ARCs · Book Reviews

ARC Review: Better Together by Christine Riccio

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.

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.

Released: June 1st, 2021

*I received a copy of this book return for an honest review. Thanks to Wednesday Books for the opportunity!*

I liked Again, but Better, so I was looking forward to Riccio’s next book. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Better Together was a NA, bittersweet, mash-up of The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday. It focuses on two sisters, Jamie and Siri, who were separated in their parent’s nasty divorce and haven’t seen each other in years. When they re-meet at a wellness retreat calamity ensues. I loved the concept of this book, but I thought the overall execution of the plot left a little to be desired. The first half was slow going, and it started out with some pretty unlikable characters- Jamie was obnoxious and Siri was in the midst of a nervous breakdown. The second half definitely picked up, and both Siri and Jamie went through personal transformations, but plot-wise not a lot happened, and it felt like very little of the action actually acted as a catalyst for their changes. By the end, I genuinely enjoyed Siri as a character, and I was rooting for Jamie to be better and work through her issues. I thought both love interests were endearing, and felt the connections between them, but I wish they would have dealt more with their parents. Wasn’t that the whole point of them switching places? My favorite thing about this book was that it really showed the complexities of dealing with deep trauma and how much personal effort it takes to work through it. Though there was a definite sense of resolution, none of the problems magically went away by the end, which I appreciated because it was realistic and 100% human. Overall, there were moments in this book that I really liked, but as a whole it was just kinda meh.

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