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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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.G. Drews Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Rhiannon Wilde River Braun Roan Parrish Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Saundra Mitchell Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophie Gonzales Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tamara Girardi Teagan Hunter Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez