Begin Again by Emma Lord Book Review Read it later

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Jessica R Contributor

I love young adult coming-of-age novels. There’s something magical about hopping into a book and finding a little piece of my former life at the touch of my fingertips. It’s even better when the book brings back the glory of my college days.

I am grateful to Wednesday Books for sending me an advanced reader copy of Begin Again by Emma Lord for review.

Get your copy of Begin Again on Amazon.


Andie Rose knows what she wants: to get into the prestigious Blue Ridge State College, where her parents met. That also happens to be where her long-time boyfriend, Connor, goes to school. So when Andie gets the rare opportunity for a mid-year transfer, she seizes it. However, when she arrives on campus and goes looking for Connor to surprise him, he’s not there. Instead, she wanders through her new dorm, where she meets her extremely sleep-deprived RA, Milo, and her new roommate, Shay. (And Shay, my friend, is a Bookstagrammer!)

After settling in, Andie learns that Connor transferred back to their local community college to be with Andie. Dismayed, they make a plan for Connor to return to Blue Ridge after the semester ends. There’s just one problem: a big part of the freshman year at Blue Ridge State is collecting colored ribbons at various activities around campus. The ribbons allow you to join an exclusive club, and they can only be obtained during the second semester of freshman year. And because of Connor’s falling grades and Blue Ridge’s stringent rules, he can’t return to collect them himself.

Undeterred, Andie vows to collect enough ribbons for both Connor and herself. In order to learn more about the ribbons, students must listen to an underground radio program called The Knight’s Watch. The host is a student whose identity remains anonymous. But there’s one thing no one else knows—Andie’s mom was the very first Knight and started the radio program. With her mom dead and her dad checked out of her life, listening to The Knight’s Watch has been a longstanding connection for Andie to her mother.

As Andie begins her school work at Blue Ridge State, her penchant for wanting to fix everyone else’s problems becomes clear. From helping Milo drink less caffeine to assisting her roommate in figuring out her major and continuing to write her high school advice column, Andie channels her energy into fixing things—even to her own detriment. 

Suddenly, all of Andie’s work in collecting colored ribbons for both Connor and herself means her grades are falling. And with Connor growing more and more distant, Andie finds herself becoming more immersed in her new friend group. It doesn’t hurt that she and Milo learn that they have more interests in common than she realized.

Will her time at college finally allow Andie to take a step back from her tendency to fix everything for others and allow her to begin again?

Begin Again by Emma Lord

Genre: YA Romance

When Andie transfers to the prestigious Blue Ridge State College, she believes everything in her life is about to finally snap into place. Instead, she finds challenges at every turn and must learn to begin again and find her own voice. 

Read more reviews on the book index here

Buy this Book: Amazon


Contributor Jessica with Begin Again.

Although Begin Again was a slow start, it had several wonderful things going for it. The hook with the Bookstagramming roommate was a nod to the book community that instantly put a smile on my face. Additionally, Emma Lord is hilarious. The way she described her characters’ quirks—from coffee addiction to writing—had me laughing out loud.

In addition to all the humor, Begin Again had so much heart. From confronting the pain of breaking up with a first love and the impact it has on characters to the deeper grief of losing a parent and unhealthy coping—Begin Again wasn’t scared to tackle tough topics head-on. Told from Andie’s point of view, we get a front-row seat to her thoughts. And, as someone who also always wants to help everyone around me, it caused me physical pain to see Andie taken advantage of for her kindness. But, more importantly, I cheered for her even harder as Andie came to find her own voice and finally discover what life could be like if she lived it for herself instead of others. 

I also loved the main male character, Milo, who not only supported his love interest but challenged her in all the right ways. I enjoyed that he had a soft spot for advocating for needed changes on campus. And Shay! Oh, sweet, Shay. Andie’s roommate was my favorite character. She had her own set of troubles in the form of indecision, and I loved watching her character develop as she made her own mistakes and pushed for her victories.

Overall, this was such a delightful, heartfelt, and smart young adult novel set on a college campus. Even though the beginning was a little tough to wade through, once it got going, Begin Again completely stole my heart. 

More Books by the Author

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Genre: YA Romance

Two burger restaurants are in competition, and the people behind the companies’ Twitter accounts—Pepper and Jack—begin to battle online. Little do they know that while they are duking it out anonymously in the Twittersphere, they are falling for each other in real life.

Read more reviews on the book index here

Buy this Book: Amazon

You Have a Match by Emma Lord

Genre: Contemporary YA

When Abby signed up for a DNA service, she never imagined that she would learn she has a sister who is a huge Instagram star. She decides to investigate why her parents gave her sister up for adoption by going to the same summer camp—where her best friend and crush works as the co-chef.

Read more reviews on the book index here

Buy this Book: Amazon

When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord

Genre: Contemporary YA

Millie dreams of becoming a Broadway star, but her extremely introverted single dad doesn’t want her to leave home. Determined to pursue her dreams, Millie stumbles upon her dad’s old LiveJournal and is inspired to find her mother and make her an ally. 

Read more reviews on the book index here

Buy this Book: Amazon

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Begin Again by Emma Lord
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