1. The author, Bethany Neal, is from Ann Arbor. I’m all for supporting local(ish) writers.
2. The store owner at Source Booksellers asked me to do a review of it.
First impressions: The cover design is wonderfully modern. Upon reading the teaser at the top of the cover, I thought this would be about a stalker. Stalkers? I’m all for reading about that!
Unfortunately, this wasn’t a book about a stalker, not exactly… (spoilers below)
This book is about a girl who dies, and spends 300 pages trying to figure out who killed her.
Interior: The narration was choppy. The author spends a lot of time moving back and forth between the heroine’s current afterlife, and remembering the events leading up to her death. Maybe this is a personal preference, but I didn’t like the anti-climatic feeling of knowing the main character was dead already. Have we seen this premise before? Yes, The Lovely Bones did it. But The Lovely Bones has a smoother narration than My Last Kiss, and that’s why it doesn’t work this time.
I returned the book to Source Booksellers shortly after picking it up, and talked to one of the workers there. They had read it too, and we both agreed we couldn’t get very far in the book at all. I stopped at around page 40. The other woman stopped at page 20. Both of us felt it was too immature to see a debut, and needed additional revisions before it made its way to a bookshelf.
Would a teenager be interested in reading My Last Kiss, seeing as they’re the target audience for this book? Yes, but they’d still complain about the writing quality. Kids aren’t stupid; if you can charge them with reading The Scarlet Letter, I’m pretty sure they can tell what good writing is and isn’t. I remember having to read The Scarlet Letter in high school, and thinking, “Why the hell am I being told to read something that’s basically an episode of Jerry Springer?”.
Still, congratulations to Neal on getting her writing career started. The length of My Last Kiss was impressive, and that’s to be commended. I’m sure we’ll see many more books from her in the future.
(I should note that Jaime might have a different opinion of this book than I did.)
You can check out My Last Kiss on Amazon.
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