Tuesday, 17 June 2014

17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
17 First Kisses
Blurb (from Goodreads):
No matter how many boys Claire kisses, she can’t seem to find a decent boyfriend. Someone who wouldn’t rather date her gorgeous best friend, Megan. Someone who won’t freak out when he learns about the tragedy her family still hasn’t recovered from. Someone whose kisses can carry her away from her backwoods town for one fleeting moment.

Until Claire meets Luke.

But Megan is falling for Luke, too, and if there’s one thing Claire knows for sure, it’s that Megan’s pretty much irresistible.

With true love and best friendship on the line, Claire suddenly has everything to lose. And what she learns—about her crush, her friends, and most of all herself—makes the choices even harder.

In her moving debut, Rachael Allen brilliantly captures the complexities of friendship, the struggles of self-discovery, and the difficulties of trying to find love in high school. Fans of Sarah Ockler, Susane Colasanti, and Stephanie Perkins will fall head over heels for this addictive, heartfelt, and often hilarious modern love story.

17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

17 First Kisses(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)
17-year-old Claire has kissed 13 boys, which she thinks is fine, but doesn’t stop the other girls at school calling her a slut.
When new boy Luke starts at school, Claire is instantly attracted to him, but so is her best friend Megan. They make a pact to both go after him, but neither are allowed to make the first move.
Who will win Luke? And is he really worth so much animosity between best friends?

This was an enjoyable story, but it did shock me in places.

Claire was an okay character, but her ideas were just a little different to mine. Right at the start of the book she complains about how living in such a small town, it’s really difficult to find decent boys to kiss, then tells us that she’s kissed 13. If she’s managed to kiss 13 in a small town where there are ‘no decent boys to kiss’, what the heck would she be like in a big city with loads of boys to kiss? I get that she thought that she didn’t deserve to be labelled a ‘slut’ when she was still a virgin, but personally I thought she was probably asking for it. Chances are that having kissed 13 different boys in a small town she had probably kissed way more boys than any of her other classmates!

The storyline in this was quite interesting, and even though we kept jumping back in time to experience all 13 of Claire’s first kisses, I didn’t get confused and the story flowed nicely. I did enjoy this book, but again – there were things that really shocked me.
One thing that shocked me was the fact that ‘the average girl kisses 79 guys before she find the one she’s supposed to marry’. Well I am way below average then at only 6! 79 guys sounds like a heck of a lot to me, yet Claire seemed to think that that was acceptable.
Again, I found her insistence that she wasn’t a slut because she was a virgin argument a little iffy, because although she wasn’t having sex with these boys, she did at one point kiss 4 guys in the space of an hour, so I can see why people would call her that.
I was also shocked at other things – one character’s confession that he had previously slept with 3 girls – he’s only 17 for pity’s sake! Is anyone else shocked by that? Is that just me? And a casual conversation where one character admits to his current girlfriend that he had sex with his previous girlfriend on the second date. Again, at 17, I’m pretty shocked by that.

The romance in this was obviously the main storyline, but this book also focused on the way that Claire and her best friend Megan fought over boys, and even let boys break up their friendship, which to me was a real shame. They also didn’t seem to learn from this, and continued to make the same mistakes.
I also liked the storyline concerning Claire’s mother an added bonus, although this could have been a little more developed.

The ending to this was okay, although it wasn’t really an end for Claire, just a step towards finding some different guys to kiss.
Overall; an enjoyable contemporary YA coming-of-age story,
7 out of 10.

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