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How far would you go for a second chance?
Eleven years after flunking out of college, Kate has finally hit rock-bottom. Losing her job and boyfriend in one drunken night, she’s determined to fix her life by going back to the moment when she let partying and sex take over. And do things right this time. At twenty-nine, she heads back to freshman year of college, with a catch.
Pretending she’s nineteen with a new roommate and full class schedule is easy. When she meets her shy, sexy and seven-years-younger RA, Carter, following her self-imposed sobriety and celibacy rules is proving to be anything but.
A senior enduring years of regret, Carter is more than ready to graduate. He’s anxious to move on from the party his freshman year where he witnessed his frat brothers about to commit a sexual assault. Instead of doing the right thing and stepping in, he looked the other way and left. His guilt has made for a lonely four years.
When he meets the new freshman on his floor, spunky and confident Kate, he wonders if his time as an outcast has finally come to an end.
Kate and Carter’s growing friendship and undeniable attraction make it harder to hide the demons from their respective pasts. But when their secrets are finally revealed, will their chance at starting over together still be there?
Again requires a pretty big leap of faith–can someone in this age of modern technology, where all of our records are computerized and your social security number is your ID, really falsify documentation and be accepted into college as herself, but ten years younger? (A computer hacker? Probably. But Kate isn’t. At. All.)
So it helps not to think too long and hard on the plausibility of that part. Just accept it, and read on to immerse yourself in the story.
As for me, I went back and forth. There were aspects of the story that I really enjoyed–both Carter and Kate are likable characters, as are Tristan (Carter’s best friend) and Dawn (Kate’s roomie) and it was easy to root for them. I loved the fact that Carter volunteered at an SPCA–cute detail. Kate and Carter’s “meet cute” was adorable. Carter’s “rescue” of Kate from the frat house was fantastic. I liked the idea of starting over, and that Kate was taking charge of her life after hitting rock bottom.
What didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, though, is how she choose to go about it. Okay, yes, start over. Going back to and finishing college is a fantastic idea, definitely. But how could someone with an alcohol dependency problem really think that immersing herself into the whole “college scene”, living on campus and all, is a good idea? Temptation is going to be everywhere! I spent a lot of the book shaking my head at her choices, not understanding why she didn’t just go back to school as her true self–student loans, grants, financial aid–I’m sure she could have figured out financing once her grandmother’s money ran out. She could finish her degree, go on to law school as planned, get a counselor to help with her addiction problems–starting over, but without the same degree of temptation.
Also without Carter, though. Which would have been a definite shame, so…
I kept reading, even through the head-shaking times.
Everything ends well, fortunately, and the aspects that I had the biggest issues with were resolved. I still liked the characters and wanted the best for them, so win-win. People grew and changed and the all lying came to an end, and I was ultimately happy even though Kate does get out of it all just a teensy bit too easily. (Though that could be my Carter bias showing. Did I mention he volunteers at the SPCA? ;)) All in all, it was an enjoyable, though problematic at times, read.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University. She is the author of Pretty Amy, The Next Forever, Dear Cassie, Sneaking Candy and The Possibility of Us. As well as a contributor to the essay collection, Break These Rules: 35 YA Authors On Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself. Again is her self-publishing debut. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her very patient husband, a neurotic dog and two cats.
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