Friday, 28 June 2013
Review: The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Released: April 22nd, 2013
Meet Rochelle 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 the 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 fairy tale and headed for heartbreak. But will Elle get her happily ever after?
When I first heard about The Kissing Booth and how young the author was, I'll admit I was sceptical. I thought it would be a badly written fan-fic style affair, so I promptly ignored it. I really should have learnt by now not to judge a book by its author, and reading The Kissing Booth has reinforced that. Although it isn't perfect, I enjoyed it and will happily read more by Beth Reekles. For an eighteen-year-old, she's a great writer and I'm sure she will only get better!
Firstly, I'll start with the negatives. I personally thought the book was too long by a good hundred pages or so. Not that I didn't like spending so much time with the characters, but by the end I just wanted it to wrap up. It's a long book at 400+ pages and would definitely have benefitted from being trimmed down. I also found Rochelle's numerous names very annoying - one minute she was Rochelle, the next she was Elle or Shelly. I get that different people called her different things, but I think everyone referring to her by one nickname would have been much better. The same goes for Noah Flynn: he was referred to as both Noah and Flynn by different friends and family, and it took me a while to stop being confused! Aside from some of the writing and phrases used (particularly "violence junkie"), I liked every other aspect of this book. It was kind of cheesy in parts, but what teen love story isn't?!
Now for the good! I liked the whole story of The Kissing Booth and can see why teens everywhere have eaten it up. It's a typical girl-meets-boy story, although this time the boy is Elle's best friend's big brother. They've known each other forever, and it isn't until a school fair's kissing booth that things really start to hot up between them. After that they're mostly inseparable, dealing with the day to day dramas and decisions that young love brings with it. The characters are also well-rounded and realistic, though if I'd have known anyone as annoyingly protective as Noah, I'd have had to have said something! I think Elle's best friend Lee was my overall favourite, just for his sweetness and unwavering loyalty towards Elle. He was a true best friend in every sense of the word.
The Kissing Booth is set in the US, even though the author is British and based in the UK. It worked for the most part, though there were some glaring clues, like the word "trousers" being used, which we all know Americans don't say. Certain words and phrases like that seemed out of place, and the overall tone of the novel still seemed British to me. In fact, I often forgot it was set in America!
Overall, is a good debut novel from an exciting new teen fiction author who is exactly the right age for who she's writing for. No doubt her books will appeal to a wide teen audience who like dramatic love stories featuring relatable characters, but I'm not sure this one will go down well with older readers. I'm firmly sitting on the fence when it comes to this book - it isn't amazing but I'll happily recommend it to readers who I know will enjoy it, of which there are many.
The Kissing Booth