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.
17 First Kisses is set around Claire, one of the four Mean Girls (kind, sorta) at her high school, only these aren’t your every day, typical little senior clique girls. Allen provides an interesting perspective of what it is to be seen as the popular girl from the outside looking in and what it actually is to be one of these socially gifted people. Almost always, popularity is associated with negativity, and while I can admittedly see the reasoning behind that sort of thing, it’s nice to finally see things in a new light. I like that for once, our clique didn’t consist of a bunch of cookie cutter girls, seeing as Megan is on the soccer team and has more muscles than she does curves.
I will say that 17 First Kisses left me surprised. For half of the novel, I was convinced Sam was Claire’s soulmate and then at other times I was sure that she would begrudgingly end up with Luke, who obviously had no problem splitting his time between Claire and her best friend. He was such a douche and even though I could see that, I hated Claire’s blindness for quite some time. This brings me to Claire and Megan’s friendship, which was ridiculously not right. For someone who had no problem setting an potentially psychically abusive boy aside, she sure did have a hard time seeing that her best friend was a selfish home wrecking slut. After finishing the novel, I’m still convinced that this girl had no other concerns than herself and herself alone. Sam, on the other hand, was the best friend any girl could have, opposite sex or not. If Allen had made the novel more catered to Claire and Sam’s relationship, I can honestly say this book would have been much more enjoyable.
While I wasn’t too enthusiastic about the open-ending because I love Sam with my eternally bleeding heart, I will say that it fit the story line and made sense in the place that Claire was at the end. While I doubt Rachael Allen had plans to move this story forward from where it was left off, I do hope that she chooses to do so anyways. I’d love to see where Claire ends up romantically and, also, whatever becomes of Megan just because I’m sure that relationship is destined to crash.
I really did enjoy this novel, but I wish some things would have been tweaked. Anyone looking for a humorous summer read about the hardships of being a teen will love 17 First Kisses.