, so much so that while in high school, she wrote a very popular advice column for the school newspaper. When she struggles with her grades her sophomore year of high school due to her using all her free time to help her boyfriend succeed, she doesn’t get into Blue Ridge State, both of her parents alma mater and the school she’s pictured herself going to her entire life.
After a semester of pulling her grades up at the local junior college, she transfers to Blue Ridge State, where her boyfriend Connor has been since the previous fall. She keeps the transfer a secret so she can surprise him – only to find out that he transferred to the junior college to be with her. Amidst the chaos of her joining a new school, dealing with the challenging academics, and trying her best to connect with the place her parents met, Andie is pulled into helping solve the problems of all of her new friends that she makes – again, letting herself slip through the cracks, starting a domino effect of so many things in Andie’s life seemingly falling apart.
I really enjoyed the college setting of this book. It felt cozy and full of life and the feeling of figuring out just who you are in those early university years. Milo, Shay, and Val are the lifelong friends that everyone hopes to make when they’re 18. The entire book really captures the ups and downs of what early college is truly like – challenging, fun, and full of life lessons.
While I enjoyed the setting and the supporting characters greatly, I found myself a bit bothered by Andie. She felt extremely naive and at times, aloof. For someone who loves to give others advice (and seemingly GOOD advice), she really could’ve used some “get your life together” instructions for herself. The book being written in first person made it a bit challenging for me to really get away from her traits that irritated me, but all in all, the storyline was strong enough that I kept on going and eventually finished. And I’m not mad that I did!
I think this book will land really well along the YA audience that it is targeted at, and is a sweet, inspiring story of a girl really figuring out who she is in the big world outside of her small town she grew up in.
This book releases January 24, 2023, and if you would like to preorder using my Amazon or Bookshop.org affiliate link, I would be super appreciative! These give me a small commission at no cost to you.