Book Review: Better Together by Christine Riccio

I legit screamed when I opened up my email on Monday and saw that Wednesday Books had sent me an ARC (advanced readers copy) of Better Together by Christine Riccio.

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If you liked The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday, you’re gonna love this new book all about sisters.

I was a huge fan of Christine’s first novel, Again, but Better. I loved the contemporary feel + the twist of magic. Better Together is her sophomore novel, and it’s a book I’ve anxiously been waiting for once it was announced.

Better Together follows two sisters, Siri and Jamie. They’re both shipped off to a camp retreat so they can figure their stuff out, which is where they run into each other. And after a bit of a freak out (Siri didn’t know that Jamie was real cause that’s what their mom told her), they decided to switch places.

What I liked most about Better Together:

The Freaky Friday element added to the Parent Trap part of the story. This magic twist made the book more fun. Siri and Jamie change their physical appearances, as they plan to switch places. But there’s a twist of magic, that makes them actually look exactly like the other sister.

The character growth. At the beginning of Better Together, both Jamie and Siri are pretty, well, unlikeable. They’re angsty and angry, running from feelings and problems and well, kind of dramatic. But I really feel like they grew throughout the story and by the end they were different people!

The romance!! I wouldn’t necessarily call this one a rom-com, only because the romance isn’t the main focus of either sister’s storyline, but it is a big and fun part. I loved Dawn and Zarar!

Reading a book about sisters was so much fun. This part reminded me of You Have a Match by Emma Lord. These two sisters haven’t been together for 14 years and now they’re trying to figure out all their family stuff (the parents are not stellar people) and how to be sisters. As an older sister, I loved this aspect of the book so dang much.

What I didn’t like so much:

All the dang swearing. Whew, baby, I know people say the f word and sh!t quite often in real life, growing up we never did and it’s still jarring to see it in books. So, personal preference, I could have done without several hundred f-bombs. I think that using this language was one of the ways Christine was trying to make the sisters seem different, as one sister swears and the other uses words like ‘excrement’ in place of the swear words. But I feel like the sisters were different enough that this aspect felt a bit overdone.

The start was slow. I feel like the first 30% of the book was interesting, but could have moved a lot faster. I really started loving the book once we hit part 2.

I wanted to love Better Together more than I did. I ultimately really enjoyed it, I’ve got my copy pre-ordered and I’ll read it again. But, I might say that I liked Again, but Better more than this one. (which, I kind of expected since Again, but Better is one of my favorite books.)

I highly recommend if you enjoyed Again, but Better and if you’re a fan of Freaky Friday and The Parent Trap!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Better Together is officially out on June 1, 2021. Thank you Wednesday Books and NetGalley for providing me with an early copy! All thoughts are my own.

About Better Together

Jamie’s an aspiring standup comic in Los Angeles with a growing case of stage anxiety. Siri’s a stunning ballerina from New Jersey nursing a career-changing injury.

They’ve both signed up for the same session at an off the grid Re-Discover Yourself Retreat in Colorado. When they run into each other, their worlds turn upside down.

Jamie and Siri are sisters, torn apart at a young age by their parent’s volatile divorce. They’ve grown up living completely separate lives: Jamie with their Dad and Siri with their Mom. Now, reunited after over a decade apart, they hatch a plot to switch places. It’s time they get to know and confront each of their estranged parents.

With an accidental assist from some fortuitous magic, Jamie arrives in New Jersey, looking to all the world like Siri, and Siri steps off her flight sporting a Jamie glamour.

The sisters unexpectedly find themselves stuck living in each other’s shoes. Soon Siri’s crushing on Jamie’s best friend Dawn. Jamie’s falling for the handsome New Yorker she keeps running into, Zarar. Alongside a parade of hijinks and budding romance, both girls work to navigate their broken family life and the stresses of impending adulthood.

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