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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles (Review)

Genre:
Young Adult, Drama, Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Publication.Date  May 14th 2013
Pages:448
Published By:  Ember
WebsiteBeth Reekles 

The Kissing Booth on Goodreads
My review copy:Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:


A cool, sexy romance novel written by seventeen-year-old British sensation Beth Reekles.

Meet Rochelle “Elle” Evans: pretty, popular—and never been kissed. Meet Noah Flynn: badass, volatile—and a total player.

When Elle decides to run a kissing booth at her school's Spring Carnival, she locks lips with Noah and her life is turned upside down. Her head says to keep away, but her heart wants to draw closer. This romance seems far from a fairy tale.

Is Elle headed for heartbreak or will she get her happily ever after?
(Goodreads)

Wow. Death by books. That would have been some way to go.
‘Does he ever scare you? I mean . . . I know he’s not quite the Incredible Hulk or anything, but he can lose his temper kinda quickly.’
‘That’s just the way he is. I grew up with him around. He couldn’t scare me – I know that he’s . . . intimidating . . .


     The Kissing Booth is a quick and quite enjoyable summer read that kept me well entertained for a couple of days. I wouldn't call it memorable or game-changing, but it was definitely cute and sunny, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys teen angst, secret love affairs and overly dramatic female characters. 

     This book reminded me a lot of Beautiful Disaster by Jaime McGuire and I think anyone who is looking for a more YA-friendly version of that book (tamer, more cutesy) will definitely enjoy The Kissing Booth. Like Beautiful Disaster, this book has a cocky and controlling guy, a sweet and naive girl (who, of course, doesn't realize how hot she actually is), and lots and lots of drama. There's passion, kissing, fooling around and even some sex. There's sneaking around, lying, breaking up and reconciling. And a whole lot of acting stupid and irrational. The only difference is that The Kissing Booth has a better ending that redeems some of that stupid and irrational stuff that goes down in the second half of the book, leaving the reader slightly more satisfied (still pretty frustrated, though). 

     Personally, I wasn't a fan of Beautiful Disaster at all and, sadly, there were things about The Kissing Booth that annoyed me just as much. For instance, there is nothing I hate more than cocky, controlling, border-line abusive love-interests, and while Noah isn't as horrible as Travis, he is still far from perfect. Overprotective, stubborn, jealous and possessive, Noah frequently behave in a way that made me cringe and shake my head in disgust. He tells Rochelle what she should wear and who she should or shouldn't talk to, and makes sure that no other boy ever flirts with her or even looks at her in a *funny* way (as in: expressing interest). He scares off potential boyfriends and throws punches whenever someone makes an inappropriate joke - even when Rochelle herself is provoking and then enjoying the jokes. The weirdest thing is, he's been doing all that for years before they even got together (a silent stalker sneaking around in the shadows?). I couldn't stand him. To me, he was spoiled, selfish and childish, and I hated how he would use the same excuse over and over again to rationalize his erratic behaviour ("I'm only looking out for you"). 

     Rochelle frustrated me even more. Her behaviour didn't make much sense either. She would go on insisting that they keep their relationship secret from everyone (including her best friend and Noah's brother, Lee), and when the truth finally came out, she turned the situation around and blamed Noah for everything. She was all innocent and goody-goody, but didn't mind sneaking around with Noah and having sex before making their relationship known to the public. 

     The ending itself caught me by surprise. I expected Noah and Rochelle to finally get together and make it official, and then adjust their plans for the future accordingly. I swear, I thought these two would make a decision to go to the same school or do something even more drastic, just to stay together. Instead, what we got was sort of a "whatever will be, will be" ending. Both of them decided to put their education/career first (which is the mature thing to do), and they agreed to wait and see where life will take them. Considering everything that happened prior to that, I must say I was very surprised, but kind of happy with that ending. It was a realistic ending with a good message, and I appreciated that. 

     All things considered, The Kissing Booth was a good book. Emotionally engaging, at times quite heart-pounding and definitely entertaining. A great summer read to enjoy on the beach, with a glass of ice tea on the side. If you're looking for something fun and hot, but not necessarily intellectually stimulating or demanding, this might be the book for you. If, however, you're bothered by unrealistically depicted relationships, weirdly motivated behaviours and superficial, cliched characters, it might be best to stir clear off it.



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