17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

Author: Rachael Allen18599770
Genre: Young Adult | Contemporary
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: ★★★★
Read: June 06, 2014


ARC provided by the Publisher via Edelweiss
My thanks to HarperTeen
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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.

My Thoughts

This book was more than what I had expected. At first I thought it was going to be another mushy, gooey teenage romance. Well, it still had all the mushiness, but on the level that I was okay with. However, there were also a lot more going on.
It was a wonderful debut!

I thought the plot was absolutely well-developed. It moved from something oh-so-casual as Claire trying to find a decent boyfriend as having kissed 13 guys before, and most of the time, it didn’t turn out pretty. Then it moved on to more serious stuff like Claire’s family trying to cope with the tragedy.

Initially, I believed this book going to be all about teenage girls being all crazy over some guy. And it did look like it was going in that direction too. Then things got more intense when some family drama got in the mix. This took me by surprise as it was not mentioned in the synopsis. A nice surprise, though, because the emotional scenes and giddy, boy-crazy scenes kind of balanced out in the end.

I thought the ending was okay. It could have been a lot better if it had been more conclusive. Nevertheless, I’m happy with how everything ended up.

I loved almost every character in this book. Both Claire and Megan annoyed me quite a few times, but in general I loved these two and their friendship was very inspiring. Claire’s parents were also wonderful characters. They made me sad because of what they had to go through. I would have loved if there had been more scenes featuring Sam, though. It seemed like I didn’t know enough about him.

Up to kiss #14, the story was told by switching back and forth from the present and when each kiss took place. I liked how the book was written because it made the story more suspenseful. No worries about those scenes with the kisses as they were pretty much PG. Well, most of them anyway. Besides, I loved getting a glimpse of what happened in the past – the betrayal, forgiveness, the family tragedy and more.

However, the way that the author jumped from one scene to the next was not done very smoothly. Sometimes, it took a while for me to realize that the follow-up scene took place a few weeks or months after. It frustrated me a little. However, the pace in general was quite nice.

Overall, it was a satisfying read for me. I loved the characters and the story line. It wasn’t too emotional that made reading it a depressing experience, and it wasn’t a sugary sweet teenage romance either.
I loved that this book showed the important of friendship and the supports the family members are supposed to provide for one another in any difficult circumstances.

Those who want a quick read on high school drama with some family tragedy involved will enjoy reading this book. The synopsis is a little misleading since there are so much more going with this book that a seven-year-old trying to land a hot boyfriend.


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