I have seen a lot of retellings and reimaginings that make great works of literature more accessible for YA readers, but I haven’t enjoyed one quite this much in a long time. If you like movies like Clueless or 10 Things I Hate About You, or even Easy A, you might really enjoy this take on a Shakespearean comedy.
I would describe The Kiss as a Bridget Jones for the YA set. This is a YA RomCom imported from the UK, and I enjoyed every outrageous and ridiculous moment of it! Delilah, the sixteen year old protagonist, returns from holiday (I feel so sophisticated when I write it that way) in France with the legendary Aphrodite’s Kiss, the kiss gifted to mortals by the goddess herself – the kiss to end all kisses and tie him to you so tight he’ll never let go. When she passes it on, it makes its way through a crowd of young British university students leaving love and heartbreak in its wake. While Delilah does bumble around and generally make an idiot of herself in front of the hot guy, this isn’t a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, but instead, it updates Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing (the musical version of the play also has a rather large role in the book). Delilah is a mess, but she is a fixer, so she spends much of the book attempting to right everyone’s life. Madness and mayhem ensue in the form of creeptastic drug dealers, a couple of old lady lushes, lusty French pen pals, and zombies. I liked Delilah for all her miscues. She is smart and witty, but not as mature as she thinks she is. Her journey to a happy ending is fraught with mistakes, but I believe most readers will embrace her well meaning attempts as well as the resolution. As for the other characters, I liked them, too. They are not your usual folks, and I found them interesting and colorful. Here is the problem some readers will have – these kids are young (16), but they have a lifestyle more along the lines of a college freshman in the US. Drinking, partying, and snogging play large roles in this book. While not graphic, if I had read this as a teen, I would have been on the first plane to England because it sounds like American teens are missing the party, so if you can’t tolerate the teen fantasy life, skip it. (I assume this lifestyle is exaggerated, because if it isn’t, I’m definitely buying a plane ticket). If you can’t be bothered to puzzle out a few words of unfamiliar slang, skip it. If you want a good laugh and a charming romp through a ridiculous love story, this is your book.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.