My Last Kiss
Genre: Mystery, YA
Publication date: June 10th 2014
by Farrar Straus and Giroux (BYR)
What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy?
Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss--the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died--is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn't a suicide as everyone assumes. She can't remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she's worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend.
If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she'll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made--good and bad--that led to her last kiss.
Bethany Neal's suspenseful debut novel is about the power of first love and the haunting lies that threaten to tear it apart.
-A copy was provided by Raincoast Books for review-
I’m beginning to think that YA murder mysteries just aren’t the thing for me. Movies filled with twists and turns and murder, yes please! But for some reason it just never feels like it is pulled off as well in book form. My Last Kiss is basically a murder mystery featuring stupid decisions and supercharged teen hormones that had me cringing at the explanation behind everything that happens.
We start the book off seeing MC Cassidy’s very first kiss that she shared on a bridge with the boy she liked Ethan. Once that chapter is over we are taken for a quick turn as we realize we are still Cassidy only she is no longer in her body and is a ghost trying to solve the case of her murder. The last few weeks leading up to her death (where she fell off the bridge from the first chapter) are a complete blur and she has to follow her friends and family around to piece together what happened. This sounds so cool, right? It was! I really enjoyed seeing Cassidy explore her new existence and find out what she was capable of and what she was no longer capable of. Things are thrown for a another quick turn when she realizes that Ethan (who at the time of her death had been her boyfriend for 3 years) can see her in her ghostly form and even make physical contact with her. Suffice it to say this little tidbit of luck helps her move along in solving what happened to her pretty nicely.
In the beginning of the book we get to see her check on everyone that she knew when she was alive. Seeing how they are coping after her death was great and I loved getting to see it all from the eyes of the dead girl (yes, Blunt is my middle name.) Normally we see it from the perspective of someone who knew the person who died but seeing it from the eyes of the deceased allowed for there to be a certain… lightness to it. What I mean is, Cassidy was able to crack jokes about her death and her newfound abilities so it made the novel a lot less bleak than stories with dead teens are usually. We also get to see first hand the details of what Cassidy was up to in the weeks leading up to her death as the memories come to her. The incorporation of the memories into the story was really cool because she would be taken into the memory in a really unique way. One thing that didn’t work too well for me is the jumpiness of the timeframes of these memories. In the beginning she would go back to memories she had of her girlfriends from junior high or with her boyfriend and it took me a bit to place what timeframe I was reading about. Not helping this matter is the fact that Cassidy’s first and last kiss were on the very same bridge that she died on so pinpointing exactly what instance we were reading about took some time for me at some parts. Once the memories started focussing more-so on the party that took place the night of her death I didn’t struggle with the jumps at all.
Something that left me quite underwhelmed with My Last Kiss was the intricate love web that is weaved and that essentially leads to Cassidy’s death. Friends having crushes on friends, cheating scandals and asshole jocks making moves when they shouldn’t is essentially the basis of everything that happens. It all felt very over-the-top-drama to me and was far too predictable. About halfway through you really see the pieces of the big picture start to show up and piecing them together was something that I was able to do right off the bat. I did hope for a twist that would take my by surprise in the end but unfortunately that didn’t happen.
I do think that My Last Kiss is a very unique take on the usual whodunnit thriller but it isn’t one that I think is really all that remarkable in any way. If you’re looking for something that is entertaining even though it is rather predictable then I think you could enjoy it.