Farrar, Straus and Giroux
June 10, 2014
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What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy?
Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss--the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died--is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn't a suicide as everyone assumes. She can't remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she's worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend.
If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she'll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made--good and bad--that led to her last kiss.
Bethany Neal's suspenseful debut novel is about the power of first love and the haunting lies that threaten to tear it apart.
Cassidy Haines lived just a few days past her seventeenth birthday; dying the night of her party. When she 'wakes up' next to her body, she knows something not right happened, only she cannot remember what.
As she tries to learn the limitations of her new existence, she also wants to figure out what happened. Nearly everyone seems to agree that Cassidy's death was a suicide. While Cassidy's sure that is not correct, she also doesn't know how she'll ever remember what actually happened - and then prove it.
Soon Cassidy finds herself pulled into memories - both of that fateful night and before - including some she would rather not relive.
My Last Kiss takes a creative approach to illuminating the circumstances around Cassidy's death. Not only is it Cassidy herself who's trying to piece it all together, but the way we readers are brought those pieces is quite creative. Cassidy is dealing with being dead - and accepting that - but she has a mission, of sorts, that keeps her focused. She doesn't fall apart upon realizing she's died, instead using the mystery around her death and wanting to support her friends and keep them safe to keep her going.
Where the focus was put, when it came to the other characters, was a bit off, to me. There was great character development with some of them, while others didn't seem to receive as much attention and felt a bit flat. In a lot of ways, this made sense as we only knew what Cassidy knew or found out. At the same time, I liked the way it helped with keeping the mystery and suspense alive. Each thing we found out about a character seemed to shift suspicion and/or painted them in a new light.
Bethany Neal did a very good job of moving the story forward for the living characters while having their present help Cassidy uncover the past. The balance between it being their lives continuing on and Cassidy piecing together the past, worked very well. We saw the characters grieving their friend's death while their questions and memories also helped Cassidy.
I don't think I was pulling for the relationship that I was supposed to in My Last Kiss. I am completely okay with that, though. Whether it was personal preference/my connection with one character over another or that we saw more of their 'why,' I'm not sure. It doesn't take away from the other character, the other relationship, so it works.
I really enjoyed how, as we found out what Cassidy's last night was like, we learn so much more about her group of friends. Not everything - or everyone - is as it would first seem and each new unveiling adds to the drama and suspense. When it all comes together, it's surprising and a good ending. Neal's debut was a creative, unique novel and I'm eager to see what she publishes next.
thank you to the publisher and FFBC Tours for my digital copy to review
rest of the post - author info and giveaway below>
About the Author:
Bethany Neal writes young-adult novels with a little dark side and a lot of kissing! She is obsessed with (but not limited to): nail polish, ginormous rings, pigs, pickles, and dessert.
You can find her locked in her Writertorium for insane amounts of time. But, hey, insanity is fun! My Last Kiss is her first novel.
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