Title: 17 First Kisses
Author: Rachael Allen
This was a little gem of a book. The synopsis doesn’t really do it justice. It’s about a lot more than Luke. It’s about a family finding a way to move on, friendships being tested, and trying to find out who you are in the midst of being a teen.
Claire is part of the popular group of kids at school. Her best friend Megan basically runs the social scene. Claire has had 13 first kisses by the time she’s a sophomore in high school and that’s branded her with the title of slut. She’s worked hard for two years to fight beyond that reputation. So when Luke arrives to town, and both she and Megan start to like him, things get tricky. She has to decide who means more to her: her best friend or a chance at teen love.
I liked Claire. She was a little naive, but it worked. She had to grow up fast at home, taking care of her family after tragedy strikes, and she didn’t have the chance to completely be a teen. Her first kisses are shown through little stories between chapters and it was interesting to see her progression through them. She’s by no means a slut, but teen years are difficult and that’s the name she’s given. When Luke arrives, she feels an instant connection. His home life isn’t great either and she feels like they can really understand each other. But for the sake of her friendship with Megan, she agrees to not do anything. But events happen and their friendship is really put to the test.
Luke is pretty to look at, but when he opens his mouth, you can smell the rotten insides. He starts out sweet, but I could tell right from the beginning something was going to go wrong. He was a little too perfect, but it appeared like that was done on purpose. As for how the book turns out, I had a feeling through the entire novel that it was going to turn out a little like it did.
I am glad the friendship between Claire and Megan was really the main part of the story. Both girls are good friends with a few negative qualities. They’re both insecure, despite being at the top of the social food chain. It’s clear they each cherish their friendship, but sometimes things get in the way. I couldn’t help but want their friendship to work. They both make mistakes and reading how they overcame those challenges was fun.
17 First Kisses is a sweet, touching story about a girl growing up and deciding what is important in her life. You can’t help but to feel for every single character as they try to weave through high school. The portrayal of friendships is not perfect, but you’ll still root for them. It’s definitely worth a read.
Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.