By: Celine | May 29, 2014 | (21) Comments

Review: 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Drama, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
Goodreads | Purchase

No matter how many boys Claire kisses, she can’t seem to find a decent boyfriend. Someone who wouldn’t rather date her gorgeous best friend, Megan. Someone who won’t freak out when he learns about the tragedy her family still hasn’t recovered from. Someone whose kisses can carry her away from her backwoods town for one fleeting moment.

Until Claire meets Luke.

But Megan is falling for Luke, too, and if there’s one thing Claire knows for sure, it’s that Megan’s pretty much irresistible.

With true love and best friendship on the line, Claire suddenly has everything to lose. And what she learns—about her crush, her friends, and most of all herself—makes the choices even harder.

17 First Kisses is an interesting book. The thing is, your enjoyment of this novel almost entirely hinges on the way you interpret this. You can either see this as petty, pointless drama or an in-depth examination of a friendship. Personally, I saw this book as the latter, but I know plenty of people who think it’s the former.

17 First Kisses is told in “the present” and flashbacks to all of Claire’s kisses. In the present, Claire meets a boy named Luke. She feels she has a lot in common with him, and she’s taking a liking to him. The only problem? So has her friend, Megan. The flashbacks deal with all of Claire’s kisses: some uncomfortable, some enjoyable, some the kind you’d rather forget immediately. Hearing all this, it probably seems that 17 First Kisses is about romance, romance and romance. But the thing is, it’s not. The one thread through all of these pieces of present and past is friends. Claire has a few friends, but the book mostly focuses on her best friend Megan.

The friendship between Claire and Megan is so unique and so undeniably realThey know each other through and through, but it’s not all perfect. They obviously love each other and take care of each other, but Claire is still jealous of Megan sometimes, or annoyed by her. As is Megan by Claire. Again, you could be bored by this friendship while reading. Petty drama. But I just found it to be so incredibly real. Most friendships aren’t perfect. No matter how much you care for each other, there will be annoyances and bad days, but also shared moments and support.

Over the course of the novel, their friendship almost shatters, builds up again, almost shatters… And maybe builds up again, maybe not. You’ll have to see for yourself. Despite the little annoyances, the thing that almost breaks them up is a boy. You might roll your eyes at that (I won’t judge you if you do), but in 17 First Kisses it’s brought in a believable way. Though I wish it would be otherwise, boys can come between friendships. What’s truly magnificent about this story, though, is the messages within 17 First Kisses. To name a few: having sex is not a bad thing. Abusive relationships are. You should never be forced to do something. Having sex, with your boyfriend or otherwise, does not make you a slut.

And yes, there is slut-shaming in this book, quite a lot. It’s not the main character who does that – she’s the victim. Believe me, I despise slut-shaming. I absolutely hate it. But 17 First Kisses attaches a message to it, a message I can stand behind. Slut-shaming isn’t seen as something normal or even good. It’s used to show how ridiculous it really is.

If you are looking for a cute romance… I guess I can say you’ll find one in 17 First Kisses. It’s not at all what the book is about, though. This is a novel about friendships; how they can change over the years, how they can be broken and built back up, and how important they are. This is a novel about choosing yourself over others when you need to. This is a novel about boys, but mainly about the impact they can have on your life. This is a book where it doesn’t really matter whether the main character ends up with the guy or not, because that’s not at all what it’s about.

~Thank you HarperTeen for sending me a review copy!~

4 Stars
The following two tabs change content below.
Celine is 17 years old and from the Netherlands. Quite obviously, she loves books! She has been a reader for as long as she can remember, and she believes she will be a reader forever. Celine is also obsessed with food, and loves singing along to music as loud as possible, dancing and doodling on nearly everything.

Want more posts like this?

Subscribe via email to receive new posts on book reviews, bookish giveaways, discussions and more!

21 Responses to Review: 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

  1. Keeley says:

    Great review! I definitely am looking forward to reading this one 🙂
    Keeley recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday – Some Boys By Patty BlountMy Profile

  2. Melanie says:

    Ooh ever since Blythe’s review of this I’ve been very curious about it! I am going to be reading this and your review has me even more pumped up for it. I like how there is slut-shaming and how it is there for a reason.

    Fantabulous review, Celine! <33

  3. I tend to look at books from the good side because I literally find everything as super deep and meaningful. So thank you so much for sharing this Celine! I’ve seen a few negative reviews and completely passed off this book but it definitely sounds like something I’d want to consider! Awesome review!
    Laura Plus Books recently posted…Top 5: Worst Things About No Internet ConnectionMy Profile

  4. This is a really fantastic review Celine, I love how you outlined that the book can be looked at in different ways and the friendship in it is really strong. I also like the strong messaging that you portrayed as well.
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Up From the Grave by Jeaniene Frost Review: A Brilliant Ending for Cat and BonesMy Profile

  5. Rashika says:

    This makes me so curious! I have seen a handful of negative reviews for this one but lately, I’ve also been seeing some positive ones so I am stating to wonder if my initial assessment and decision to skip this was a good idea.

    I am glad to see you enjoyed this!

    Lovely review, Celine! 🙂
    Rashika recently posted…ARC Review: Hexed by Michelle KrysMy Profile

  6. Melliane says:

    It’s nice when some flashbacks are well handled in a book, I’m curious I confess, I didn’t know this one. I’m glad you had a good time with it.
    Melliane recently posted…GIVEAWAY: Trilogy by Deborah Coates‏My Profile

  7. I’ll admit, I’m one of those people who’ve thought this as a pointless drama. 😛 I personally found the friendship between the characters to be toxic–my best friend and I fight a LOT, but not to that extent. But I’m so, so glad you were able to share a different perspective, Celine. I’ve been seeing a few positive reviews popping out for this one, and I love seeing other people love books even if I didn’t. Lovely review, Celine!
    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings recently posted…Review: Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret StohlMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      I can definitely see why you would! I guess the friendship can indeed be seen as toxic, though it didn’t seem that way to me. I’m sorry you didn’t love this! And thank you, Aimee <33

  8. This sounds like a cutesy romance that I could enjoy. It’s rather unfortunate that there is slut-shaming in this book, albeit the mc is the victim. I think that I am lucky, though, to have close girl friends that I don’t fight a lot with. Honestly, I don’t even feel jealous over them, and I think it’s the same for them, too. At some point, you and your long time friends will have this balanced relationship. Anyway, I’ve said too much 😛
    Dre @ Sporadic Reads recently posted…Review 173 : Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn AndersonMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      I know what you mean with the balanced relationship! I personally think this book is the story of how two girls find that balance. You haven’t said too much, don’t worry 😉

  9. This just LOOKS like summer to me. 😀 I’m glad you enjoyed it, despite the slut-shaming, etc. Great review, sweets! 🙂
    Lisa (Lost in Literature) recently posted…Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula StokesMy Profile

  10. Thank you for your fantastic review, Celine! I think I’ll definitely give this book a go one of these days.
    Ebony @ Paperbacks & Protagonists recently posted…Five Friday Favourites #14 – Not-so-Favourite “Popular” BooksMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge