Review: 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

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Book Title: 17 First Kisses
Author: Rachael Allen
Publish Date: June 17th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/ Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis 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.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
This book was far more complex than I initially thought it would be. I was expecting a sweet, fluffy book with some friendship drama mixed in. What I got was a book about love, life, choices and family.

Claire’s family has been through absolute hell and they are still going through it. Her mom spends her days in bed, avoiding her children & husband. Claire’s father has immersed himself in his work, leaving Claire to run the house & take care of her younger sister Libby. Claire had a lot of pressure put on her and my heart broke for her.

Yet she also is dealing with the fact that every attractive boy in the world seems to want her best friend. As a teenager, that is an all too common problem. Every female teenager has that “hot” friend that the boys are in favor of. And it sucks because you want to be that girl. Thankfully, Megan and Claire made a pact to never let a guy come between them. 

But that comes into question when Luke arrives on the scene.

I could never get a really good read on Luke. Sometimes I’d really like him and root for him and Claire to be together because poor Claire desperately needed something good to happen for her. But sometimes I’d want her to run far away from this guy. There really is more to attraction than simply physical attraction and I think teens struggle with that fact.

Megan and Claire’s friendship is not smooth sailing, but no friendship ever is. There’s bumps in the road, fights that happen and loyalties that are questioned. However I never doubted the friendship. I never doubted that they cared about one another. I never thought that they couldn’t work things out. Friendships aren’t perfect and mistakes are definitely made.

I really wished we had seen more of Sam. I really liked him a lot and I definitely wanted to see more interaction between him and Claire. He seemed to linger in the background a lot without being a main character in the story. I couldn’t really tell what part he’d play in the story but I was definitely eager to see where it went.

This book brought out the feels more than I ever expected. There was a significant chunk about 30% in where I just full on sobbed. It was beautiful and heartbreaking. I found myself wanting to hug Claire because I remembered what it was like to have a mom refuse to get out of bed. It was unbearably hard and oftentimes I cried myself to sleep. So that part was really hard for me to read.

Character development for the main characters was pretty good, but character development for the secondary characters was lacking. However, I really enjoyed the book,and will be giving it 4 stars. I would definitely recommend it to others. It’s not a light and fluffy read by any means, but it was still a very worthwhile book.

2 comments on “Review: 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

  1. Awesome review! I thought it was quite honorable of you to connect the novel back to your own life.

    Like

  2. I agree with Meredith, Alexia. I was already interested in reading this book, because like you initially did, I thought it would be a sweet, fluffy book, but after reading your very eloquent review, I feel that I really have to read it now for totally different reasons. I think it's brave of you for being so emotionally open and honest in your review. Thank you.

    Hazel @ Haze in a Happy Daze

    Like

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