Again, But Better by Christine Riccio (review)

Publication Date: 7 May 2019

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Genre: New Adult

Pages: 384


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.


I read Again, But Better because of the author, Christine Riccio. Her documentation of the writing process was really fun to watch, so of course I was excited to read the book.

Unfortunately, the biggest issue I had with the novel was the writing. It was cringey right from the beginning. The first sense I got of the writing being awkward was one of Pilot and Shane’s first interactions. Shane says she likes The Beatles and Pilot, who also like The Beatles, remarks that he thought no one else knew about them! Um, what? Everyone knows about The Beatles. They are probably one of the most universally known bands in the world.

I really liked the premise of Again, But Better. There aren’t many novels out there with characters who go to university! However, I really would have liked to see Shane go through a bit more character development with her fear of socialising. She basically gets over it the second she gets to London. It made it feel as though the only reason she started making friends was because of the location and no other factors. Some inner growth and learning from mistakes that we get to read would have made this come across as more realistic!

When reading the narrative, it was difficult not to imagine Christine as the protagonist. Because we, as audiences, know so much about her, it was obvious to see her personality come through in the writing! This ultimately drew me out of the story and reminded me that Christine was the author. She even made the blog of her character follow the same kind of format of her YouTube channel name. FrenchWatermelonNineteen was inspired, I guess, by PolandBananasBooks.

I also found the characters to sound more like fifteen-year-olds than those in college. When Shane was going around the supermarket in the UK called ‘Tesco’, she made a big deal out of ordinary things that may have been funny in real life but on paper it felt a little awkward to read. And when Shane asked Pilot out-of-the-blue if she could call him ‘Pies’ as a nickname, it just felt so primary school.

Overall, Again, But Better has a good premise but is lacking in character development and a style of writing that flows well. Even though I didn’t like it, I would still recommend it to those interested in the premise and fans of Christine!

Are you planning on reading Again, But Better?

4 thoughts on “Again, But Better by Christine Riccio (review)

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