ARC Review: 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen — Are Teens Really Like This!?

17 First Kisses

Rating: 2/5
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: June 17th 2014
Publication House: HarperTeen
Source: ARC from Edelweiss
Check out on GOODREADS

No matter how many boys Claire kisses, she can’t seem to find a decent boyfriend. Someone who wouldn’t rather date her gorgeous best friend, Megan. Someone who won’t freak out when he learns about the tragedy her family still hasn’t recovered from. Someone whose kisses can carry her away from her backwoods town for one fleeting moment.

Until Claire meets Luke.

But Megan is falling for Luke, too, and if there’s one thing Claire knows for sure, it’s that Megan’s pretty much irresistible.

With true love and best friendship on the line, Claire suddenly has everything to lose. And what she learns—about her crush, her friends, and most of all herself—makes the choices even harder.

In her moving debut, Rachael Allen brilliantly captures the complexities of friendship, the struggles of self-discovery, and the difficulties of trying to find love in high school. Fans of Sarah Ockler, Susane Colasanti, and Stephanie Perkins will fall head over heels for this addictive, heartfelt, and often hilarious modern love story.


*This review might contain some spoilers–for the sake of ranting, of course.

Okay, we have another case of a highly misleading synopsis! Not in a particularly good or bad way, per se, but in a really confusing way. So, if you’ll base your want to read this one on the synopsis, let me warn you: read between the lines.

That aside, I can say that I wasn’t a fan of this novel. The story is narrated by Claire. Again, based on the synopsis, I assumed she was a really sweet, possibly naive, and caring girl. But boy am I wrong. She was the queen bee’s best friend and was constantly influenced by the more popular crowd. She was called a “slut” by her classmates at some point, having kissed 13 guys at age 17.

I wouldn’t call Claire a slut, but she did kiss a lot of guys because of the influence of the popular crowd. I didn’t even get her friendship with said queen bee, Megan. I found it odd that they even called each other their best friends. They constantly stole each other’s boyfriends, then make up after some apologies and it was really freaking me out. I get that they’re close and tell each other everything, but really? If you could see me, I’d be rolling my eyes.

Claire even kissed her ex’s four bandmates just to get back at him. What the hell, girl? That isn’t even humane anymore. She even led one on! That was just disgusting. Let’s keep in mind that Claire’s seventeen.

I really didn’t like Megan as an individual character, either. She let the popularity get into her head and just knew how she controlled the entire student body. I didn’t understand why the other students even liked her. Puh-lease. She was bitch extraordinaire. (Excuse my French. There was no better word to describe her with.)

Let’s talk about the love interest. *shudders* Okay, we have Luke. Luke, who was definitely not what he seemed. He was an asshole wearing the disguise of a sweet, caring guy. Didn’t fool me, ha! I could tell from the start that something was really off about him and I was right.

A little side note: I’m a teen (fourteen) and I don’t know anyone, really, who acts like the characters in these novels. There’s this one character (I won’t say who) who’s 17 and has already done the deed with 3 girls. I mean, is that even normal? I wouldn’t know, of course.

Overall, I thought this one was the baby of Catching Jordan (which I will heart forever) in terms of a misleading synopsis and Maybe One Day (which I thought was boring) in terms of friendships I hardly care about. The only positive thing I got out of this one was the really nice writing style.

Rating Report
Overall: 1.9
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Aimee is a sixteen year old bookworm from the Phillipines! She reads any book that catches her attention, but she mostly reads YA. She's into graphic design, writing and sleeping. You can find her at Deadly Darlings, The Book Geek, Goodreads and on Twitter.

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  1. says

    Yeah, I had a lot of issues with this too, but I generally liked it. I thought it was okay but not really memorable. I didn’t believe Claire’s relationship with Megan, but I especially liked it in the end. I guess my real issue was that it totally felt like an adult writing a YA book. The story didn’t feel organic or sound like real. I generally had a lukewarm attitude towards it.
    Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books recently posted…Dear Killer (Review)My Profile

  2. says

    Nope, just nope. This doesn’t sound like a realistic portrayal of teenage relationships whatsoever. And Claire? Nope. Kissing so many guys is NOT normal. Ugh. Just ugh. Megan doesn’t sound like a strong character either, she sounds so stuck-up and arrogant, and I’m not typically a fan of characters like that. Luke? “He was an asshole wearing the disguise of a sweet, caring guy.” Giant meh face right there…

    Anyway, thanks so much for sharing Christie, and as always, brilliant review! I think this will be a miss for me!
    Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf recently posted…The Vanishing SeasonMy Profile

    • Aimee says

      The fact that she kissed 17 guys is okay, since they’re all in different times, but there was this one time she kissed 4 guys in the same night just to get back at her ex! WTF, Claire?

      Thanks, Zoe! Maybe if you still want to give it a try, I hope it turns out better for you!
      Christie recently posted…Monthly Recap: MarchMy Profile

  3. says

    Sometimes I wonder where authors get their ideas of high school and teenagers in general from. It’s so stupid to think that all high schools and people operate in the same way – just shows lack of research and understanding on their parts. This book doesn’t just sound misleading…but it sounds like a completely different book to the synopsis altogether!
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…Book Review: Disruption (Disruption #1) by Jessica ShirvingtonMy Profile

  4. says

    Eh. No thanks. >_<
    I'm just totally NOT interested in characters like that…plus the title actually intrigued me, because 17 FIRST kisses? Please, explain. So what is the point of the book…just how many people you can kiss before you're 18? Because this gal needs some more hobbies. Maybe cricket. Or paper mache. Something.
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Do We Have The Right To Criticise Authors?My Profile

  5. says

    I’m getting so sick of how “Queen Bees” and popular girls are written in young adult books. It’s so cliche and overdone. I wasn’t aware of anyone in my high school who acted THAT outrageously. *shrugs* The mixed reviews this book has been getting is making me wary to pick it up at all.
    Danielle @ Love at First Page recently posted…Review: See MeMy Profile

    • Aimee says

      Right? Gee, our school doesn’t even have cliques. We just hang out with whoever. :/ If you do read it, I sure hope you enjoy it better than I did!

  6. says

    Okay, so I only read the first two and last two paragraphs for fear of spoilers, but this book definitely sounds a bit disappointing! Well…at least the writing is good, right? Would have been pretty dang bad if the writing was terrible too.
    And dude, the blurb definitely makes it sound like the MC is naive and sweet and all that. Misleading blurbs are the worst -_-
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