[GIVEAWAY] Lessons from Paige: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

July 27, 2015 / 24 Comments / Discussion, Feature, Review, Uncategorized

[GIVEAWAY] Lessons from Paige: The Start of Me and You by Emery LordThe Start of Me and You

Goodreads
Author: Emery Lord
Find the author: Website, Blog, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr
Also by this author: Open Road Summer, When We Collided, The Names They Gave Us, Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Publication date: March 31st 2015
Source: Chapters Indigo
Format: Hardcover
My rating:
Buy It: Indigo.ca | Amazon.com | The Book Depository | iBooks | Google Books | Audible

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it's never too late for second chances.
It's been a year since it happened--when Paige Hancock's first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her--the perfect way to convince everyone she's back to normal. Next: Join a club--simple, it's high school after all. But when Ryan's sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

Hi guys, for my first post for The Start of Em and You Week, I decided to talk about how Paige and her story made me have a kind of revelation – one that’s made me more accepting and fearless about my own life. Read on for my thoughts about The Start of Me and You, Emery’s latest novel, and for an AMAZING handpainted book tote giveaway!

TELL ME, WHAT IS IT YOU PLAN TO DO WITH YOUR ONE WILD & PRECIOUS LIFE? -Mary Oliver

In the past year, I’ve continually noticed this quote in the footer of Emery Lord’s website, and it took me awhile before I realized that it’s the perfect quote to sum up the lessons I learned from Paige while reading The Start of Me and You.

The Start of Me and You is about Paige, a girl who recently lost her boyfriend of two months to a drowning accident. Because of that, she has sort of closed in on herself a bit. People give her a lot of sympathetic looks and she’s tired of being “The Girl Whose Boyfriend Drowned.” With the start of the school year, she decides to try to take her life back, starting with a list of things she wants to do this year. The list includes dating track star Ryan Chase, joining a new club, and facing up to her now fear of swimming. Paige’s journey takes her onto the Quiz Bowl team, where she (re) meets Ryan’s cousin Max. Together with her friends, she begins to make small changes in her life in order the move forward.

It’s this: the small changes part, that really got to me. At the beginning of the school year, Paige is just trying to get the simplest list of things done. She’s someone who has gone through a terrible ordeal, and has realized how important her friends and family are.

She’s not really feeling the guilt of being alive at this point. It’s been months since her ex-boyfriend died. She’s gone through that. Now she’s just trying to survive. And there’s so much beauty in the effort to do that. For Paige, her one wild & precious life is simply trying to live.

*****

romcom

I love the rom-com. I’m a huge fan of The Cutting Edge, and 10 Things I Hate About You, She’s The Man, and a whole host of other romantic comedies, especially in movie form. And to me, there’s one thing that separates a good rom-com from a great one: the little, perfect moments of realism and uniqueness where you see the characters talking about the craziest rumours about them and whether they’re true, or the surprisingly thoughtful gift that the main characters give each other, or the fact that they’re trying to flirt over a wheel of cheese. These little moments give the characters a little more depth, a little more weirdness, and a lot more humanity.

The Start of Me and You is, to me, romantic dramedy in book form. That’s what it read as to me. It reads like a rom-com written for TV or movie – and no wonder, as the main character, Paige, is an aspiring screenwriter who is obsessed with television.

Recently, Amy Sherman-Palladino, the creator of Gilmore Girls, did a panel where she talked about how on that show (and others), she has learned to make the little moments big and the big moments little. I feel like that’s how The Start of Me and You is written, and how Paige lives her life.

Those little moments when Paige is in the car with Max, banter, or when she’s hanging out with her best friends at a football game and they rib her about a boy buying her a hot dog, or when Paige’s best friend Tessa decides to put a special song on the radio in the car for Paige…these are the moments that make this book a little magical. And Paige doesn’t take them for granted: the book is chock-full of little realizations from Paige that her friends are really her family and that these little moments are really big.

“Before I could tell them I was fine, Morgan’s arms engulfed me and Kayleigh was right beside us, pulling Tessa in, too. I could pick out their scents–the soft vanilla of Morgan’s perfume and the floral of Kayleigh’s hair and the spearmint gum that Tess chewed any time we were outside of school. With our arms around each other, I almost believed that strength could travel between us like the heat of our bodies. Nothing, not even sadness, could be greater than the sum of us.”

*****

I woke up in the middle of the night last week with a big realization – one that maybe Paige had gotten to before the book even started.

When I was in high school, I had a bucket list like Paige’s list. It included things like, “play percussion with a world-famous orchestra” or “work for the UN” or “start a charity to end world hunger”. It did not include things like “join a new team” because I was a person who was already doing that kind of stuff. To me, that wasn’t a lofty enough goal. I wanted grand, immense, world-saving things for the future.

Let me just say, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If you have goals of becoming a president or running Oxfam, do it. But the thing I realized is that there is also nothing wrong with having smaller, more attainable goals like Paige does. In fact, to Paige, these things are huge and big. And going with her on this journey, I’m realizing how big those little things can be.

I’m 32 now and let me just give you the short answer: No, I haven’t done everything on my bucket list from high school. I’m not a world-famous percussionist. I did work for the UN for awhile, but I definitely haven’t ended world hunger. My life is pretty much what a lot of upper middle class lives are: I have a steady 9-to-5 job, a nice husband, a couple of cats. We bought a house. We have friends and family and life is pretty good.

And occasionally – maybe more often than I’d like to admit – I feel a bit like my life maybe went the wrong way. Maybe I wish I was living a more romantic life, where I’m constantly travelling the world to help save people. Maybe I feel like I should have been a famous singer whose music everyone downloads and talks about.

I realized, though, that no one in my favourite rom-coms have that kind of life. My favourites are ones where people like me find a little magic in the everyday, whether it’s through love or friendship or family – through living their lives. Paige and her rom-com reminded me that my life bucket list doesn’t need to be so grand – that there is grandness in the little moments, and grandness in just surviving.

Sometimes grandness just means setting realistic goals and achieving them. Sometimes it means allowing sadness and the mundane to be part of your life so that you can really appreciate those perfect, unexpected moments with your cats and family and friends. Sometimes it means just living everyday with the knowledge that you’re improving and making things a little better for yourself and the people around you.

So, tell me, what are the goals you are setting for yourself? What little moments are you making big in your life? 

—–

Love The Start of Me and You like I do? Share your love by entering to win a handpainted The Start of Me and You book tote made by Becca of Pivot Book Totes! Guys, if you haven’t seen Becca’s amazing totes, take a look now: she is ridonkulously talented! I own a Fangirl tote by her, and I adore it.

For this tote,  she will customize whatever quote you want on the back. Enter the giveaway below – open to US/CAN mailing addresses only (sorry, international followers, I promise you’ll get a giveaway tomorrow)! And be sure to thank Becca on Twitter for helping make this giveaway happen (and compliment her on the pretty).

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24 responses to “[GIVEAWAY] Lessons from Paige: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

  1. I haven’t read this book, but it is now at the top of my summer reading list. I realized that I really wasn’t an adult, until I turned 50. I have given up all my selfish ways, and have turned them into caring for elderly cats. I have a small shelter, and right now I have 13.

    • Wow, that’s a ton of cats! I only have two and they are a handful. It’s so great that you’re doing that – I bet you’re learning a lot just from having those kitties around. =)

      So glad you’re giving TSOMAY a try – it’s a beautiful, meaningful rom-com. =)

  2. I think what I took away most from The Start of Me and You is that friendship is so important and to not let it go to waste. It’s a great feeling sitting at home on some random afternoon and knowing you can text or call someone and know they’ll want to see you. Moments with my friends are the best ones. One of my friends and I went to the drive in last week and it was such a simple outing, but it felt so magical and broke up an otherwise mundane week. I loved your Gilmore Girl reference, I’ve been binge watching it all summer and it makes me want to write smaller big moments for my characters.

    • It’s amazing what those little moments do, right? Just going to a movie can be an incredible thing if you have that special connection with the people you’re going with. I’m so glad you had that moment!

      I meant to actually add a link to that GG reference – it’s so apt for the show and for the Lorelai/Rory relationship. They make anything they touch kind of magical.

      Glad you’re thinking about the smaller big moments – I think that’s what often makes a book a winner for me. Attention to detail like that just makes the characters so much more full. =)

  3. The Start of You and Me is currently sitting on my shelf waiting for me to read it! I recently read Emery’s debut and really enjoyed it! I’ve taken to living day by day and taking every little moment and cherishing it. I recently found out that I may be relocating for work now that I’ve graduated and so lately I’ve been taking time each day to enjoy spending time with my dog, Zeus, who lives at my parent’s house. I make a big deal about the little moments when he brings me a toy or comes & jumps on top of me to take a nap.

  4. Jenna

    I love the way Emery Lord writes about friendship. A lot of times it’s similar interests that bring people together as friends. Paige, Tessa, Morgan, and Kayleigh are all different yet they are still always there for each other.

    “In friendship we are all debtors. We all owe each other for a thousand small kindnesses, for little moments of grace in the chaos.”

    I really liked this quote. We always say to our friends we owe them one after they help us but we don’t have to say that. If our friends needs us, we will always be there and they will do the same for us. It really doesn’t matter who owes who. We do it because they are our friend and we love them.

  5. The little moments I’m trying to cherish and enjoy while I still can is my little brother being “little”. I want to spend more time with him while he’s still small and adorable. He’s growing up way too fast.
    Surprisingly, I’ve never read a book that made me reflect on life…

  6. Sam

    I actually have this on my TBR. I love all the movies you have compared it to. Great review! I am really looking forward to reading this

  7. Zaira F

    Great review!! I especially love that last bit of message you have. I’m about to start college and I’ve been setting a lot of goals for myself and I’m both scared and excited for the future and what is to come. The goal that is important for me right now is to do my best at school and exert my 101% effort at anything I’d end up doing, and to try and be happy all the time 🙂

  8. Madalyn Hardwick

    Oh my goodness, I received an ARC of The Start of Me and You last August and for some reason I waited until January to read it…as soon as I finished the book, I wanted to reread it immediately. I LOVE THIS BOOK. I have never related to a protagonist as much as I relate to Paige– I was a similar type of student, with a shockingly similar friend group to the one in the book, and I was even on Academic Team (my high school’s version of Quiz Bowl). Most of all, I loved Paige’s journey, because it’s very similar to one I underwent during my freshman year of college. I love that the book focuses so heavily on friendships– I think that was my favorite thing about it. I also completely agree with what you said about how Emery Lord just nails the idea of focusing on the little moments in The Start of Me and You.

  9. I have not gotten to read The Start of Me and You yet! Each time I see it at the bookstore, I pick it up and tell myself I’m going to buy it. Then I have thoughts about how I can order it online cheaper. But I forget to order it when I get home! Bleh!

    Little moments for me are enjoying my summer from work (elementary school) and spending as much time with my niece as possible! Every other Saturday, she spends the night with me. I love when we watch a movie before bed…with popcorn! We add a cup of hot chocolate during the winter to the movie and popcorn routine.

    Also, we always read a while before I turn off the light and wish her sweet dreams. My favorite part. 🙂

  10. I’ve read this book and LOVED it. A lesson I took away from it is to seize those little moments in life that make it all worth it. I adored Paige and her list and how she fought her way through the grief and found her way back to herself. It was wonderful to see.

  11. Jennifer T

    I haven’t read this book. I try to enjoy travels, moments with children. I don’t think there’s only one book that made me reflect on life, lot of them do and the most important thing I have learnt is probably to be more understanding.

  12. I haven’t read it yet, but can’t wait to. I just started my blog a week ago, so I’m trying to enjoy every moment, every first. I also try to enjoy spending time with family, good books, and good food. I can’t think of a book off the top of my head that made me reflect on life, but I’m sure there’s plenty of them. Books are great at teaching lessons, like don’t bully, be yourself, etc.

  13. I haven’t read The Start of You and Me yet, but it’s rare that a book doesn’t make me reflect on my own life. There is always at least something about a book that gives me pause in this way. One such book was The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things, which gave me the courage to give a positive note to a stranger I met at the library. More recently, Little Bones by Vikki Grant and Shattered Glass by Teresa Toten – both of which are books in the Secrets series out this coming September from Orca Books – reminded me of my over active imagination / inability to keep my wits about me and my naïvety respectively when I was on my own for the first time as a young person.

  14. Alice Wu

    I haven’t read the book yet, but a book that really made me think was I’ll Give You the Sun because maintaining a relationship with siblings is important to me and especially making up after tensions.

  15. Angela

    I LOVED TSOMAY. I learned that life doesn’t always go the way you planned it to, and you just have to go with it because sometimes it’s better. 🙂

  16. Kristin

    I just reread The Start of Me and You, and ugh, Emery Lord just gets it. The book is so great on so many different levels. I absolutely love Paige knows things (Ryan and her only have Max in common, she won’t drown when swimming), but won’t listen to the truth (she and Max are great together, she can get over her fear/move on). It’s a little bit aggravating as a reader, but it’s wholly relateable also. And how Emery writes the friendships with Tessa (!), Kayleigh, and Morgan is superb. So real and individual.
    Also, did you catch the Lilah Montgomery reference?! I squealed. Haha.

  17. Ileana A.

    I haven’t read The Start of Me and You but the book that made me reflect on life was The Bronze Horseman by Paulina Simons, is such an inspiring, heartwrenching book that made me think and feel so much for the people that are envolved in war specially what happend in WWII. Power, money and hate can do terrible things in peoples mind and hearts.

  18. I was so pumped for this book when I first read about it, but somehow I lost that feeling for it. Now, after reading your review, I have that desire back. I think I need a story like this one now, and I am going to find it on my Kindle so I can get started.

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