Published by Simon Pulse on May 24th 2016
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I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Kasie West meets Morgan Matson in this hilarious and heartwarming debut about a girl’s summer mission to get over her ex-boyfriend by kissing her way through the alphabet.
Getting dumped by her boyfriend is not how Veda planned on starting her summer. When Mark makes it clear that it’s over between them, Veda is heartbroken and humiliated—but, more importantly, she’s inspired. So she sets out on the love quest of a lifetime: use the summer to forget about Mark, to move on, and move up. All she has to do is kiss twenty-six boys with twenty-six different names—one for each letter of the alphabet.
From the top of the Ferris wheel at her hometown carnival to the sandy dunes of Lake Michigan, Veda takes every opportunity she can to add kisses (and boys) to her list, and soon the break-up doesn’t sting quite as much. But just when Veda thinks she has the whole kissing thing figured out, she meets someone who turns her world upside down.
This was a book that was extremely difficult for me to rate. I found myself constantly going back and forth between a three or a four rating, but ultimately decided to go with a three. This was a really fast paced and cute contemporary read, but it lacked some important things for me as well. The concept is definitely a unique one that I did enjoy, the execution just wasn’t totally what I was expecting. I recommend this one if you’re looking for a summer romance that is relatively on the light side, though not lacking in drama.
26 kisses focuses on Veda, who is going into her senior year of high school, and is completely blindsided when her longtime boyfriend dumps her. This forces her to decide who she wants to be without him, and how she should spend her first summer in a long time as a single girl. I think that Veda was a pretty interesting character, though she didn’t really standout all that much to me as a whole. One thing that I had a major problem with is how she didn’t seem to totally defend the slut shaming that was happening due to her kissing boys. She basically said that though it was no one’s business what she was doing, she was definitely concerned about her new reputation as a “slut” because of the kisses. I guess my point is that I disliked the way she was so preoccupied with what everyone else thought of her, yet she didn’t want to stop the alphabet kissing challenge. It just didn’t match up with the way the character was portrayed for most of the book, in my opinion. She’s not a terrible character, but I certainly wanted to sit her down and have a chat with her about a few things.
Killian was one of my favorite parts of the book for sure. I loved how he was a genuinely good guy, who was intelligent and very opinionated about certain things, which made him a solid debater. There was just so much to like about this character. I found myself wanting to know more and more about him as the book went on. Something super unique about his character was how obsessed he was with pop music. He also drew his favorite pop lyrics on his dashboard and I loved how cheesy yet awesome they all turned out to be. He was a cool character, and I loved that he wasn’t exactly like every other YA love interest out there, he had some new things to bring to the table.
The romance between Killian and Veda was fairly great and interesting, though naturally also filled with some serious complications along the way. I enjoyed that the relationship started out as a friendship, in my opinion, that’s the most realistic kind of relationship out there. I loved watching them banter and debate in the beginning, and then slowly but surely start falling for each other. Veda resists him for an irritatingly long time because she doesn’t want to start a new relationship after just getting out of a rather serious one. However, it’s still pretty obvious that this is an unavoidable romance that’s just bound to happen. Though not my favorite couple ever, they still make a realistic and enjoyable one.
So all and all, this was a fun book to read, just not anything overly memorable to me. I considered giving it a four at times, because it seemed to have such depth and likable characters, but the slut shaming and the drama with her best friends made me go with a three instead. I’m impressed with Anna Michels’s debut novel, and I can’t wait to see what she writes next. It reminded me of a Sarah Dessen or a Kasie West book, which is an extremely high complement. I recommend it if you want something fast paced and on the light side!