26 Kisses by Anna Michels {book review}

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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.

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If I were to describe 26 Kisses in one word, it would be fun. It’s a young adult contemporary mainly focused on dealing with heartbreak, but it has a little bit of everything: romance, friendship and family dynamics. It’s definitely not for everyone, but I, for one, enjoyed my time while reading it.

 

What I liked:

The general feeling of the story. This was a quick, lighthearted book. I liked the humour and the fun, easy way the author approached teenage heartbreak.

The concept is what initially drew my attention to this book. Even if a story revolving around a girl kissing her way through the alphabet seems just a tiny bit problematic, lets admit, it also sounds like something fun and badass. And yes, this was a fun experience (for the most part) and a very much-needed break from the heavy fantasy books I’ve been reading recently.

The characters (with one exception, to which I’ll get to later). I liked Veda’s personality and I could relate to her on some levels. I loved the passion with which she stood by her opinions and the little debates between her and Killian, which I found quite amusing. I also appreciated her less positive traits, because they made her seem more real and even though I don’t agree with most of her decisions, I can certainly understand where she came from, being a teenager myself. Yes, she is stubborn, overly dramatic and sometimes petty, but isn’t this how most teenagers are? Killian was an enjoyable character, too  and I liked how he didn’t fit in the usual young adult stereotypes.

The writing was nowhere near exceptional, but it was fitting for a contemporary novel and it made the story flow very natural. I appreciated that the author didn’t try to overdo it and it was pretty good for a debut novel.

What I didn’t like:

Mel. I don’t know, there was just something about her that irked me. I appreciated the support she offered Veda after her break up and her try at cheering her up with a fun summer challenge, but beside that she struck me as a not so great friend.

Parental relationships. I know this wasn’t the focus of the story, but I wish the parents would have been more involved in their children’s life and be more aware of what they’re going through.

The ending. Things felt rushed and there really weren’t many explanations and I feel that some characters needed more closure. Also, there was a particular scene that was intended to be sweet (i think?), but it only made me cringe. That ending was way too sudden and convenient.

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All in all, I think this was an okay book, on the average side. I would recommend it to younger readers (around 13 or so), but if you are looking around for a quick read to pass time, then I say go for it!

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★ ★ ½

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