By: Anna Michels
Published Year: 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Amazon Barnes and Noble
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Kasie West meets Morgan Matson in this hilarious and heartwarming debut about a girl’s summer mission to get over her ex-boyfriend by kissing her way through the alphabet.
Getting dumped by 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. So she sets out on the love quest of a lifetime: use the summer to forget about Mark, to 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 break-up 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.
I first saw the cover for this in a Debut Author’s Challenge feature hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Obviously, the cover caught my eye and the summary did too. It seemed like a really cute story, exactly the kind of book I would pick up. It also reminded me a bit of The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart that I read in high school. It definitely felt like it was going to have that kind of vibe which appealed to me.
What I thought
What a cute book! I wish I could have read this in the summer as it is exactly the kind of summer read I enjoy, but I still enjoyed it a lot.
Veda is in the summer before her senior year. Her boyfriend of 3 years just graduated from high school and broke up with her because he didn’t want to have a high school girlfriend in college. Veda has only ever been with Mark and is having a difficult time moving on. Her friend Mel comes up with what she thinks is the perfect idea to help Veda move on. She challenges Veda to kiss 26 guys in alphabetical order by the end of summer. She tells Veda this is because she shouldn’t be jumping from one relationship into another, but about having fun and moving on.
I liked the idea of the 26 kisses challenge. She doesn’t have to kiss everyone on the lips, and family members and male dogs do count! I didn’t initially expect for it to have to be in alphabetical order but it definitely made it fun. Maybe because I’m a YA reader I didn’t think of it as being slutty, but that judgement did come up. It’s funny because I really didn’t think that kissing multiple boys in a summer would label someone a slut. If she had been sleeping with them yet, but just making out? It could also be because I’m older, so I know people who would make out with multiple people in a single weekend in college.
Unfortunately, I didn’t like Veda’s friends at all. Her best friends are Seth, who lives across the street with her and has been in love with her since he was 10 and Mel, who moved to Michigan from New York in middle school and immediately became her friend. I found Seth to be overly moody and not really there in any way shape or form as a friend and I found Mel to be extremely selfish. The entire time I felt like Mel was having Veda complete this challenge more for herself than for Veda. She was very pushy and never seemed to be listening to what Veda wanted.
One of my favorite parts of the book was the setting! I immediately connected to it because it is set in Northern Michigan, in what I imagine what is supposed to be Traverse City. I used to vacation up in that area and then I lived in Michigan during college, so I related to this setting perfectly. Michigan summers are magical and Michaels expressed that perfectly in this book.
I also want to comment on the fact that typically I review books like these by saying they were predictable but in a good way but that is not the case with this one. It took me by surprise! I thought it was going to go one direction but ended up going in a bit of a different direction. And I loved it! I liked that what could have been a predictable YA formula was turned a bit on its head. It didn’t immediately fall into the typical tropes and it was so refreshing. I definitely look forward to more books by Michaels!
By: Anna Michels