Happy review Thursday. I have been reading so much recently, but one genre I haven’t touched much is YA Romance. Then I read broke that cycle by reading Kissing Lessons by Sophie Jordan. This had been in my amazon basket for MONTHS but when I got some money for Christmas I decided to buy this since I had wanted it for nearly 6 months at that point. I read it in one sitting because it is pretty short (so if the review is a little shorter than usual that’s why, since the book is less than 300 pages); but enough rambling, let’s jump into the full review.
Title: Kissing Lessons
Author: Sophie Jordan
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: June 2nd 2020
Pages: 288 pages
When I Read It: February 11th 2021
Goodreads Rating: 3.24 Stars
Goodreads Description: ~
Wild, beautiful, and (as rumour has it) experienced, Hayden Vargas doesn’t have time for love or relationships. She’s learned the hard way that the only person you can count on is yourself, and she’s hell-bent on earning enough money to leave her small, judgy Texas town as fast as possible. So when nerdy Emmaline Martin offers to pay Hayden for lessons in seduction, the money is so easy, there must be a catch. Enter the catch: Emmaline’s older brother, popular, all-around nice guy™ Nolan Martin, who doesn’t want his sister’s reputation tarnished by the school’s resident bad girl.
But Hayden should know that looks can be deceiving. Nolan may seem like a golden boy, but like Hayden, he has a few secrets of his own. And the more he meddles in her lessons with Emmaline, the more these polar opposites clash—and the more sparks fly. Turns out Nolan may have some lessons to teach Hayden, but only if she’s willing to learn.
My Goodreads Review: *aka my initial thoughts, straight after (and during) reading
This was a really fun and quick read.
I read it in one sitting. It was really gripping and enjoyable.
I loved the multiple POV’s and the writing was amazing. Especially the humour, it really made me laugh.
I related a lot to Hayden and her bluntness. She was such a fun and string female protagonist. I adored her banter with everyone, especially Nolan and her would-be friendship with Emmaline.
My only gripes with the book was that I expected a bit more sexual content, it was very PG for a book about a girl with a bad reputation, so that was a little disappointing. And also I felt the story was paced super well, right until the end where we didn’t really get much of an ending. It happened about 2 pages from the end and that was that. I expected more of a discussion and declaration but it kind of missed the mark there.
Otherwise this is a super sweet YA romance. Definitely recommend.
My Favourite Quote:
Always have a plan, but know that no plan is etched in stone.
Characters: I did like the characters. Hayden was my favourite. I loved her unapologetic bluntness and I definitely related to her on that count because I am often the same. The characters were by no means ground-breaking but they were enjoyable. We didn’t really get much character development, it was much more of a plot driven book which is fine. Usually I do prefer more character driven stories but I liked the characters as they were enough that I felt it still worked really nicely.
Characters = 7/10
Humour: I did laugh at this quite a bit. I don’t know whether it was because it was genuinely funny or if to was because I related to Hayden so much that when she did something that was so ME it made me laugh. Either way, I found it funny so it definitely has to get points for making me laugh.
Humour = 8/10
Atmosphere: I don’t really know what to say for this really, it’s set in an American High School. I’ve never been to an American high school so I can’t vouch for it’s accuracy but it didn’t feel odd. It read normally and was a nice change of pace from the fantasy novels I’ve been reading recently, to have something set in a familiar setting.
Atmosphere = 7/10
Writing Style: I did enjoy the writing style. I wasn’t expecting to get so many different POV’s and I actually found myself really enjoying them all which is unusual for me. Normally, when there are so many different POV’s I find myself favouring one or two of them and praying for their chapters while the others drag – but that wasn’t the case here. I liked them all and I think what made it work was that their stories were all so closely intertwined that it made them all feel really valid and plot furthering rather than just a change of perspective.
Writing Style = 8/10
Plot: I really liked the idea behind this book. Usually romances are the morally grey guy corrupts the straight-A angel good girl, but this was the flip of that which I thought was fun. My main gripe with this book was that it didn’t lean enough into this idea. Hayden is meant to be this slut-shamed bad girl with an even badder reputation…but we never see her do anything worthy of that bad rep. Sure, she’s kissed a few different guys at parties but that’s it. These people were 17/18 years old…at that point in life…a kiss at a flat party is not slut-shaming territory (not that anything should be slut-shaming worthy but you know, it happens even when it shouldn’t’) I know it’s YA but if it’s going to lean into a topic that is clearly meant to be based on sex – having it written in the book or even hinting at it and fading to black would make sense. Making out on a couch was not enough to get the reputation she has.
Plot = 7/10
Intrigue: It was really well paced and intriguing…right until the end when nothing is resolved until 2 pages before the end, so you don’t really get a fulfilling resolution because it feels rushed and crammed into a small space. I wish it had been spread a little more – or even given us an epilogue of them together or something because ultimately that’s what a romance is leading up to and to just cut out as they get together feels very unfinished.
Intrigue = 7/10
Logic: There isn’t much logic to comment on this since it’s a YA romance so it isn’t set somewhere with world rules out with out own, but I thought the actions of the character were really reasonable – especially Nolan in the later chapters. I really liked that he stuck to his opinion on things. I’ve docked a mark for the lack of logic on the no sex plot issue.
Logic = 9/10
Enjoyment: I still really liked this despite the slight flaw with the plot and the weird paced ending. It was a sweet YA romance and really what I was in the mood for when I read it. I’ve been away from contemporary for a while so it was great to come back to something a little more simple and fun.
Enjoyment = 8/10
Relationships: Like I mentioned above, I wish the relationships were shown a little more. There was a lot of build-up which is good, but you need to see the impact of all that build-up to feel really fulfilled by a romance I think. But don’t get me wrong, all the romances in this were so cute and I really liked them. Hayden and Nolan were definitely my favourites just because they had most of the focus, but the other two romances that blossomed during the book were cute and a nice surprise because I wasn’t expecting romance out with the two MC’s. It just helped it feel more real because when I was at school there was constant relationship shenanigans.
Relationships = 8/10
Overall Score = 69/90 or 7.6/10
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
That’s all for today’s review folks. I have decided I am going to switch up some of the headings I focus on in my reviews because I think I could focus them a bit better so stay tuned for that change soon.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this and I will see you guys again tomorrow ❤