A cute, fast and clean read, and not a bad pick to kick off your summer, but it is one that I found hard to get through. I never really liked any of the characters, but that doesn’t mean you will feel the same way. I gave it three stars, and other readers seemed a little torn. Some thought it was the cutest thing since kittens, while other saw the main character as Jezebel-lite. I didn’t feel that extreme, but I wasn’t sold on the idea of swapping spit with 26 strangers after a couple of letters into the alphabet (most of the kisses were actually much more chaste than that implies, but, still). Eew.
Breaking up with her boyfriend is not how Veda planned on starting her summer. When Mark makes it clear that it’s over between them, Veda is heartbroken and humiliated—but, more importantly, she’s inspired. And so she sets out on the love quest of a lifetime: use the summer to forget about Mark, move on, and move up. All she has to do is kiss twenty-six boys with twenty-six different names—one for each letter of the alphabet.
From the top of the Ferris wheel at her hometown carnival to the sandy dunes of Lake Michigan, Veda takes every opportunity she can to add kisses (and boys) to her list, and soon the breakup doesn’t sting quite as much. But just when Veda thinks she has the whole kissing thing figured out, she meets someone who turns her world upside down.
By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Anna Michels’s debut is the story of one girl who realizes that moving on from the supposed love of your life means taking a chance—and having the courage to love again.
I was pretty unhappy with the protagonist at the halfway point, so I took a long break from reading. I did go back, and, ultimately, I was pleased with the book in the end. I don’t think I will be the only reader a little put off by Veda’s decisions. I’m not sure she actually got the lesson inherent in her questionable quest, either. I think the problem is that the clear choice is introduced really early in the story – this allows for a nice relationship development, but it also makes Veda look a little dumb or stubborn or scared (probably all of those because she’s human). It was frustrating. The love interests in this book, too, are a little unconventional. Girls who like their guys artsy fartsy are going to find this romance more appealing than those who don’t. Language and situations are appropriate for grades 8+.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.