Kasie West meets Morgan Matson in this hilarious and heartwarming debut about a girl’s summer mission to get over her ex-boyfriend by kissing her way through the alphabet.Getting dumped by her boyfriend is not how Veda planned on starting her summer. When Mark makes it clear that it’s over between them, Veda is heartbroken and humiliated—but, more importantly, she’s inspired. So she sets out on the love quest of a lifetime: use the summer to forget about Mark, to move on, and move up. All she has to do is kiss twenty-six boys with twenty-six different names—one for each letter of the alphabet. From the top of the Ferris wheel at her hometown carnival to the sandy dunes of Lake Michigan, Veda takes every opportunity she can to add kisses (and boys) to her list, and soon the break-up doesn’t sting quite as much. But just when Veda thinks she has the whole kissing thing figured out, she meets someone who turns her world upside down.
Reviewed: 2017-12-07Initial Impressions 2/10/16: 4.25 - 4.5 stars
This was SO cute and so much fun! Just the kind of book I needed right now and just so much fun to read. I loved Veda and all of her friends, the setting was delightful (a touristy town in the Michigan Dunes area), and the story was such a blast. I really liked how the kisses were handled and how Vee ended up feeling after each one of them. It was neat to see her on this road of self-discovery (as well as getting over her ex, which was the point of the 26 kisses challenge) and realizing how her decisions affect other people and not just herself.
The romance was really cute! I really appreciated that there was an attraction there but it was definitely not an insta-love thing. Vee really does like this guy and it was great to see the two of them really bring out the best in each other. Vee doesn't want to get into another relationship right away so she avoids falling for someone else and it was really nice to see that develop a bit slower for a change.
I also loved the family dynamics! Vee's family was awesome but she also struggles with her dad's new wife. She still has so much love for her baby half-sister and that was great to see her not resent the child that her dad had with another woman. I really loved how things got switched up to reflect the different possible outcomes and reactions in someone's life instead of heading straight for a stereotypical response.
The only thing I didn't like was the rumors of Veda going around after she started her kissing challenge. Obviously people will talk when they hear/see random kissing with multiple guys going on but I was upset that the word "slut" was thrown around, and I'm not one to ever really get upset about slut shaming. I feel like it could have been the same situation but without name-calling and the use of that word. (Also note that no one ever actually calls her a slut. She finds out about rumors and says it about herself because she's feeling guilty so maybe an important note to those who are very anti-slut shaming).
Overall, this book was SO cute and so much fun! It's definitely one I'll be recommending for fans of contemporary, especially those who like the feel-good romances. It's light and fun but not fluffy (there's plenty of substance) and really good things happening all around! I can't wait for more books from Anna Michels! I will definitely be reading them!
Full review as originally posted HERE on The Book Addict's Guide 4/25/16: I was looking for a cute new contemporary book when I decided to pick up 26 KISSES and admittedly was instantly attracted by the cover! I read it during a few cold February days and 26 KISSES instantly transported me to a warm and happy summer! The setting was delightfully familiar and vivid (summer in a small Michigan town in the dunes) and I could just picture myself there. The book was quick, fun, and super cute and I’m so glad that I read this one early so I can start recommending it to everyone!
26 KISSES is the story of Veda who just got dumped in the beginning of the summer before her senior year. Long story short, to help her get over her ex, best friend Mel devises a silly and fun game for Veda where she has to kiss her way through the alphabet (find a guy whose name begins with A, B, C, etc and kiss him in order). I was a bit wary at first because although I feel like a single girl can do whatever she wants, I was still hesitant about make-out sessions with so many guys (I know others have expressed these concerns as well). I was happy to discover that Anna Michels did a great job with the book and mixing things up, keeping things realistic, and keeping them grounded. Mel’s Alphabet Plan made any kiss fair game — on the hand, on the cheek, on the lips — and not all of them had to be romantic kisses to count (although that was her main plan). Some were silly, others were sweet, and others had reminded me of experiences of my own back in high school. I thought everything was very tastefully handled and very well done! Also important were Veda’s reactions to each kiss and how she felt after each one of them. From bliss to embarrassment to courage, each one helped Veda discover something about herself and gain a little bit more self-awareness.
The romance was really cute! I really liked Killian a lot and I felt like there was a lot to discover about him. I really appreciated how the relationship between Veda and Killian starts off as a friendship and then an attraction develops. They both sort of like each other right off the bat but I appreciated that they got to know each other, spend time together, and ended up kindling that little fire of attraction instead of straight up exploding their way into insta-love. The whole thing felt very natural and it was also super adorable! I always love when characters begin as friends and since Veda doesn’t want to jump into another relationship right away, the two end up getting to know each other more first before starting to let the feelings in.
I also really enjoyed the family and friend dynamic. Veda is going through a bit of a crisis in both departments as she notices her two best friends possibly falling for each other and tries to maintain balance in her family life. She doesn’t know how to react to Mel and Seth as they start to exhibit signs of attraction because she fears it’ll ruin the friendship dynamic. I loved how we really got to see her go through a range of reactions from feeling selfish to wanting her best friends to be happy and trying to figure out what the best thing for everyone was. I also loved the realistic family dynamic and how not everything fell into a stereotype. While Veda doesn’t like her new mother-in-law, she simply adores her half-sister and it was great to see that she didn’t resent her because she is the daughter of her dad’s new wife. There was also a wonderful relationship between Veda and her mother and how she and her brother end up trying to maintain that morale now that her dad is gone.
The only thing I wasn’t super keen on was the rumors of Veda going around after she started her kissing challenge. Obviously people will talk when they hear/see random kissing with multiple guys going on but I was upset that the word “slut” was thrown around, and I’m not one to ever really get upset about slut shaming. I feel like it could have been the same situation but without name-calling and the use of that word. (Also note that no one ever actually directly calls her a slut. She finds out about rumors and says it about herself because she’s feeling guilty so maybe an important note to those who are very anti-slut shaming).
Overall, 26 KISSES was SO cute and so much fun! It’s definitely one I’ll be recommending for fans of contemporary, especially those who like the feel-good romance authors like Kasie West and Stephanie Perkins. It’s light and fun but not fluffy (there’s plenty of substance) and really good things happening all around! I can’t wait for more books from Anna Michels! I will definitely be reading them!
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