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Summary

This program includes an author's note read by the author, and a bonus chapter.

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.

©2019 Christine Riccio (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

Critic reviews

"Again, But Better is a fantastic debut novel! Entertaining, clever and impossible to put down." (Colleen Hoover, number one New York Times best-selling author)   

What listeners say about Again, but Better

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Most disliked protagonist I’ve ever read

I did not like this book at all. Throughout the whole story I felt absolutely furious with the main character for being so utterly selfish, self obsessed, pathetic, unpleasant and weak. I spent a lot of time shouting at her for being so awful. And to be clear. We are meant to like her. The twist makes it even more annoying because - why her? Totally undeserving and a wasted opportunity. The male interest is also a bit of a pointless drip and not very nice at times.
Shane’s long, long monologues are sleep inducing. Hard to imagine someone supposedly shy talking for 20 mins straight about themselves like that. All I could think was - poor guy, having to sit and listen to all this drivel.
Sounds harsh. But I’ve never had just an adverse reaction and intense dislike for a character - when I’m meant to like them. Bizarre.

3 people found this helpful

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Incredible narrator

Loved the narrator for this. She really brought the characters to life! A great debut.

2 people found this helpful

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Stop.

I'd like to start on a good note - the narration for this book is good. Like, good to the point that is was the only thing that kept me listening. 5 stars for the narrator!



!SPOILER REVIEW!

I wrestled between giving this 2 stars and 3 stars, but the ending just managed to clinch the 3.

Again But Better follows the life of Shane, a young international Student in London who is an aspiring Author - something sounds too familiar already.

The book dives right into Shane's story of London and quickly discovers her love interest, a cliche contemporary romance mash-up of something that is all too familiar. Yes, a love interest is the basis of such a novel, but there are more ways to write it without sounding cliche.

At first, I enjoyed the book, it was a solid story, with perhaps not too much originality, but I was enjoying it nevertheless. The copper-haired woman peaked my attention on more than one occasion, which wanted me to find out who she was, but the outstretched first half of the book is such a small story stretched out into around 50,000 words that it feels empty and misjudged. The first part could have been over and done with much faster, but alas, it drags on.

The main issues come in the second part, after a six-year time jump. The whole time jump thing, I don't mind at all, it gives you a sense that the characters have moved on and developed their own lives, but that lasts for just a few pages. The real issues come after the somehow magical elevator that is so far-fetched, but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

BOOM! We're back in 2011, Shane has a second chance to start over again, doing whatever she pleases. She does, after all, have a fail-safe, that very ill-thought button. Whilst a fail-safe 'do-over' is a good idea, I cannot express how much I groaned and rolled my eyes to find out that this do-over became apparent after a button was would inside Shane's ravioli. I'm sorry, but a physical button in a hinting mythical story? No thank you.

The real problem occurs when Shane and Pilot begin to give it a go. The dialogue grows irritably cliche after a while, with sentences that are not at all organic, very far-fetched, and downright poorly written. I'm a huge fan of Xtine's book channel, and I follow her book writing chronicles to this day and will continue to, but it seems that a book deal may have been reached due to her following as it promises sales.

What bothers me most about the story; this do-over was done almost exactly the same as before. I get it to an extent, but not this much. Shane has a second chance, let her be a little adventurous, not chasing after the same boy who is incredibly one-dimension and boring.

Lastly, despite the messy rest, Again, But Better managed to grasp that third star as the last few chapters of the book became a little better, even though this book is clearly Christine's fantasy in writing. The overuse of modern references to The Mortal Instruments, Harry Potter... and that god-awful John Green reference when they somehow turned 'okay'/'always' into lamposts... It feels like ideas popped into the head of the writer without much thought and defiantly not a stroke of genius.

However, I don't regret reading. It is nice to see Christine do what she loves, and I admire her for that. Just, be careful next time.


Edit: I've changed it back to 2 stars. I can't stop thinking about how this book is too personal for Christine and feels uninspired. I wanted to love it so badly, but I just can't. The way Shane speaks made me stop reading too many times. Sorry, Christine, but the extra star ain't being given today.



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Surprisingly good

This is the first contemporary book I've read, only doing so because I'm a huge fan of the authors other online work. This story is a journey well worth going on, and it felt extra special as I related to the 20 year old protagonist so much.

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Amazing !

This book spoke to me on so many levels! I’d highly recommend this to anyone ! Xx

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ABB

This book is pure magic! It is smiles, excitement and light. Recommend it if you need a bit of contemporary sunshine in your life 💛

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How would things turn out if you could travel back in time?

Nice story about 2nd chances, time travel and love. Really enjoyed this book. The suspense becomes stronger once they go back in time.
The characters are relatable in their hopes, dreams and anxieties.
Happily recommend this book, good read/ listen.

1 person found this helpful

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the voice is good

I was disappointed, I've been waiting for the book for a long time, but the protagonist is a 15 year old girl in a 20 year old body who lies to her parents and plays with daddy's money.

3 people found this helpful

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Phenomenal book

What an engaging book. I couldn't put it down. I'm so glad I listened to it. I had reservations about did I just buy into it because I like the authors YouTube channel but no It is a modern classic. Wonderful!

1 person found this helpful

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Loved this book

Though slightly predictable at times I enjoyed every second of this book. With fun twists and relatable characters I was hooked from the start.

All in all a great book and worth the read/listen if you enjoy fun contemporary books. I look forward to other books by Christine.

The narrator was pretty good aswell, definitely one of the better ones I've listened to in a while.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 14-06-19

Take it on a Plane and Forget It

So I had to read this book for our book club, and I was excited to get back into YA after taking a break and exploring other genres for years. I was interested to see what new YA authors were doing differently than the authors I had grown up with. This story was mediocre at best. With a predictable storyline--even with the sudden time travel--and bland main characters, "Again, but Better" was just another YA travel book about white people who really don't have it that bad. I kept thinking of those teen high school movies where the jock who wants to be a poet or whatever yells at his father, "It's not my dream Dad, it's yours!"
Shane as a character was not endearing. Maybe to other affluent white women she is relatable, but as I was reading her story I just kept thinking that if she really wanted to make some changes and have a different life she should pay her dues and struggle like the rest of us.
At book club the girls and I decided that this book wasn't necessarily deep enough to hold a full hour's discussion. We ended up focusing more on the author's craft than the story because there just was't much of a story to begin with. We also noted that the side characters were very static and deserved more characterization than just background noise to Shane's whining. I wanted to hear more about Serah and Babe.
Anyway if you're new to YA, sheltered, and you want a light read about getting what you want with minimal effort this is probably a good book for you.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Kasie
  • 10-05-19

I would rate 8/10 to leave room for improvement but I can’t.

I will openly admit I bought this strictly to support Christine since I’ve been watching her videos for years. My rating however is based only on the book itself. It’s easy to make yourself like something in order to support someone you like. But I was hooked from go, and stayed up FAR too late listening to part 1 last night and part 2 tonight.
While Christine almost never rates anything full marks as she references in the book I can’t give this book anything other than the highest praise.
I followed the writing journey for Again, But Better through all of the stages but I didn’t want to anything about the book beyond that since I knew it was a contemporary and Christine always recommends going in as blind as you can. I usually don’t but since it’s her book I felt I owed her that.
Anyway I’ll stop rambling 10/10 would recommend. XoXo

10 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-05-19

Five stars

I absolutely loved the book. I loved how relatable it was! I literally could not stop reading the book. I am PRAYING you make more books

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-04-20

Moving and amazing

So now that I finished, I can fully say that I love it! It made me cry a lot for many different reasons, happy as well as sad. I'm in a rough patch right now and this book reminded me to hold on. I thank the author for, not only an amazing read but also a story on resilience that I know is going to help many people get through hard times. If you've followed Christine for a while, you can see a part of her soul poured into this book.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • M
  • 30-11-19

Part Two Equals Awesomesauce

Part One of the book was cringy and lacking in character depth. However Part Two was amazing, witty, tons of character archs, and I empathized more with the protagonist. I hope future books from Christine is more like Part Two. I felt like the writing style also changed with the characters which I love. This book related to my life a lot and made me remember what I too have given up while trying to not be the writer I wish to be. Loved the inspiration and the shared adventures between the protagonist and myself.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • BlanketRose
  • 11-05-19

enjoyed so much

I really really really enjoyed this. The narrator did a fantastic job. so often the male voices in contemporary feel wonky but the pilot voice was excellent, as we're all her accents! also loved the book 😊

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • gaithon brau
  • 08-05-19

Pick this up right now

So a huge fan of Christean from 2011 on I was so excited for this book and it did not disappointed. It is an amazing listen and a beautiful story that made me laugh and cry and all the things in between. I loved it.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lonedrow
  • 19-05-21

Excellent

Great story and an excellent narrator. Very happy with this purchase and the time invested!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Charlessa Springberg
  • 28-03-21

Fun read

This book was a fun read. I will say about half way through you think it’s ending and it drags a bit...... but keep going it’s worth it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tiffany Light
  • 04-03-21

In love

This made my list of favorite books. Finally a YA book where the main character was in her early twenties. I’m so happy this book found me.