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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 yo 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. Freaky Friday meets The Parent Trap in New York Times bestselling author Christine Riccio's Better Together, a sparkling and heartfelt story about sisters, second chances, finding romance, and finding yourself.


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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 yo 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. Freaky Friday meets The Parent Trap in New York Times bestselling author Christine Riccio's Better Together, a sparkling and heartfelt story about sisters, second chances, finding romance, and finding yourself.

30 review for Better Together

  1. 4 out of 5

    sapphia

    "Excrement." Here we go again. This was so difficult to get through, which is a bad sign. I wanted this to be, if not good, then at least half-way decent. I really did. No, really! That being said, this was atrocious. Somehow, even worse than Again, But Better. Which is sad. A debut novel is supposed to be at least a little bit shitty, it's really rare for your first published novel to be excellent. ABB isn't the worst book I've ever read, and most of my problems (and anger) with that book were the "Excrement." Here we go again. This was so difficult to get through, which is a bad sign. I wanted this to be, if not good, then at least half-way decent. I really did. No, really! That being said, this was atrocious. Somehow, even worse than Again, But Better. Which is sad. A debut novel is supposed to be at least a little bit shitty, it's really rare for your first published novel to be excellent. ABB isn't the worst book I've ever read, and most of my problems (and anger) with that book were the self-inserting and the shit plot. And well, the low probability of it being published without Christine's audience. But this isn't a debut. This is her second novel! I wasn't expecting a masterpiece but... at least some improvement? There was none, it actually felt like a huge step backwards in terms of quality. I even feel sorry for Christine after reading this, is this the most interesting story she can tell? Buckle up, kids. This is going to be a long one. Spoilers, ahoy. First and foremost, what's the story? Better Together follows sisters Jamie and Siri who were separated by their parents' divorce when they were six and four, respectively. At the start of the book they are both sent to some stupid camp where they meet. They decide to switch places when they go back á la the Parent Trap, but before they do they snort some magic glitter and what do ya know, they actually end up looking like each other. Because unexplained magical bullshit in the contemporary genre is a great idea. Also seems to be Ms. Riccio's new speciality. And like everything else in this book, it's poorly done. Moving on, there is no self-inserting in this book. Hooray! ... Right? ... Well, no actually. As it turns out, without self-inserting, Ms. Riccio isn't a very good writer. Her first book, with all its flaws, was at least consistent in its writing and actually readable. In this book, the characters are all over the place and the writing is absolute garbage. Harsh, but true. I'm usually a fast reader (usually), but this book was a struggle. I'm getting off track, we're talking about self-inserting. Siri and Jamie are not self-inserts. However, Ms. Riccio really wants you to know this, because the book beats you over the head with how much they're not self-inserts. Christine loves Taylor Swift? Oh, Siri hates that bitch. Christine loves oatmeal? (which I didn't know until I read the acknowledgements... ok) Jamie fucking hates oatmeal, gross. Christine is a writer(?), Siri could never even imagine being a writer! She has not written a word in her life. I am exaggerating but you get it. There were more smaller instances where it was so obvious Christine was trying to point out how not self-inserty they were, and it was distracting and stupid. But yes, mission accomplished, I guess. No self-inserts here, instead they're horribly written inconsistent maniacs! :) This goes for all the characters, not just our main sisters. But let's start with them. Siri Martine Maza. Siri is a former ballerina who, and oh my god I'd forgotten this part until I had to write it down, permanently injures herself to the point of never being able to dance again in a fucking moshpit. It's... so stupid. She was raised by the girls' mother, ballet is pretty much her life, also likes heavy metal and cooking and is bisexual. She is also... mentally unstable. And very inconsistent. She's probably supposed to be crazy, because her mom is horrible, but the writing is also horrible. So..? When they meet at the camp, Siri has no idea Jamie is a real person, let alone her sister, as her mother brainwashed her into thinking she was her imaginary friend. You read that right. It's so fucked up, and I kept waiting for it to be properly addressed, but it never was. So, when they literally run into each other in the bathroom, Siri doesn't know who Jamie is, but Jamie recognizes her and expects Siri to recognize her too. Siri doesn't, and instead... assumes Jamie ran into her on purpose and is trying to take her hostage and kill her? Or that she has a weapon and is going to assault her again? Even though it was Siri who rushed out of her shower stall so violently that they both fell over. She then actually assaults Jamie by throwing her shower stuff at her before running away because she thought she was holding a weapon (it was a nail file). The next day she flips a canoe over (I think?) when Jamie gets into it with her, because she's obviously not real, right? Again, it's really unclear what happened but Jamie low-key got a concussion because of it and it's just? What? Like, yeah, her mother brainwashed her into believing Jamie was her imaginary friend, but this is ridiculous. Mostly because it is so FUCKING inconsistent. There's also this; “I’m not a ghost. I’m your sister.” I enunciate each word like she’s hard of hearing. Siri lets go of a guttural scream. ??? And oh my god, I haven't even gotten to the swearing yet. Siri has been taught by her mother that swearing is unladylike so instead she uses non-swear words like what the frig, heck, darn and holy smokes. Right? :) ... "Intercourse this." "What the underworld?" “You’re such a gluteus maximus trench.” “Are you intercoursing kidding?” And, of course; “Excrement.” Ms. Riccio, this is not cute characterization. This is straight up clumsy and extremely annoying. It never flows well, it just doesn't work. The examples I put above are not the only ones, this is used throughout the entire fucking novel. Always in Siri's POV and eventually Jamie starts doing it too, and Dawn. Fucking sTOP. James George Federov. “Mara, are you proposing to me? Because I’m not interested in you that way,” I say instinctively. (Dude, that's your mom.) Jamie was raised by the girls' father, is a stand-up "comedian" with commitment issues and is the fucking worst. In the first half of the book, she's just extremely annoying. Then she's just a fucking asshole. She's horrible to everyone in her life, realizes that she is, but continues to be so. Towards the end she's like oh no I'm the worst time to do a big gesture and somehow it's ok now. No. SIGH. I really don't want to talk about her, I don't like her. She's horrible and it never gets properly dealt with. She's not funny, so all her stand-up shit (which is half of her storyline) is just cringe. She also has a weird swearing thing, where unlike Siri who doesn't swear, Jamie does. Gasp! I'm assuming to show how different her and Siri are. But again, it doesn't fucking work. "What the actual flippity fudge fork jibbit fuck!?" “MOTHER FUCKER BALLS BASKET,” It. Doesn't. Work. So, their names. James George and Siri Martine. GEORGE R R MARTIN HAHA GET IT, BECAUSE THEIR PARENTS ARE SUCH BIG "THRONES" FANS. THEY EVEN NAMED THEM AFTER JAIME AND CERSEI FUCKING LANNISTER. No. Absolutely not. Ohhh my god. This entire book is crammed full of GOT references. Being an ASOIAF nerd myself, it was really fucking grating. Because, again, IT DOESN'T FUCKING WORK. No self-respecting ASOIAF fan would fucking name their children after Jaime and Cersei. Maybe Jaime, because Jaime is a fan-favorite, and I'm sure there are some hardcore insane Cersei stans out there who would name their kid after her but... both? Naming your kids after the biggest twincesters in all of pop culture? That is so fucked up, and again, NEVER ADDRESSED PROPERLY. It's just put in there for a laugh. Also, people like their parents who've been fans of the series since BEFORE the TV-show wouldn't call it "Thrones". That's the fucking TV-show, not the books. This is nit-picky, but sooooo fucking stupid. ANNND oh my god. “The faceless men,” Mom mumbles. Wow. They’re literally not even questioning the magic. SCUZI??? Of course, if you like ASOIAF, magic wouldn't even faze you. This is after they've revealed they've been living with their estranged parents for the last week, wearing their sister's fucking skin. And the parents are like yeah of course, true. Because I watch THRONES!! Fuck off. Fuck you. Fuck this stupid fucking unexplained stupID FUKCING happy haunting magical BULLSHIT! Man, I started off writing this review actually not being mad, but seeing all of this garbage written down is really pissing me off. Let's talk about the magic, ok? They go into a MAGICAL cabin and find a fucking glitter bomb, it blasts over them, there's a stupid poem, they fall asleep on the plane and wake up wearing each other's appearances, like glamours. If they tell ONE PERSON (ONLY ONE), they sneeze glitter on them and suddenly they can see through the glamour. What the fuck. Of course, the people they sneeze on are their respective love interests. It's so fucking stupid. But what I don't understand is why it's in the book. Why is the magic here? They were already going to change places for a short time, so they fixed their hair and changed clothes. Apparently they look a lot alike, so they were going off that. (And the parents can't even tell them apart after the magic is gone during the reveal?) Then why... did you use magic as well? It doesn't make any fucking sense. Why didn't you make them twins in the first place? You're already ripping off the Parent Trap, just go all the way! I don't understand this unncessecarily complicated plot. "Ok, so the Parent Trap. Except they're not twins, they're two years apart but they're gonna switch places anyway, even though it's not gonna work even though, it kinda works in the end, but alas!! Magic swoops in and makes the plot work! Perfect :)" I do not understand the logic. Because there is none. And the thing is, there wasn't really any point? I don't feel like they did anything by changing places. They were supposed to... confront their parents? All that happened was Jamie was pretty much harassing their mother and since the mother only saw Siri, that's really fucking shitty? Also she ran around New York, falling in love with creep-ass Zarar (looking like SIRI), she even met his family and friends (LOOKING LIKE SIRI) with no consequences. Because fuck, that would include actual writing. Siri was doing a bunch of stuff, falling in love(?) with Jamie's best friend Dawn, doing stand-up comedy gigs in her place as to not waste opportunities and... Jamie gets mad, because she feels like her sister is a better her than her? The takeaway from this is how horrible Jamie is. Let's talk love interests, I guess. Dawn Torres. Dawn is Siri's love interest and Jamie's best friend, and she deserves so much better. I actually really like her. I wish she was in a better book. She actually has... character. Can you imagine. Sadly, she is underutilized. Her romance with Siri is pretty shit, tbh. Just as it was getting good, it was over. I appreciate Ms. Riccio doing some sapphic romance, but it wasn't good. If you're not going to dedicate as much time to doing your queer romances as your hetero ones, then don't bother. Zarar and Jamie got way more development and, well, time. Stuff. Romance. Zarar Jafri. Zarar is a huge fucking creep. He's Jamie's love interest, and the first time we see him is in Siri's POV, when he physically runs into her. He then physically runs into Jamie, and we hear that he ran into another girl. Probably more. We find out he purposefully does this, in order to try and create a "meet-cute". That is so fucking creepy. He pretty much assaults women at this camp, of which he is a staff member, and it's supposed to be what, cute? Romantic? It's fucked up. And yes, you read that right, he works at the camp. He is a staff member. He's running around purposefully colliding with "students" of this stupid retreat, presumably those he finds attractive and asks them out. He asks Jamie out right after he's admitted to assaulting women and while he's helping her with that concussion. Fuck off, Zarar. God, what's next. Writing? Sure, let's do writing. Writing. Heartache clangs down my esophagus. Horrendous. Yes, this is an ARC. I am not talking about typos. I am talking about the fucking meat of the book; THE WRITING. It's so poor. There are several instances where the location just fucking shifts. At first I thought it was a formatting thing, that they were going to put a partition there, but when I re-read the sentence, it doesn't make sense. Example; I flop the spoon around in my Special K and glare down at the Rediscover Yourself retreat pamphlet she shoved in my face last night. . . . I sit with my butt on the very edge of a plastic subway seat, back ramrod straight, suitcase tucked between my legs, in route to JFK. Mind you, this is at the start of a chapter, and there's only one or two lines between. There are several more examples, but I'm running out of characters. What the fuck are these; He’s smiling-smiling. It’s kind of just like his non-smile-smile; it’s on one side of his face. A grin the size of a life-ending meteor smashes onto my face. This is probably the worst sentence I've ever read; Dawn and I have been practicing the weird opening pattern game the team does and starting scenes together for thirty minutes on the grass along the side of the house where we’re performing when the other members of Duck Waterfall start to show up. Unless you enjoy bashing your head against a wall, I don't recommend picking this up. What more is there to say? This is the longest review I've written. Enjoy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    DNF at 66% omg. i just cant do it anymore. i feel like this review is going to be a mean rant that i will probably regret later, but i feel angry that i lost so many brain cells and wasted so much time reading this. i honestly dont know where to begin. i just keep thinking that i have 12 year old ESL/EFL students who can write better stories in english than CR can. at least they understand that unexplained magic cop-outs in realistic fiction makes zero sense, forced dialogue sucks the fun out of DNF at 66% omg. i just cant do it anymore. i feel like this review is going to be a mean rant that i will probably regret later, but i feel angry that i lost so many brain cells and wasted so much time reading this. i honestly dont know where to begin. i just keep thinking that i have 12 year old ESL/EFL students who can write better stories in english than CR can. at least they understand that unexplained magic cop-outs in realistic fiction makes zero sense, forced dialogue sucks the fun out of reading, superficial gimmicky characterisation is peak laziness, an overuse of pop culture references doesnt make you relevant, and being ‘inspired’ by a film doesnt mean plagiarising a scene and passing it off as your own because you used your own character names. i just have so many problems with this book. the writing and content in this is honestly some of the worst i have ever read for such a big, mainstream publisher. did anyone even look at this before it was given the green light?? was this even given to an editor?? i was willing to give CR another chance because i wasnt a fan of her first book ‘again, but better,’ but this is shockingly somehow worse. i found nothing enjoyable about reading this. which makes me think that storytelling and christine riccio are, in fact, not better together. thanks (but no thanks) for the ARC wednesday books. ↠ 1 star

  3. 5 out of 5

    Angelica

    I really enjoyed this book. Christine’s writing has improved tremendously since she first published Again, but Better. Where the main character of her debut novel was an obvious Christine insert, Siri and Jamie in this book were both unique, each with interesting and distinguishable storylines. It made both of their POVs equally engaging, although I admit, Jamie was more fun to read about, mostly because I couldn’t take Siri’s cursing seriously. I also really enjoyed all of the side characters, e I really enjoyed this book. Christine’s writing has improved tremendously since she first published Again, but Better. Where the main character of her debut novel was an obvious Christine insert, Siri and Jamie in this book were both unique, each with interesting and distinguishable storylines. It made both of their POVs equally engaging, although I admit, Jamie was more fun to read about, mostly because I couldn’t take Siri’s cursing seriously. I also really enjoyed all of the side characters, especially Zarar. He’s too good for this world and now I too want a ‘meet cute’ that I can tell my grandchildren about! Plotwise, this is a mix of The Parent Trap with Freaky Friday. And yet, it wasn’t a copy of either of those. The story took different turns and implemented many different elements that I didn’t expect. The story also looked into the individual traumas that the sisters had endured at the hands of their parents. I felt especially bad for Jamie who was literally erased by her mother. Speaking of the mother, she was a horrible person. The dad too, but the mom really spent 14 years gaslighting her daughter. That’s why I am so glad that this wasn’t a Parent Trap situation about bringing the parents together because it is clear that they don’t have a good relationship. This was more about the girls and them reconnecting and learning to become both friends and sisters after being apart for so long. It was also about each of them learning how to be individuals and find true happiness. Overall, I really liked this one. I think Christine has grown so much as a writer and I can’t wait to read more of her stories in the future. But, before I go, let me just say something because I can’t just let this go. The amount of negative reviews written of this book from the moment it was announced is just sad. The moment it was announced people were leaving one-star reviews. If you don’t like Christine, that’s fine. If you didn’t like her previous book, that’s ok. If you read this book and hated it, that’s entirely valid. But people need to stop sinking people’s books before they even read them, just because you have a problem with the author or something. And for all the comments explaining what an ARC is, trust me, I know what they are. I read this as an ARC. There have been negative reviews since day one. Since before this book even had an official title. This also isn’t just me being mad about it happening to this book in particular. It’s all books. I hate to see rants and one-star reviews on books people haven’t read. You can't have an opinion on content you haven't seen. Ok, that is all. **I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.** Follow Me Here Too: My Blog || Twitter || Bloglovin' || Instagram || Tumblr || Pinterest

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Welcome to another remake / retelling of one of my favorite movies Parent Trap ( sorry my friends but I’m old school about this one: I always prefer 1961’s Hayley Mills’ performance to Lindsay Lohan) You know the drill: the sisters were torn apart at young age and they find each other at Colorado retreat. Both of them have true problematic, dysfunctional relationships with their families. They need a break from their lives. So they made a pact and switch places! I have to confess I love the auth Welcome to another remake / retelling of one of my favorite movies Parent Trap ( sorry my friends but I’m old school about this one: I always prefer 1961’s Hayley Mills’ performance to Lindsay Lohan) You know the drill: the sisters were torn apart at young age and they find each other at Colorado retreat. Both of them have true problematic, dysfunctional relationships with their families. They need a break from their lives. So they made a pact and switch places! I have to confess I love the author’s booktube performances but her first book “Again but better” was a miss for me. I can honestly say, I love the premise and ideas of this book so much better. The back stories of the sisters and their family issues, their reconnections with their parents were the strengths of the story. When it comes to romance parts, team Zarar and Jamie warmed my heart! They were so cute couple. But from the beginning I couldn’t connect with Siri and I found myself yelling at my book: “Siri please call the author and tell her to shut you down, by the way tell me address of the nearest Thai Place !” She was so whiny, clingy, immature. I try so hard to emphasize with her who lost her future dreams to become a star ballerina. The increasing pressure on her shoulders to be a daughter of a Broadway star! On the other hand, Jamie was so much likable! Of course I enjoy her profession choice to be stand up comedian even though her entire punchlines inspired from her douchebag father! She’s struggling at her job, losing her apartment and she is forced to go to retreat to obey the rules of the contract she’s made! The writing style was not engaging. Only my common interest with the author was becoming fan of Billie Eilish . The wordy and long depictions may be edited to fasten the pace, moving forward. And at some parts the girls’ voices are intercepted! I couldn’t differentiate the characters. They were acting, talking so similar! Overall: I loved the creative ideas and the girls’ way of facing with their parents to solve their family issues. And I can chant for Jamie and Zarar! But I have to admit: As another retelling of Parent Trap: I loved Emma Lord’s “ You have a match” more ! This book was smart , creative but there’s something missing about emotional depth of character development and the long, wordy chapters were a little distracting. So I’m giving three dysfunctional family business meet Parent Trap, entertaining, smart sisterhood stars! It’s still one of my good reads! And as far as I see, the author gives us so much better materials. I’m so sure with her improving skills, she’ll give us better books in near future and I’ll love to devour them. Special thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press / Wednesday Books for sharing this one of the most anticipated young adult reads’ digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sara Grossaint

    An ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. How to begin! This is my first ARC and, after nearly 6 years of reviewing every book I read, I was excited for the opportunity to read something in advance. I am still very excited! It is a really wonderful privilege to be able to read a book that isn't out yet. It was not, however, a privilege to read this book. This book was―and I cannot stress this enough―bad. While I didn't like Christine Riccio's first effort, Again, But Better An ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. How to begin! This is my first ARC and, after nearly 6 years of reviewing every book I read, I was excited for the opportunity to read something in advance. I am still very excited! It is a really wonderful privilege to be able to read a book that isn't out yet. It was not, however, a privilege to read this book. This book was―and I cannot stress this enough―bad. While I didn't like Christine Riccio's first effort, Again, But Better, it still had some structure to it that made sense and, even if I didn't like it, it still had things about it where I could see why others might enjoy it, which is why I rated it a 2 of 5 and called it done. I didn't loathe Again, But Better but I did loathe Better Together. If this hadn't been baby's first ARC, I would not have finished this book. I usually never finish books I dislike as much as this unless they are so bad that they become funny. This couldn't even get to that point, this was just plain bad. This book was painful. One thing that kicked things off in a really poor fashion was Riccio's inability to distinguish the two girls' inner voices from one another. I was constantly having to thumb back to the top of a chapter just to check if it was a Siri or a Jamie chapter. And okay, yes, let's talk about names, shall we? I really hated the name Pilot Penn in Again, But Better but Riccio really had to outdo herself when she legitimately, actually, really named her two main characters after Jamie and Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones. This is something that is acknowledged in the text because the parents are mega freaks for Game of Thrones, and Riccio attempts to play it for laughs, but I'm sorry, there is no parent in the world, especially not people who are actually fans of those characters, who would legitimately name two siblings after the world's most famous incestuous siblings, and the fact that Riccio had the idea for it and kept it in is honestly a bit troubling. The dual POV from each girl does make sense thematically, but functionally, it does very little to serve the story, as both girls are going through such a similar journey that the book goes through the same lessons twice, making the book twice as long as it needs to be. I would have preferred Again, But Better as dual POV over this. There is so much time dedicated at the beginning toward Jamie and Siri being just soOOooOO dIfFeReNt that it was pretty painful from the start, especially with the lack of proper distinctive voices between the sisters' inner monologues. Not only are we basically given a laundry list of reasons why these girls are such opposites, but nobody talks like a real person in this book, least of all our main characters. Jamie swears like a sailor, but they're cute, colorful swears that nobody in real life would use! How different! Siri refuses to swear, instead using the word excrement instead of shit or intercourse instead of fuck. Again, this is played as a way to supposedly show how different the sisters are, but instead it only proves they do the same "look how quirky!" B.S. and it does nothing to endear the reader to them, only proving they are cartoon caricatures of caricatures, nowhere close to being relatable or interesting. So, let's get into the basic plot and setup, shall we? This book bills itself as an homage to Freaky Friday and The Parent Trap. How do I know this? Not only is that listed on the inside flap (which is fine, I'd like to establish; there's nothing wrong with listing your comps on the inside flap) but it's repeated multiple times in the text that the girls are in the middle of a Parent Trap-Freaky Friday situation. I don't know about you guys, though, but when I'm reading an homage to something, I really don't love it when the characters announce they are in the middle of an homage and then say the title of the thing the homage is to. I think Christine has a pop culture problem. Her whole life is centered around the things she watches, reads, and listens to. That's okay, so is mine! There's nothing wrong with that, in my opinion. There is, however, a problem with dragging constant pop culture references into your writing. Timothée Chalamet plays a weirdly large role here for some reason. I do not care to ever hear a Game of Thrones reference in anything ever again, because this has enough of them to cover me for the rest of my life. We also get Billie Eilish, Men in Black, and a plethora of other things here that only serve to make the reference to the thing and leave, adding nothing to the story and leaving me groaning in its wake. It's nowhere near as bad as it was in Again, But Better but it's still pretty bad here. Using a pop culture reference is not always a lazy choice; sometimes it can build your setting or show something your character is interested in, but rather than referencing something real, Christine could instead use her creativity to create a new, different show that the girls' parents were into, making all those constant Game of Thrones references feel more original and important to the story, rather than pulling a random bluray off her shelf and calling it good. I'd like to challenge Christine to write a book with no pop culture references. She may not be able to help herself. Speaking of laziness, the magic in this book feels particularly lackluster, even in comparison to the sorry excuse for magic in Again, But Better and, even before the magic begins, the girls are already planning to do a regular non-magical Parent Trap because they look so similar, so when the magic is introduced, it doesn't do much for the story. The girls also don't seem to learn much while in one another's shoes, making the justification for the magic feel entirely non-existent. There's also some weird business with glitter and sneezing that feels like a little too much in a post-COVID era, honestly. All in all, this was an extremely painful experience. I honestly have no idea how this book made it to this stage in the state it's in. It's extremely poorly written, pointless, and is filled to the brim with cringe, flat characters, and poor excuses for standup comedy routines. I really was willing to give Christine a chance to improve as a writer from her altogether lame debut, but unfortunately this only somehow proved to be worse.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Allie (alliewithbooks)

    Thank you to the publisher for providing me with this ARC on NetGalley. This makes me SO SAD to write a review for this book. I had the highest hopes, and unfortunately I was completely let down. As most of you who know me know, I really loved Again, But Better. It was a 4-star read and I genuinely enjoyed it. It was fun, fluffy, magical, and self-insterty in a way that was charming and exciting. But this...this was a train wreck. Starting off with the characters, every single one of them was unlik Thank you to the publisher for providing me with this ARC on NetGalley. This makes me SO SAD to write a review for this book. I had the highest hopes, and unfortunately I was completely let down. As most of you who know me know, I really loved Again, But Better. It was a 4-star read and I genuinely enjoyed it. It was fun, fluffy, magical, and self-insterty in a way that was charming and exciting. But this...this was a train wreck. Starting off with the characters, every single one of them was unlikeable. I feel like there’s a difference between fun and entertaining unlikeable, and then just straight up unlikeable. Jaime tried too hard to be cool and outgoing and her overall demeanor was unsettling. I did like her stand-up, but when she was just normal Jaime that humor didn’t translate as well. Then there’s Siri whom I hated a little bit more than Jaime. Siri was insufferable in the way she refused to curse. Refusing to curse isn’t a bad thing, but no real person says “excrement” instead of “shit”. They would say “shoot”. No real person says “gluteus maximus trench” instead of “asshole”. It was just not at all realistic. And the way every single person found it cute was so confusing. Then the plot just felt so loose and the resolutions were unearned. It was hard to suspend my disbelief about how these parents were fine with just splitting the kids up, and then 14 years later everything is fine and it gets resolved in a couple of paragraphs. I feel like it was easier to believe the Parent Trap and Freaky Friday plots in the movies, but it just wasn’t able to work in this narrative. Also the magic in this book compared to Again, But Better just didn’t work for me at all. It felt completely unnecessary to the plot, and I don’t want to spoil anything, but it’s pretty useless because the magic doesn’t even convince everyone that Siri and Jaime have swapped identities. It conveniently doesn’t affect their love interests. Which, fine, but it just felt lazy to me. Overall, I really didn’t like this book and I feel entirely let down. I was really looking forward to this book and it was one of my most anticipated books of the year. The cover is gorgeous, but it doesn’t make up for the lacklustre content.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jaye Berry

    This intercoursing excrement was AWFUL. Better Together is about two sisters named Jamie and Siri who were torn apart at a young age by their parents divorce. They've grown up completely different lives in LA and New Jersey, with each parent. When both girls sign up for a retreat in Colorado and they run into each other again, everything changes. Soon they come up with a crazy idea to switch places to confront their estranged parent. So I really didn't like this booktuber turned author's last book This intercoursing excrement was AWFUL. Better Together is about two sisters named Jamie and Siri who were torn apart at a young age by their parents divorce. They've grown up completely different lives in LA and New Jersey, with each parent. When both girls sign up for a retreat in Colorado and they run into each other again, everything changes. Soon they come up with a crazy idea to switch places to confront their estranged parent. So I really didn't like this booktuber turned author's last book but I had fun reading with friends. This book on the other hand was so painful to read and it wasn't fun at all. I don't know why my clown ass thought her second book could be better but here we are. Her writing, her characters, her everything just got WORSE. So this book is a Parent Trip ripoff, which is wild but okay. But instead of making the girls twins, they are two years apart and there is a stupid magic part for no reason??? While Jamie knows about Siri, Siri (view spoiler)[believes that her sister was made up by her??? Her mother and grandfather just brainwashed her, making Jamie disappear completely so when Siri meets Jamie again she ATTACKS her and gives her a concussion and I just?? Excuse me what the fuck (hide spoiler)] . The believability in this entire book really said not today satan. I literally will never understand the reason for the magic. So when Jamie and Siri decide to switch places, they change their clothes and hair and yet they go to a cabin where they read a riddle and get pooped on by magic glitter that makes them look like the other. Girl what? Then they get one person they can sneeze on and tell, showing their true self and it's all so dumb because they literally look like twins anyway??? Why we doing all this shit!! There are literally so many Game of Thrones references in here??? Jamie and Siri are literally named after the famous INCEST TWINS and again, for what!!! Fucking weird shit that added nothing to the book besides to creep me tf out. The romance is... bye. While I like that she tried to include a sapphic romance, it was so cringe. Then even worse, the other romance with the creepy dude from camp. Don't ask me his name because I'm not digging through the book to get it but he literally WORKED at the camp as a counselor and staged "meet cutes" where he would bump into girls for a moment. Hello police? That shit is predatory. Jamie is literally the most annoying person ever oh my god her personality is HELL. Siri is no better because of her ridiculous "cussing". She's been raised not to cuss so she says shit like "excrement", "intercoursing", "what the underworld". BITCH WHAT. Jamie can actually cuss but even she says things like "flippity fudge fork jibbit fuck". Then when I thought I was safe, Jamie and other people starting cussing like Siri too and I can't express the rage that rose within me. Everyone is so quirky and extra and reading this book was just so weird. I can't DO THIS ANYMORE. There is too much shit in this book to complain about and I'm so tired of thinking about this book. I give it one star and get this out of my face. It doesn't even matter how bad the book is because when you are the booktube number one star you can write while on crack and get away with it. Literally she is already working on her third book which just sounds like a threat at this point.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Monte Price

    reading vlog here For those that don't want to sit through a video of me live reacting, or don't want to be spoiled I'll try to summarize my thoughts here. Overall I don't think that the actions of either parent were really addressed even though both siblings took a lot of time to talk about how what their parents did was just awful. I felt that the magical mystical element, while executed slightly better, muddled up the book and added an unnecessary complication to the overall story and in the e reading vlog here For those that don't want to sit through a video of me live reacting, or don't want to be spoiled I'll try to summarize my thoughts here. Overall I don't think that the actions of either parent were really addressed even though both siblings took a lot of time to talk about how what their parents did was just awful. I felt that the magical mystical element, while executed slightly better, muddled up the book and added an unnecessary complication to the overall story and in the end felt more like a hinderance than anything that benefited the actual story. I found myself wishing that Jamie's arc could be more like Siri's, because I didn't really see her being funny at all... in any of the scenes of her doing standup. While it was clear she found a way to be more confident on stage that wasn't really enough for me. Neither of the romance arcs was that great in my opinion, but I did find myself enjoying Siri's journey more. If only because I was never quite sure how old Jamie's love interest actually was? And he just radiated creeper vibes. But I guess Jamie was into that. I will say that neither love interest is white, but I'm going to leave it to those communities to discuss how well they thought the representation was handled here because I'm not Filipino or Indian. In the end, this was a step up over how much I enjoyed the first book. If it hadn't been for that magical mystical fuckery I might have enjoyed this one a lot more because you can see the growth as an author here. This just didn't quite click in the way that I would have liked. If you were one of the people that enjoyed Again, But Better, I think that the odds are that you'll enjoy this one too. For fans of that there is a small cameo of those characters here that was cute enough.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

    A cute albeit long read about family and finding yourself Jamie and Siri wind up at the same Re-Discover Yourself Retreat at Colorado because their lives are both slowly crumbling. Jamie is an aspiring comic in LA, but she can't seem to make it through her set without throwing up. She's been kicked out of her apartment and is back at home, stuck living under her famous father's oppressive thumb. As for Siri, ballet is her entire life. But when she suffers a career-ending injury, everything she's A cute albeit long read about family and finding yourself Jamie and Siri wind up at the same Re-Discover Yourself Retreat at Colorado because their lives are both slowly crumbling. Jamie is an aspiring comic in LA, but she can't seem to make it through her set without throwing up. She's been kicked out of her apartment and is back at home, stuck living under her famous father's oppressive thumb. As for Siri, ballet is her entire life. But when she suffers a career-ending injury, everything she's planned for falls apart. Jamie and Siri also happen to be sisters. They've grown up entirely apart: Jamie lives with their dad in LA and Siri with their mom in New Jersey. When they reunite at the retreat, they decide to switch places and seek revenge on their estranged parents. With the help of a little magic (yes, actual magic), Jamie shows up in New Jersey, looking just like Siri and Siri arrives in LA, looking like Jamie. Before they know it, Siri's hanging out with (and falling for) Jamie's best friend Dawn. And independent Jamie might be making an actual attachment with Zarar, their instructor from camp. But can Jamie and Siri set out to do what they planned--right their childhood wrongs? "The day everything fell apart three months ago, I tripped into this anger ditch, and I can't seem to find my way out." -Siri I stumbled across this book because it was billed as The Parent Trap meets Freaky Friday and well, sign me up. To me, there's not a ton of The Parent Trap here, as the goal isn't to reunite Siri and Jamie's parents, but rather seek some sort of vengeance on them, as they basically split the kids up when they were six and four and then each parent abandoned one of the siblings. Jamie and Siri never saw each other again, and Siri's mom told her Jamie was imaginary. So, um, yeah she has some baggage. The parents come across as pretty hideous here, to tell you the truth! (Reexamining The Parent Trap as an adult and parent is quite eye-opening!) Also, reading some of the other reviews for this book, apparently there is some sort of rating controversy and issue with the author? I had no clue about any of this. I have no idea who Christine Riccio is. I am one of those people who dislikes videos of all kinds. News article is only a video? Won't watch. I don't even really like Instagram reels let alone Youtube. I don't even love that my car has a backup camera. So whatever drama surrounds this book totally escapes me. If you don't like a book about magic, I guess don't read a book about magic? I thought this was pretty cute. Anyway, just a disclaimer, I guess, that my review has nothing to do with any of whatever that drama is. You need to go into BETTER TOGETHER prepared to suspend a little disbelief if you want to fully enjoy it. There is magic involved--a happy haunted trail at the retreat that leads to the sisters looking like each other. Jamie and Siri already look really similar, so it didn't seem like maybe they needed that? (You don't in the The Parent Trap, this purist says!) Then there is their terrible parents. It's sort of hard to believe people that awful exist. But if you accept the magic and the awful parents, this is a cute book. Is it weird? Sure. But it was definitely better than I expected after reading all the hater reviews. I liked Jamie and Siri. They were flawed (pretty expected after those parents) but funny. There's some great bisexual representation and while the book is about family, forgiveness, and reuniting, there's some sweet side romantic plots, too. Siri and Dawn were pretty adorable. And Zarar, their canoe instructor who winds up in New York, is just a cutie. Siri and Dawn each have a grandparent living near/with them who offers some great comedic relief, as well. The story is told from Jamie and Siri's perspectives and sometimes it takes a moment to remember which sister is speaking, though the chapters are labeled. As the book progresses, you get more used to which sister is which. Siri has a very annoying quirk where she says things like "intercoursing" instead of the f-word, which grew old quickly. The book was long--there definitely could have been some cutting down. Still, this was a cute read and I enjoyed Siri and Jamie's story and watching each of them come into their own. I have Riccio's first book on my shelf, and I'll definitely pick it up at some point. 3.5 stars. I received a copy of this book from Wednesday Books and Netgalley, along with Goodreads, in return for an unbiased review. Look for BETTER TOGETHER on 06/01/2021! Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ PaperBackSwap ~ Smashbomb

  10. 5 out of 5

    ✫erin✫

    let's say it together folks.....this was NOT IT. so, just as many other reviewers that have received an arc, I also read her book, Again but Better. That was a trainwreck and so was this. I honestly don't even want to go into detail with why I didn't like it because this book has sucked all my energy out of my soul. Usually, even if I've read a book and not enjoyed it like HATED it, I can see that in some way, some person may find joy from the book. This book is not like that. Seriously, don't r let's say it together folks.....this was NOT IT. so, just as many other reviewers that have received an arc, I also read her book, Again but Better. That was a trainwreck and so was this. I honestly don't even want to go into detail with why I didn't like it because this book has sucked all my energy out of my soul. Usually, even if I've read a book and not enjoyed it like HATED it, I can see that in some way, some person may find joy from the book. This book is not like that. Seriously, don't read it......

  11. 5 out of 5

    M. Reads Books and Fics

    I fell in love with the cover and was curious after finding out the author was on YouTube. I have not read her first book nor do I know her videos. This book...is not good. That is my nice way to say it because I know some people do like this book. The idea was cool. but the delivery was so... bad. I am not sure what the author was trying to do with this book, but it did not work out. All I can say is that it sounded like one long book with everyone trying to be unique. It just sounded forced an I fell in love with the cover and was curious after finding out the author was on YouTube. I have not read her first book nor do I know her videos. This book...is not good. That is my nice way to say it because I know some people do like this book. The idea was cool. but the delivery was so... bad. I am not sure what the author was trying to do with this book, but it did not work out. All I can say is that it sounded like one long book with everyone trying to be unique. It just sounded forced and stupid as hell to me. I mean, Underworld since the character has to use that word to stand out. Whatever. This book just seemed like some words slapped on the page and given the go because the author is famous. There was no depth or breadth to the story AT ALL. This book needs an editor and the author needs to work on her ideas. I am sure she could be a better writer with time. She just should not get a book published just because she is famous. I hope someday she writes a better book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    I loved the 1998 version of The Parent Trap movie, so HAD to read BETTER TOGETHER — a New Millennial update of sorts. Dancer Siri and wannabe stand-up comic Jamie are sisters separated when young due to their parents’ acrimonious divorce. They meet at a Colorado retreat and decide to switch places, homes and parents. This story, like the Parent Trap movies, seems improbable. Yet I suspended judgment and read on, really digging the new book and loving the covers, with one sister on front, the oth I loved the 1998 version of The Parent Trap movie, so HAD to read BETTER TOGETHER — a New Millennial update of sorts. Dancer Siri and wannabe stand-up comic Jamie are sisters separated when young due to their parents’ acrimonious divorce. They meet at a Colorado retreat and decide to switch places, homes and parents. This story, like the Parent Trap movies, seems improbable. Yet I suspended judgment and read on, really digging the new book and loving the covers, with one sister on front, the other on back. Great fun for P.T. fans and teen/ya readers! 4 of 5 Stars Pub Date 01 Jun 2021 #BetterTogether #NetGalley Thanks to the author, St. Martin's Press, and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine.

  13. 5 out of 5

    farith

    even though i suffered through "again, but better," i'm willing to see what christine has to offer in her sophomore novel. even though i suffered through "again, but better," i'm willing to see what christine has to offer in her sophomore novel.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bethsade Elfman

    May 25th, 2020 I may be jinxing myself here, but god I hope it's better than Again, But Better. I think that the little snippet suggests that this novel might stray from Riccio's own life (thank GOD). Sept. 26th, 2020 Uhh I mean. The cover's really pretty, but that synp? It sounds exactly like the plot to the Parent Trap. Yeah okay 'inspired'. It's really disappointing to see that Christine might not have any original story ideas. Part of being a good writer is having good, fresh ideas. Obviously, May 25th, 2020 I may be jinxing myself here, but god I hope it's better than Again, But Better. I think that the little snippet suggests that this novel might stray from Riccio's own life (thank GOD). Sept. 26th, 2020 Uhh I mean. The cover's really pretty, but that synp? It sounds exactly like the plot to the Parent Trap. Yeah okay 'inspired'. It's really disappointing to see that Christine might not have any original story ideas. Part of being a good writer is having good, fresh ideas. Obviously, I'm still gonna give it a fair crack before I make my final review, but those are my thoughts so far.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Brinley

    This book was super cute! The Parent Trap is a favorite of mine, and you could definitely tell that this was very heavily inspired by it. With that being said though, there was enough variation in the actual story that it didn't bug me, and I really enjoyed the plot! I want to start this off by saying that I have no idea who Christine Riccio is. I've never watched Booktube, so I have no opinion on the drama that seems to surround booktubers becoming published authors. I would like to say, that p This book was super cute! The Parent Trap is a favorite of mine, and you could definitely tell that this was very heavily inspired by it. With that being said though, there was enough variation in the actual story that it didn't bug me, and I really enjoyed the plot! I want to start this off by saying that I have no idea who Christine Riccio is. I've never watched Booktube, so I have no opinion on the drama that seems to surround booktubers becoming published authors. I would like to say, that people should not be rating a book before its publication based on its author. The amount of hate this seems to be getting is ridiculous, and has nothing to do with the book. Im all for honest reviews, but a book should never have a 3.5 before anyone has even read it. Now that my mini rant is over, im free to discuss the actual content of this book! It was very much a YA contemporary, but there's nothing wrong with that. I do feel like it ran a bit on the long side, but I enjoyed the entire thing, so I'm not complaining. I really enjoyed both of our characters, although I definitely preferred Jamie. At times I struggled to remember whos perspective i was in, but it was usually pretty easy to tell. Both of their journeys felt authentic, and I really enjoyed watching them both heal. Towards the second half of the book, our two romances begin taking up a bit more page time. I never really connected to Dawn and Siri, but they were cute together. Zarar and Jamie on the other hand, had me shipping them so hard! Their interactions were adorable, and I loved Zarar as a character. This has a very similar feel to Again But Better, but I enjoyed this one a bit more. The magic in it felt more necessary, and added quite a bit to the plot. If you're looking for a quick, fluffy read, this is for you! Thanks to Christine Riccio and Netgalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ryley

    I’m sorry, this book was just bad. The plot was unoriginal and used magic as a cop-out (again) - and yes, you can write an original retelling/reimagination of a story. You just need to try. The characters were undistinguishable from one another at best, and flat out unlikeable at....all the time. Absolutely no use of voice to help the reader tell any of the speakers apart. I had to go back to the beginning of chapters multiple times to figure out whose POV it was. (No, Christine, you can’t just I’m sorry, this book was just bad. The plot was unoriginal and used magic as a cop-out (again) - and yes, you can write an original retelling/reimagination of a story. You just need to try. The characters were undistinguishable from one another at best, and flat out unlikeable at....all the time. Absolutely no use of voice to help the reader tell any of the speakers apart. I had to go back to the beginning of chapters multiple times to figure out whose POV it was. (No, Christine, you can’t just give one character some stupid verbal quirk and call it voice). Ultimately I didn’t care about any of the characters or their stories, and any growth they did go through was so surface level and inconsequential that it was almost laughable. I’m disappointed that the author keeps getting published at this level. I’m sure with time and lots of practice, her work could be just fine - but she’s not there yet. It seems to me that she’s only published because of her following and until she’s ready, this just ain’t it. 🤷🏻‍♀️

  17. 4 out of 5

    queen of narnia

    Christine's book titles are great lol XD -- As of 8/11/20 (TITLE CHANGE!!), I much prefer this title. It's simple but sweet. I really really like it, especially for a YA contemporary Christine's book titles are great lol XD -- As of 8/11/20 (TITLE CHANGE!!), I much prefer this title. It's simple but sweet. I really really like it, especially for a YA contemporary

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mindy

    **Disclaimer: I received a free electronic ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.** I will be straightforward with this. I am a subscriber of Christine on YouTube and I did read her debut novel, which I will admit I did not enjoy. Of course, that was her first book so I assume her writing will improve in her next work. Just like "Again, But Better" I will not be biased when writing this review. Unfortunately, I also did not enjoy "Better Together" either. I will like to say the char **Disclaimer: I received a free electronic ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.** I will be straightforward with this. I am a subscriber of Christine on YouTube and I did read her debut novel, which I will admit I did not enjoy. Of course, that was her first book so I assume her writing will improve in her next work. Just like "Again, But Better" I will not be biased when writing this review. Unfortunately, I also did not enjoy "Better Together" either. I will like to say the characters did not stand out at all to me. Both Siri and Jamie's perspectives were boring to me, just like the rest of the story. Usually, when there are multiple perspectives it's pretty common for me to prefer one over the other, but not in this case. I'm not going to lie, but I really struggled to finish this book. First off, Jamie's career is to be a stand-up comedienne, but I failed to find any of her jokes or humor funny. Her personality also seemed too...extra. Nothing's wrong with having a loud character, but I don't think she was written well. Now Siri (yeah, it was a poor choice of a name), she complained a bit too much. She was the younger of the sisters, but she was eighteen but acted like a fifteen-year-old. Also, her replacing F-bombs with the word "intercourse" or her replacing s**t with "excrement" got annoying real quick...like real quick. Overall, if you're a subscriber to Christine and you know her personality, you can sense that Jamie and Siri are like two different parts of Christine. Like, some of the similarities are blatantly obvious to me. I guess in a way it is a bit like the self-insertion problem that she has with her first book. Now, for the romance. Zarar was Jamie's love interest, while Dawn was Siri's. While Zarar was a nice guy, he liked Jamie way too fast. Because of this, the romance between him and Jamie seemed very disingenuine. Siri and Dawn had a slightly better romance in my opinion. I also appreciated the LGBT representation that they brought to the story. Just like in Christine's first book, there was also magic in this book as well. Was the magic in this one done well? No, not really. It just conveniently occurred in the beginning right before Siri and Jamie were planning on switching places that made their appearance swap. And also again they just happened to conveniently sneeze glitter bombs onto their love interests, which allowed them to see the true sister. It was all just too convenient, but at the same time, made no sense at all. Even when it's revealed why it happened, you're still left wondering...why? Something from Christine's first book that really annoyed me was her constant cultural references. I get in her first book they were used to establish the different time periods (even though it wasn't done well), she still went a bit overboard in this one as well. Don't get me wrong, she dialed back a bit compared to "Again, But Better", but there were still quite a lot. Speaking of her first book, Shane and Pilot make a cameo in this book. That's it. Just a cameo. Overall, I didn't enjoy my experience with this book, but it doesn't mean I'm giving up on Christine as a writer. I'll most likely give her more chances in the future for her other works, but I do hope her writing improves and her ideas are more original. Overall rating: 1/5

  19. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    First Thoughts I unexpectedly loved this so much 😭 Review I picked up Better Together when I was having a stressful week and I needed something light hearted and fun to take my mind off of everything. This book was definitely the perfect fit for when I was having a tough week. I think if you go into the book knowing that it is going to be quirky and a bit cheesy and just go with it, you'll have a great time. It is pretty much a spin on The Parent Trap mixed with Freaky Friday and I felt lik First Thoughts I unexpectedly loved this so much 😭 Review I picked up Better Together when I was having a stressful week and I needed something light hearted and fun to take my mind off of everything. This book was definitely the perfect fit for when I was having a tough week. I think if you go into the book knowing that it is going to be quirky and a bit cheesy and just go with it, you'll have a great time. It is pretty much a spin on The Parent Trap mixed with Freaky Friday and I felt like I got that exact cheesy vibe in these books that I got from those movies. Yea, the situation calls for suspending your belief for a bit - but if you're able to go with it you have a great time. I love watching the sisterly relationship blossom between Jamie and Siri in this book. The romances were also cute, but for me the main thing that I really liked was the family relationships. If you think about the premise of The Parent Trap, hiding the fact that you have a sister from someone is definitely really messed up, and I enjoyed that this book explored the emotional ramifications of something like that happening. Overall, this was a really cute and quirky novel about family and finding yourself!

  20. 4 out of 5

    janel

    what the actual excrement? Okay, so... where to start, honestly. I read this author's first book and hadn't been expecting much (I'm trying not to sound rude, but she has years of content and literary 'critique' online and I just.. didn't expect to love what she wrote), but I always try to give things a fair shot. I didn't like her first book at all, but my friends and I had a good time reading it for entertainment. That wasn't the case here. In order for the premise to work, there's a suspension what the actual excrement? Okay, so... where to start, honestly. I read this author's first book and hadn't been expecting much (I'm trying not to sound rude, but she has years of content and literary 'critique' online and I just.. didn't expect to love what she wrote), but I always try to give things a fair shot. I didn't like her first book at all, but my friends and I had a good time reading it for entertainment. That wasn't the case here. In order for the premise to work, there's a suspension of disbelief we have to hold in regards to the character's mother that borders on temporary psychosis. Spoilers follow. This is a 'Parent Trap' story with a twist - one sister, Jamie, knows the other half of her family exists across the country and the younger sister, Siri, has been told and berated for years that she made her older sister up and it was all in her head. Yup. Her mother, her grandparent, they just... tell her she imagined it, tore down photos and moved house, and we're supposed to somehow... accept this?? Because it was hard for her mother to be left by a child?? Not to mention this child tries to follow in her mother's footsteps, seems to idolize her in moments, and the mother does nothing to dissuade this until an injury prevents further shadowing. I just... there are ways to make this plot work without resorting to absolute insanity - there was already an age gap so just keeping Siri young enough that she would forget and the mother just lets her? Much less psychotic than brainwashing your daughter into thinking she's off her rocker. The writing in this is not improved from her debut, and falls into the same issues - quirky for the sake of it, poor prose that drifts into melodrama more often than it should, and characters that feel like overdone improv personas from summer camp. I hate being harsh, but this is how I feel (as I say 374293749 times, GR isn't for authors to read reviews, it's for readers, so I'm being honest). I read this in the span of one day and the number of times I rolled my eyes because the characters had something else quirky to say was indecent (one of the sisters likes metal music and I thought I was going to spit up water at how absolutely corny and "i googled metal music and chose the songs that came up" the instances come off). For a story inspired by The Parent Trap, the things changed are too weird and the things kept the same are too derivative (isolation cabin for one felt so weird for grown adults). I want to give the author props for trying to add a wlw romance, but both of the romances just.. skeeved me out? The dynamics in place were just weird, and Jamie's romance starts off on such a weird and quirky foot that I just never got over it. Also I don't know why this is the author's second book and both have just randomly added magic to make the plot work the way they want, but it works less here than it did in ABB and that's saying something. Iunno, overall I just had no fun and I regret giving this author a second chance - the writing just isn't there for me. 1/5 excrements

  21. 5 out of 5

    Trio

    “Freaky Friday meets The Parent Trap” Yep, that grabbed my attention. When the chance came up to review the audio version of Better Together, and I read that tagline, I knew I was going to grab this one. I’ve never heard of Christine Riccio (but damn she’s pretty, and if you haven’t seen her pic on her author page, do yourself a favor and click asap!). The narrators, Brittany Pressley and Karissa Vacker are new to me as well. I'm seriously impressed, and I'm going to be looking for more from t “Freaky Friday meets The Parent Trap” Yep, that grabbed my attention. When the chance came up to review the audio version of Better Together, and I read that tagline, I knew I was going to grab this one. I’ve never heard of Christine Riccio (but damn she’s pretty, and if you haven’t seen her pic on her author page, do yourself a favor and click asap!). The narrators, Brittany Pressley and Karissa Vacker are new to me as well. I'm seriously impressed, and I'm going to be looking for more from these talented folks in the future. They poured their hearts into this one, and it shows. I've got to say, we audiobook fans know that dual narration is super hard to do well, and I am blown away by the skill of whoever put this all together. The variety of voices, characters, accents, ages - literally everything, and it flows perfectly. Brittany Pressley and Karissa Vacker deliver a seamless performance, and it’s a treat and a pleasure to listen to this amazing story. On to a quick review of Christine Riccio’s novel. Better Together is fast moving, clever, and funny, though not in a constant laugh-out-loud way. This one's more soft chuckles and occasional belly laughs, and I smiled almost the whole way through. There are poignant and serious moments as well, as these characters are dealing with some intense emotional issues. Without giving too much away, I will say when the young ladies confront their parents, and the choices they made, it is beautifully done. “You chose your dream over your daughter,” brought tears to my eyes. Beautifully written, spectacularly performed, and a ton of fun, Better Together is an audiobook not to be missed! thank you to Macmillan Audio, through NetGalley, for this audio copy of Better Together, all opinions are my own

  22. 4 out of 5

    Aly

    3.5 stars This is a mash-up of The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday and that was all I needed to know to peak my interest. Estranged sisters are reunited at a retreat and decide to switch places to confront their parents. There's a bit of magic involved and suddenly they look like each other and are ready to pull off their plan. I liked the plot and that it addressed how awful it was of their parents to each take a child and never speak of it again. I also thought the character development was well 3.5 stars This is a mash-up of The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday and that was all I needed to know to peak my interest. Estranged sisters are reunited at a retreat and decide to switch places to confront their parents. There's a bit of magic involved and suddenly they look like each other and are ready to pull off their plan. I liked the plot and that it addressed how awful it was of their parents to each take a child and never speak of it again. I also thought the character development was well done. At the beginning, I didn't really care for either girl. Siri was rude and in a really bad mental space which she didn't do much to change. Jamie was obnoxious and treated everything like a joke, even when it was uncalled for. The girls grew on me and as they figured out their issues and matured, I enjoyed them more. I thought the pacing was a bit off and it dragged in the middle. Even though the girls were switched for five days, it felt longer. I would have liked a bit less filler to keep the plot moving. This is a cute book with a sweet ending. Perfect for the beginning of summer! I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. Thank you to Macmillan Audio and NetGalley for the copy.

  23. 4 out of 5

    emi

    June 1st, 2021 Update: This book comes out today and I'm sooo excited to read it to see if it actually deserves its less than 3 star rating. Should this book exist? No. Am I still gonna buy it and read it? Yes. I'm actually excited to read it and see if it deserves it's 2.79 average rating. Like bring it on. I'm gonna be binging it on release day. June 1st, 2021 Update: This book comes out today and I'm sooo excited to read it to see if it actually deserves its less than 3 star rating. Should this book exist? No. Am I still gonna buy it and read it? Yes. I'm actually excited to read it and see if it deserves it's 2.79 average rating. Like bring it on. I'm gonna be binging it on release day.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mia

    I was intrigued by the premise and cover and this was my first read by Christine Riccio unfortunately it didn't work for me. Writing has some painful dialogue and overall feeling I get from this book was like I was reading fanfic. ARC kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was intrigued by the premise and cover and this was my first read by Christine Riccio unfortunately it didn't work for me. Writing has some painful dialogue and overall feeling I get from this book was like I was reading fanfic. ARC kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Leigh

    ** I was given a free ARC of this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review** SPOILERS! SPOILERS! LOOK AWAY! SPOILERS! I don't rate a lot of books one star reads. Typically if I can get through the thing, I leave it two stars just because. I've never DNF'd a book, and this one almost broke me. I read Christine's first book, enjoyed it, and I believe it garnered four stars from me. I see a lot of people saying that while this book wasn't good, it showed skill improvement from he ** I was given a free ARC of this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review** SPOILERS! SPOILERS! LOOK AWAY! SPOILERS! I don't rate a lot of books one star reads. Typically if I can get through the thing, I leave it two stars just because. I've never DNF'd a book, and this one almost broke me. I read Christine's first book, enjoyed it, and I believe it garnered four stars from me. I see a lot of people saying that while this book wasn't good, it showed skill improvement from her first novel, and that doesn't ring true for me. I can't put my finger on what it is that the author does to the English language here that makes the book virtually unreadable. There's nothing here to propel you into the story, to erase the words, and make you feel like you're watching a movie. Not once did I forget I was reading. Every page was exhausting. It feels like the author really couldn't shake her debut's reviews from her head while she was writing this, as things seem pointedly against every problem people had with her first novel. For starters we have LGBTQ rep, a very small dash of diversity, no noticeable self-inserts, and the relationships while shoe-horned in did not spawn from scandal or cheating so there's that. The characters even point out their own entitlement and privilege, laugh at that part of themselves, and then proceed to be entitled and make use of their privilege. So that got a little chuckle out of me. If you thought Shane's parents were horrible, buckle up. Christine is two for two now with the horrible parent rep and I'm honestly concerned for her. I don't really know what to say here. This book would not have been published without her following. Any other new or seasoned writer would have been turned away with this. I can't imagine who would like it. I can't imagine who this is for, other than the author herself. Nothing about this book wants to work, but they keep trying anyway. This experience has been enough that I won't reach for any more of her novels, free or otherwise. It just isn't worth it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kayla Plutzer

    I’m pretty sure Christine hinted to this boon at the end of AGAIN BUT BETTER when Shane was drafting a story about sisters in college

  27. 4 out of 5

    Shay ☆

    HAPPY RELEASE DAY! cannot wait to finally get my hands on this one! 〖 Follow me on Instagram (@shashaybooks)! 〗 HAPPY RELEASE DAY! cannot wait to finally get my hands on this one! 〖 Follow me on Instagram (@shashaybooks)! 〗

  28. 5 out of 5

    yashfa

    reading this book was like my own personal brand of hell

  29. 5 out of 5

    andi

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. i've read "again, but better" and while that one wasn't great, this one is just plain awful. it was painful to read and i cringed so many times. siri and jamie (who are named after jamie and cersei lannister - a really poor choice imo, because who would name their kids after THAT pair of siblings) are both very flat, annoying characters. jaime especially is so bitter over everything, which just gets tiring after a while. siri's choice to not swear and instead using phrases like "excrement", "what i've read "again, but better" and while that one wasn't great, this one is just plain awful. it was painful to read and i cringed so many times. siri and jamie (who are named after jamie and cersei lannister - a really poor choice imo, because who would name their kids after THAT pair of siblings) are both very flat, annoying characters. jaime especially is so bitter over everything, which just gets tiring after a while. siri's choice to not swear and instead using phrases like "excrement", "what the underworld", "intercourse this" and "are you intercoursing me" made me want to snap my own neck. and then there's jamie, who uses very unusual swear words (like "mother fucker balls basket"). they're both trying so hard to be quirky and it lands flat. it doesn't even land, to be honest. it's so cringy how hard this book tries. this book would have worked just fine with only one POV, because the two characters had the same voice. the only difference was the swearing/not swearing thing. that's it. she went for a retelling of "parent trap", made one of the sisters older and then chose glitter magic to fix the fact that they're not identical. as one does when they need to fix a plot. i would have been alright with that had the magic been executed right, but it's literally just glitter? they touched their skin and glitter comes off??? jamie SNEEZED in the love interest's face and suddenly he can see her and not siri??? how did anyone think that was a good idea. one of the love interests literally walked around bumping into girls because he was trying to create a meet-cute to tell his grandkids about. that's not creepy at all. not AT ALL. not one red flag was raised. he also instantly falls in love with jamie, which made this whole romance feel less genuine. i expected a lot more considering this is a second novel, but it was disappointing. thank you to netgalley for providing me an arc in exchange for an honest review!

  30. 4 out of 5

    dumplin’

    this book felt like i was reading a very, very, VERY poorly written IT fan fiction, and it wasn’t even a richie/eddie one

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