After finishing A Summer Like No Other, I quickly had to start Always Second Best. I was not exactly thrilled how A Summer Like No Other ended and based on what I had read Always Second Best would change that.
Sometimes being first isn’t what you expected.
Seventeen-year-old ballerina Emilia Moretti is tired of always being second best. And she’s going to prove the world she deserves to be first. In her upcoming School of the Performing Arts showcase. In the eyes of her birth parents. And in the heart of the guy she loves. She spends hours rehearsing, hours dreaming about becoming number one, hours imagining how her entire life is about to change. But when nothing goes the way she planned, she’ll need to realize what it really means to be first.
Eighteen-year-old Nick Grawski doesn’t want to follow Daddy Dearest’s rules any longer. He’s going to prove he’s meant to be a dancer—not a lawyer—and he is not going to stay away from Em just because his father demands it. He needs to show Em that—this time around—he’s there to stay and that he won’t break her heart again. Even when her world goes down to shit, even when he finds out his dad may have been trying to protect him all along, even if being there for one another is harder than falling in love.
Always Second Best is a novel of hope and heartbreak and broken dreams. It’s a novel about falling in love and discovering that being first isn’t always what matters.
I had really high hopes for Em and Nick during A Summer Like No Other so I was thrilled to see them decide to give it a shot in Always Second Best. Seeing the changes in Nick’s Dad when the book picked up a few months later gave me even more hope for them to end on a good note.
It is funny how characters you hate at the beginning of a story become some of your favorites in the end. By the end of the book, Nick’s dad was one of my favorite characters even though he and Nick still didn’t agree on the ballet aspect of Nick’s life.
Then there is Em. Oh Em the poor girl. As her story about her birth mother unfolds more and more I felt worse and worse for her. Her dad has lied to the entire family for her entire life, her mother is heart broken & she just lost her Nonna who was her favorite person.
Watching Em’s character develop and figure out her dancing life and her personal life was my favorite part of this book. Many had called Em out on not being into dancing anymore and she kept trying to convince herself she still loved it. Yet, it seemed to always be the last thing on her mind and it was time for her to make some decisions.
When her roommate, Nata and her brother wind up in the hospital on separate occasions Em get’s a chance to really look at what is important to her in her life. As she discovered it wasn’t what she thought and I think this aspect alone makes this a great book for older teens and younger adults to read. Elodie Nowodazkij does a great job of talking about the broken dreams that came about in this book.
I was happy to see Em’s story end well and the new relationships she has built with her birth mom while continuing her relationship with her mom. Nothing was more adorable than her relationship with her sister though! The unexpected twist in their story was just amazing.
Once I finished Always Second Best, I was much happier with the two books! I didn’t dislike either book I was just frustrated when A Summer Like No Other ended without either Nick or Em being happy. I would highly recommend reading these books and reading them back to back.
I now need to go back and read Nata’s story. Elodie Nowodazkij has mentioned to her fans on Twitter that Jen’s story is coming up next and I can’t wait!