TITLE: Again, but Better

AUTHOR: Christine Riccio

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

PAGES: 373

PUBLISHER: Wednesday Books


GENRE(S): Contemporary, Romance

The publisher kindly sent me a physical copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Again, but Better by Christine Riccio - The Contented ReaderShane 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.


Oh, boy. While I had such high expectations for this book, it totally fell flat for me.

Before jumping into this review, I think it’s important to say that I do not watch Christine’s videos on a regular basis. I’ve watched a few of them but have never been drawn in to watch more. But, the premise of her book made me really excited to read it!

Again, but Better follows Shane, a college student who spends a semester abroad in England. She wants to jump outside her comfort zone and make new friends, and she does just that! But, she also gets a chance to go back and experience that semester again and fix all the ‘mistakes’ she feels she made.

Again, but Better is split into two parts: 2011 and 2017. I really enjoyed that there is a distinct shift in Shane’s maturity level and voice. It shows the time jump and I really liked that. Another aspect I really enjoyed is the travel. It’s fun visiting different places, even through the pages of a book. I think it was entertaining!

Unfortunately, this is where the things I liked about the book start to end. The writing feels forced and flows awkwardly.  Let’s just say it didn’t have my flying through the pages to read more.

The characters are just kind of okay to me. I don’t hate them, but I don’t love them either. And honestly …. even though I know very little about Christine … Shane IS Christine. Like, it’s literally her. Not only is the physical description of Shane literally Christine, but she blogs under the name French Watermelon. Sounds familiar, right? While I understand writing what you know, it’s a bit too much in this scenario.

The other thing that really bothers me about this book is the constant pop culture references. I understand wanting to throw in a few Harry Potter lines once and a while. But I quickly grew tired of the desire to throw in Harry Potter, Shadowhunters and Lost references throughout the entire book.

Overall, I don’t think this is a terrible book. I just think it doesn’t live up to expectations or hype. Again, but Better had great potential, but in the end, it just doesn’t deliver. I think fans of Christine will absolutely love this book and if you can get past the idea of the main character being Christine, then I think you’ll enjoy this read!

It’s weird how we have to get a little older to realize that people are just people. It should be obvious, but it’s not.

Favourite Quote

About The Author

Christine Riccio Author Photo - The Contented ReaderChristine Riccio has been on a quest to encourage more humans to read since the third grade. No one really listened until she started making videos about books on Youtube in 2010. Now her channel PolandbananasBOOKS has over 390,000 book-loving subscribers. She makes comedic book reviews, vlogs, sketches, and writing videos chronicling the creation of her own novel. She’s also one of the three YouTubers behind BOOKSPLOSION. Originally from New Jersey, Christine graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in Film and TV and now lives in Los Angeles, CA. Other hobbies include hot yoga and oatmeal.

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Let’s Chat in the Comments!

Are you a fan of Christine? What are your thoughts on Again, but Better? What’s your favourite contemporary, travel book?

Again, but Better by Christine Riccio - The Contented Reader

Victoria @ The Contented Reader

Victoria @ The Contented Reader

Avid reader and tea drinker. I read and review young adult books on my blog, The Contented Reader!

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