5/27/2021 2 Comments
Kiss and Repeat by Heather Truett
This is an awkward, heartwarming, moving and authentic YA coming-of-age story of a teenage boy with Tourette’s Syndrome dealing with girls, kissing, first love and all its confusions. I really appreciated the neurodivergent perspective and the insights to the frustrations and problems with anxiety and uncontrollable tics. It was such a raw and honest portrait of a shy and socially awkward, yet strong and brave, teenager trying to figure out life and love, even though the means to an end were a bit unconventional.
The story follows Stephen Luckie, who’s always been feeling different and awkward and who’s been bullied for most parts of his life due to his tics caused by Tourette’s Syndrome. But at a party his best friend forces him to go to, a spinning-the-bottle game makes him get kissed by a girl for the first time. Much to his surprise, he finds that while kissing his body goes still and there are no awkward tics at all. His friend therefore comes up with the brilliant plan to treat this as an experiment and get Stephen to kiss as many girls as he can to prove the theory that he is tic-free when kissing someone. But the experiment soon gets out of hand, and Stephen ends up with two girls interested in him for real, and having to question what kind of person he is to take advantage of others for his own gain without respect for their feelings.
I really enjoyed the different concept of the story, and the insights to what life is like for a teenager with Tourette’s Syndrome. But I have to admit that I didn’t always understand or agree with the choices Stephen made or how he reacted. There were so many times I blushed and squealed at all the embarrassing things he did. The selfish and immature way he acted in some situations also made him a little less likable as a main character unfortunately. There were so many times I wanted to say the words that Stephen’s dad told him:
“It’s about time you grow up and take responsibility for your actions, Stephen. You have to quit using your Tourette’s as a crutch.”
But on the other hand, I’m so glad that Heather Truett allowed Stephen to completely be himself that way, not shying away from his flaws and less likable traits, and letting him go through real-life problems with anxiety, lack of confidence, bad judgment and heart-break. I just wished that Stephen would have behaved a little more honorable and been a more likable character, and that I had felt more invested in the love story. I think there would have needed some more chemistry and that Stephen’s love interest would have been a more multidimensional character to root for. Unfortunately, all the other characters besides Stephen were stereotypes and one-dimensional with little character development.
But all in all, Kiss and Repeat was a great insight into the life of a neurodivergent teenager, with a fun and different plot and a fresh take with a male protagonist in a YA romance.
Thank you Xpresso Book Tours and NetGalley for the ARC and blog tour invitation for this wonderful book! All opinions are my own and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
3.5 adorkable stars rounding up to 4.
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