Book Review: 17 First Kisses

18599770Title/Author: 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Family, Friendship

Published: June 17th, 2014 by HarperTeen

Paperback, 319 pages

How I Got This Book: Checked it out from the library

Why I Picked It Up?: I wanted something contemporary, and this one has been getting rave reviews from the bloggers I follow.

Book Jacket Blurb: “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.”

Thoughts:

So I picked this up because I wanted something light and fun for a summer read. And while this was overall a light and fun read, there was also a lot more depth than I was expecting…and it made this book even better!

Here are the things I REALLY LIKED about this book!:

1. The style of storytelling: Ms. Allen tells a present-day story all while incorporating flashbacks of each of Claire’s first kisses. This allowed the story to move at a great pace while still giving the background information that allowed for Claire, Megan, and the other character’s to develop the way they need to so that readers can really get to know them and their histories.

2. Claire is a real girl: Yes, on occasion she is an annoying teenager and really self-centered, but honestly….who isn’t every once and a while? Claire is really an average teenage girl, complete with attitude and insecurity. All she wants to do is be accepted, fit in, and surround herself with people that she can trust. Being best friends with the most popular girl in school can be really difficult, especially when you don’t feel like you measure up. Feeling the need to keep up with your friends is a very real struggle, especially at this age, and I think that Ms. Allen captures those mental and emotional nuances of friendships and relationships in high school. I really appreciate a flawed MC, to be honest. She is one of the most genuinely developed contemporary characters I have read in YA because she is actually an average teenage girl, not just an “average” teenage girl.

3. While this is described as a romance story, it is actually a friendship story: Claire and Megan’s friendship…honestly, I didn’t always get it. Megan is not really the best friend you could ever ask for. In fact, a lot of the times she is just selfish, rude, and has no consideration for anyone other than herself. But while Claire would probably be better off without Megan, Megan is better off because of Claire. Whatever their differences and despite their fights, they both need each other. Megan needs Claire to remind her that being a friend is to be considerate, and Claire needs Megan to bail her out of sticky situations. For whatever reason, they work well together. And this novel really celebrates friendship above all else, and that is really refreshing.

Now, I will go out and say that this novel is not perfect. There are definitely some points that could have been better developed story-wise. But this novel is real, and I really appreciated that. It was entertaining and fun and a great summer read! I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick realistic contemporary read.

My Bookshelf Rating:

4shelfA Fourth Shelf Book!

This book was a really fun read, especially for summer! I enjoyed Rachael Allen’s storytelling and the character development throughout the story. While there were a couple of things that could have been explored more, I really liked the friendship focus and Claire’s growth throughout the novel. I also loved learning more about the characters through the first kiss flashbacks. A light and fun novel, great for summer reading!

Love and Strawberry Margaritas,
Jennifer

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