BOOK REVIEW: The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles

The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles - A Review

I don't doubt nearly all of you have heard of this book written by Wattpad sensation Beth Reekles who at the age of 17 had her novel The Kissing Booth published by Random House in 2013. Isn't that what we all dream about here on Movellas? I first read it on the site many years ago and loved it, so years later here I am buying the book for the first time having almost entirely forgotten what happened in the online version. Will it still sit in my mind as the brilliant read my fourteen year old self spent hours into the night reading? Well I read it again to find out... Four years later.

The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles

To start, let me say what expectations I had going in -

I read The Kissing Booth near the beginning of my years on wattpad, so that was roughly four to five years ago now. Out of all books I read on there - and there were so many - The Kissing Booth was one I'd repeatedly recommend to new users, it was one I found myself coming back to, and although wattpad and other writing sites aren't the best for qaulity The Kissing Booth simply felt superior despite it being written by Beth Reekles who at the time would have been no older than fourteen.

That's not to say it was actually superior; I myself was thirteen years old and even now I'm the worst for spotting errors and so none of that ever bothered me. And maybe because I read exclusively on wattpad, I could appreciate what I now see as lacking and dull writing because I never read any different. That's a big reason as to why now I'm revisitng The Kissing Booth in published form, to see exactly what I loved so much about it and if it really is something to rave about like I had before.

 

The Review...

​I began reading the book in high hopes, but as the first few pages turned I quickly realised I'd long grown out of the target audience and then tried to let out the inner tween who I knew would enjoy this a lot more than me. Unfortunatly that became harder as the words went on. The flaws began with the characters...

​To start, one thing that greatly irritated me was the multiple names for the main character. Her name is Rochelle, most people call her Elle, and some also call her Shelly. I couldn't recall that being a thing in the online version, but whether it was or wasn't I did feel like it was an unnecessary thing to do. The male protagonist is called Noah, and he too goes by a different name - his surname. Only Rochelle calls him Noah. I would quote the reason but I simply can't be bothered and I can vaguely recall it being around the subject of Noah not sounding cool enough. Whatever.

​The character of Rochelle was likable enough, but I did find her too quick to react and less reasonable than I'd have prefered. She's described as being neither popular nor unpoular, a bit of a drifter with her friend Lee who talks to everybody. Maybe my slight dislike is also because I'm reading about a sixteen year old girl in a teen fiction novel [Duh, of course that's the reason], but nevertheless she wasn't half as irritating as Noah Flynn.

​Noah Flynn is a year older than Rochelle, and they know each other through Lee Flynn, Noah's younger brother and Rochelle's best friend. Noah has never taken any interest in Rochelle and vice versa. Fair doos. Rochelle paints him before we meet him as a 'player', a 'violence junkie', and an all-round bad boy despite her later saying that he never really has girlfriends and realistically isn't actually much of a player.​ The girls at school go mad for him, but none are interested in him long term because of his reputation - which he quite frankly brings on himself. He's portrayed through the novel as overbearing, emotonally unstable, and someone with a very short fuse. The main character and himself frequently argue, don't seem to get on, and that's that.

​...Until The Kissing Booth.

​Lee and Rochelle are on the student council and are tasked with coming up with a booth for a fair. After much consideration, they come up with a kissing booth idea. They get started on it fairly quickly and a few chapters it, all the girls in school are asking Rochelle to convince Noah Flynn to get behind the kissing booth. Rochelle asks, being the nice-nice character she is but she's immedaitly shot down. As a compromise, she asks he at least attends as a customer to appease the hoards of fan girls who drool over the player, violence junkie, eighteen year-old Noah Flynn who rides a motorcycle. He doesn't promise anything.

​In the days leading up to the fair, Rochelle attends a party with Lee and Noah and she gets drunk. It appears to be a common thing for the character as it isn't said to the first time or even out of the norm. One of the first things she does is tries to strip off in front of all the boys on the pool table, only to be dragged down by Noah who at this point is playing the frienemy that's doing nice things but still wants to argue with you. Other parties occur throughout the novel, some with and without drink and on a few occassions any guys who try and hit on Rochelle get a swift punch to the face by violence junkie Noah who at any of these points hasn't professed any hint of a confession yet and Rochelle simple assumes he's an over protective brother figure.

​Meanwhile she also finds out everyone but her knows that Noah has been telling every boy in school to stay away from Rochelle, which to her explains why she's never been on a date, never had a boyfriend, never been kissed. Understandably she's mad, and this act further adds to the WTF factor that runs along with Noah Flynn's character, tied neatly in a box of violence, emotional unstability, and controlling nature.

All the parents in this novel seem to be absent, by the way. They're there just to make sense, but other than that they nearly always seem to be conveniently absent and when they are around, little do they question or get mad at the antics of their children.

​So, The Kissing Booth rolls around and it's from there that Rochelle and Noah start messing around together. A girl on the kissing booth conveniently chickens out when she sees Noah in the queue, but by the time never-been-kissed Rochelle is forcibly sat down on the chair it's too late for her to back out when she spots him approaching her. Now Rochelle has crushed on Noah forever (lord knows why) and of course she's nervous but all for it when Noah's lips come closer and then ensues what is described as a make-out session in front of the queue, Noah's brother, and the other girls on the kissing booth.

​After all that is over and the fair wraps up, Rochelle just wants to go home but her wonderful best friend Lee ditches her for another lady friend and obliviously - ​yeah, right - tells Rochelle that Noah will be taking her home... On his motorcycle.

​Rochelle insists on getting dropped off at Lee and Noah's house because she can't stand the cycle, and goes in for a few minutes. There they kiss again, and then there's the beginning on their little secret affair that Rochelle insists on keeping secret from Lee - who previous has said she doesn't want Rochelle and Noah dating in case it effects their friendship. But Rochelle doesn't seem to care. She doesn't seem to care about anything... I mean, seeing as she doesn't care about secretly dating a 'violence-junkie' as she calls him - a man who seems controlling enough to both pysically and emotionally abuse her, why would she care about hurting her best friend? Even Lee doesn't trust Noah not to be abusive, which is shown in one scene when Rochelle hurts her face and he accuses Noah of hitting her. Although that's not the case, it does show the amount of trust people have in him.

​Just a mere week later they've had sex. Rochelle sure moves quick, even if she has known the guy her whole life. He hasn't exactly been a good guy her whole life though, has he?

​I'm not going to talk more of the plot, because it can be appreciated by those in a younger audience than me but I do have to commend the realistic and unique ending to the story. It's not a happily ever after, and I like that.

​The writing itself was quicker paced than I'd have liked and found transtions between loacations to be faster than I'm used to - also perhaps because as of recent I'm used to reading older novels. The writing itself was otherwise fine. There was nothing not to enjoy other than sometimes glaringly obvious mistakes that even I caught. I began to doubt that this had been edited much. For example, the word 'percent' was written as 'per cent' about five times on the same page. I'd even taken a picture of a specific line that read 'he have asked' which clearly should have been written as 'he had asked'. Basic grammar was okay, but obvious mistakes like those were abundant. I had to check twice that this was published by Random House. This was no fault of the author when the publisher should have caught all this in the publishing process. That really annoyed me.

​My Rating? 2 1/2 stars

★★☆✩✩

I give The Kissing Booth two and a half stars because I understand that the story just wasn't for me, especially now at my age, and also because I can appreciate the effort the author must have put in especially being a teenager like us. I contemplated giving it three stars but I kept getting reminded of Noah and how much I disliked his character. I don't feel comfortable putting people like him in high places - he isn't someone for young girls in real life to adore and admire. I also couldn't give it more due to lack of proofreading.

​On one hand I recommend this to an audience of 13 plus but on the other I don't really recommend this at all...

 

​What's Next?

​My next review is likely to be on Demien by Herman Hesse or The Far Pavillions by M.M. Kaye.

​Thanks for reading!

(And I totally don't apologise for the proofreading I didn't do for this blog - if Random House can get away with it, I can too!)

 

 

 

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