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Again, But Better

Narrated by: Brittany Pressley
Length: 12 hrs
Categories: Young Adults, Ages 13 & Up
4 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

Non-member price: $49.72

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Publisher's Summary

This program includes an author's note read by the author.

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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars

The book I’ve been looking for

I loved this book and would totally recommend it. The audio version is totally the way to go and the readers voice is perfect for the book. I am a fan of the author through her YouTube channel so I wasn’t sure how well her writing would be but I actually loved it. It’s actually a mature young adult book which is so refreshing as they are so hard to find. The main character is 20 and it feels that way in a romantic comedy of a book type sense. It’s nice to have a book speak to me in a real sense in a kind way that leaves you feeling hopeful. Definitely give it a go especially if you are a fan of Christine!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I really enjoyed this :)

I wanted to read this because I’m a big fan of Christine, but I’m not into contemporary, I’ve probably only read 3 in my life, but I wanted to support Christine, I’ll even be buying the paper back, it’s nice and light hearted, easy to get through, and I enjoyed the narrators voice, was quite soothing. I would definitely recommend.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-05-2019

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

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-05-2019

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

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 14-06-2019

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • BlanketRose
  • 11-05-2019

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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • gaithon brau
  • 08-05-2019

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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Karen D.
  • 10-10-2019

The Best of the Best

I'm a avid audio book listener. Either way listening or reading it is the greatest book in my library. It carries all true forms of life we all experience! Truly amazing the Author is!!!! A must have!!!

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  • E.F.B.
  • 10-10-2019

Mixed feelings.

Please note: Contemporary fiction isn’t my favorite genre. I don’t have anything against it, it just doesn’t attract me as much as other genres. However, every now and then, I think it’s healthy to step outside my comfort zone and read something I wouldn’t normally read. I also follow this author on Youtube and enjoy her videos about her writing process, so I wanted to see the end result. And… I have mixed feelings.

The story was okay. There were parts I liked, and I appreciate the heart behind the story, as well as the author’s reason for writing it. Ms. Riccio states in her author’s note—and has stated in interviews—that she wrote this book because, when she was 20 years old, she couldn’t find any books with main characters her age who were anything like her. She was unconfident, with zero romantic relationship experience and very few friends. Meanwhile, all the literary characters she read about who were over 18 were gorgeous, confident, had ALL the romantic experience, and ALL the friends, and this made her feel alone and like a loser. So, when she set out to write this book, she decided to write the story she needed to read when she was younger.

I appreciated this and hoped maybe I would relate to this story myself. To a certain extent, I did. The main character, Shane, was realistically inexperienced with the world, and I understood her awkwardness, as well as her desire to make friends, have adventures, and chase her dream instead of forcing herself into a career her parents felt would be more financially secure.

The story itself was also solid, kept me engaged throughout, and I enjoyed the twist at the half-way mark as well as the end results of Shane’s second chance. I liked the overall message about being confident in who you are as an individual, not allowing fear to hold you back from pursuing life with everything you’ve got and picking yourself up after making mistakes and moving forward again. There were even some positive messages that surprised me in the second half, like the importance of having balance in your relationships (e.g. it’s okay to wholeheartedly love someone, but don’t get so wrapped up in a romantic relationship forget who you are as an individual.), not getting so wrapped up in yourself and your problems that you overlook the people around you and miss opportunities to reach out so someone who might otherwise slip through the cracks, so on and so forth.

However, the reason I gave this book a lower rating was because of content issues. While I will tolerate some profanity in a book, the stronger and more frequent it gets, the more it bothers me. I personally do not every use profanity and would really prefer it not be in my head, so the fact that this book had no less than 128 swear words, with 21 of them being F-bombs, and 58 of them being the s-word, started grating on me by the end of the book. I don’t like how that much profanity affects my thought patterns and it matters to me the context in which swearing is used, as well as who is swearing and why. Therefore, it REALLY bothered me when *SPOILER ALERT* Shane’s father got so mad at her for lying that he went on a profanity-laden tirade and said she was going to end up living under a bridge, then told her not to call home for anything, and refused to speak to her no matter how many apology emails she sent. It came off very severe to start with, but knowing from earlier in the book that Shane had never lied to her parents or otherwise caused them trouble before, it came off as an EXTREME overreaction. In addition to that, I know full well that I was raised by parents with far different standards than Shane’s, but in my world, you do not call your child names, profane or otherwise, EVER. I don’t care if your child is an adult now. I don’t care what they’ve done. She’s your daughter, that’s verbal abuse, and you don’t do it, EVER. I was SO mad about that. No. Just no.

There was also a moment when Shane angrily swore at her cousin on Facebook for being a jerk and he replies with, “Whoa, Shane, you don’t swear.” And I’m thinking, “You could have fooled me, given how many strings of s-words she’s said in her head up to this point.” It came off as disingenuous.

My other issue was related to aspects of the romance. This being a secular book, it unsurprisingly had a very secular view of romance. I didn’t agree with Shane’s attitudes about when it is okay to be physical in a relationship, or her attitudes about casually kissing total strangers. There were other things in this book I disagreed with, but don’t have room here to detail them.

In summary, I always go into books, even ones that are outside my preferred genres, hoping to like them. I went into this book fully aware that Ms. Riccio has different standards than I do. None of the content issues were a shock, but that aspect of the book was still disappointing to me, personally. However, while the story wasn’t one that I loved as much as I hoped to, as stated at the beginning, it still has an encouraging message at its core. I applaud the author for wanting to uplift her audience and for being brave enough to write a story that was close to her heart and put it out there for others to read. Ultimately, I liked the heart of the story enough for three stars, but the content issues were prominent enough to make me lower it to 2 stars. The performance of the narrator, however, was excellent and I give that 5 stars.

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  • Sheri Hapner
  • 02-10-2019

loved it!!

The narrator was great and I loved the story. The story was so cute and cringy and I loved it.

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  • Hanna F.
  • 18-09-2019

Amazing!!!

This book has everything you could ever ask for. The characters are funny and cool and relatable. You effortlessly fall in love with the story and the characters. I found myself getting lost in this book and getting so excited that I screamed and clapping and felt so proud of Shane. The book made me cry and laugh and encouraged me to face my own mountain. The plot twists were at just the right moments and I found myself not knowing how it would end in the best anxious way possible. Please read this book. It’s the best thing I’ve read in a very long time.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-09-2019

Love the narrator not the story

I got this book because I love the voice of the narrator. Unfortunately I felt the storyline was more directed towards teenagers/beginner college students so it was hard for me to be as invested as I would like. I am sure a younger audience would love this book. To me the overall story line was very simple and predictable. This is a typical feel good story. I personally would have loved to see the main character be less invested in a guy she barely knew and his nickname made me cringe.

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  • Miss L E Turvey
  • 21-07-2019

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 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-05-2019

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 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • MarieM
  • 22-08-2019

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.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Charlotte Selby
  • 17-06-2019

Incredible narrator

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

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rowan
  • 10-07-2019

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!

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Dominica
  • 09-05-2019

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.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful