The Kissing Booth

Beth Reekles. Random/Ember, $8.99 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-0-385-37868-0
British teen author Reekles's debut novel began life (and gained popularity) on the self-publishing Web site Wattpad, before being acquired for U.S. publication in a three-book deal that includes a planned sequel. The story revolves around 16-year-old Rochelle "Elle" Evans's conflicted relationship with Noah Flynn, the (self-described) "bad boy" older brother of her longtime best friend, Lee. In just one week, Elle goes from having her first kiss to losing her virginity to Noah (off camera), then keeps their affair secret from everyone, including Lee. Readers may be drawn in by the forbidden romance, but Elle comes across every bit as vulnerable and naïve as Noah likes to tell her she is. Despite an eventual and unrealistic transformation on Noah's part, their power-imbalanced relationship is more upsetting than alluring: Noah has warned guys to stay away from Elle for years to "protect" her, chastises her for dressing too provocatively, and regularly uses his charms to manipulate or distract her. A lightly developed supporting cast and a slow pace further undermine an effort that doesn't live up to its potential. Ages 14–up. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/13/2013
Release date: 05/14/2013
Genre: Children's
Open Ebook - 193 pages - 978-0-385-37867-3
Compact Disc - 978-0-8041-6735-2
Prebound-Sewn - 448 pages - 978-0-606-32115-0
Open Ebook - 448 pages - 978-1-4481-7281-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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