Ahh, OTPs. If you’ve ever read a book (which I’m assuming that’s why you’re here, unless you’re really, REALLY procrastinating and have fallen deep into your laptop and don’t know how you got to my blog – which, in that case, GO AND DO THE THING YOU’RE PUTTING OFF) then it pretty much goes without saying that you’ve shipped characters, had an OTP, or have maybe even shipped YOURSELF with a few of them.
But before we continue, there are just two terms I’d like to clarify:
- OTP: In short, “OTP” stands for “One True Pairing.” It’s used in fandoms to describe any given participant’s favorite couple — or couples, because, perhaps contrary to the term’s very definition, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one OTP (and no, they don’t have to be canonical).
- Shipping: Shipping, initially derived from the word relationship, is the desire by fans for two or more people, either real-life people or fictional characters (in film, literature, television etc.) to be in a relationship, romantic or otherwise.
Whether you look back on some of your prior OTPs and cringe, to whether they’re old favourites and you have an emotional attachment, or even if you’re extremely emotionally-invested in shipping characters from a book you’re reading at the moment, most of us will have experienced a similar thing. For those that haven’t, BE WARNED: shipping may result in elevated heart rate, a desire to reread the book / series while your TBR threatens to collapse on top of you, and forgetting that the outside world is a thing that exists.
But it’s for the best. You go ship those characters! Go write that fan fiction! Go obsess over fan art for days on end and forget to pay your rent and forget to eat and sleep and worry your aunt when she comes over to check if you’re still alive because no one’s seen you in twelve days!
I’m definitely not speaking from experience. I wouldn’t do that. I’m a responsible adult.
Yes, I have -$17 in my bank account because I’ve bought too many books this week but THAT’S BESIDE THE POINT.
Some of my favourite bookish OTPs include…
Nick and Charlie — Heartstopper
Monty and Percy — The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Rhy and Alucard — A Darker Shade of Magic
Harry and His Scar — Harry Potter
Jace and Himself — The Mortal Instruments
Edward Cullen and Sparkles — Twilight
Kell and His Coat — A Darker Shade of Magic
Tessa and Indecision — The Infernal Devices
Augustus and Rollercoasters That Only Go Up, My Friend — The Fault in Our Stars
Tris and Death — Divergent
Okay, I’ll be serious now.
The book that inspired me to think about my top bookish OTPs was The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord. While I liked When We Collided when I read it, my love for Emery Lord’s stories was cemented when I read The Names They Gave Us – a powerful and heart-wrenching story about grief, religion, and love. The characters in that novel were three-dimensional and genuine, the situation was heart-breaking but still ended on an uplifting note, and the discussions the story prompted about religion and belief made it one of my favourite books of 2017. I won’t be forgetting that story anytime soon.
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?
So it didn’t come as much of a surprise that I loved The Start of Me and You just as much. I didn’t know much about this one before going into it, but I was surprised by how it touched me in the way that it did. The Start of Me and You is a book about grief, but rather than talking about what it’s like immediately after suffering from the death of a loved one, it talks about it as something that has a lingering effect. The story takes place about a year after the protagonist’s boyfriend unexpectedly died, and it poignantly depicts that post traumatic stress and the feeling of isolation and sadness that loss can have on a person. It was raw and heart-wrenching, but it wasn’t a sad novel as such.
Paige’s relationships with her family and her friends was what made this novel such a spectacular read to me, and again, I felt that Emery Lord nailed this part of her writing. The relationships she writes about always feel so real and genuine, and it was great to see her family take such a large role in the narrative. Her mother is overprotective, she has to deal with what her parent’s divorce means, and her grandmother is also suffering from Alzheimer’s. But my favourite character from her family was undeniably her grandmother, and I loved the way Paige was shaped and moulded by her grandmother’s past experiences. I’d love to read more books where characters have such a close bond with their grandparents.
But of course, one of the best aspects of this novel was the romance. I absolutely adore the friends-to-lovers trope, and it melted my heart to find that the romance in The Start of Me and You was delightfully slow-burning and one that was undeniably swoon-worthy. I loved seeing Paige and her potential boyfriends – yes, plural, there’s a little bit of a love triangle but I assure you it’s really well done – become friends and see how their personalities moulded together, and I couldn’t have been happier with how things ended. The romance was just so sweet, so cute, and it made me feel all warm and gooey inside. I just want to read this book again and again.
Ultimately, The Start of Me and You is a sweet, moving book about a girl who’s trying not to be tethered to the death of her boyfriend and prove that this tragedy isn’t her entire identity. The friendship elements and family relationships were exceptionally well-written, and the romance was absolutely, 100% adorable. I just want to hug those two adorable munchkins. If you’re a fan of YA contemporary and would like to read something that’s authentic, nerdy at times, and leaves you smiling, then you should definitely pick up this sweet read.
Have you read The Start of Me and You, or any other books by Emery Lord? Who are you favourite bookish OTPs? Do you have a favourite couple? What’s your ultimate sweet, swoon-worthy YA contemporary? I’d love to know!
Thanks to Bloomsbury Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!