Monday 27 July 2015

21 Stolen Kisses, Lauren Blakely

Pages: 251
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark
Release Date: 26th May 2015
Edition: Kindle e-book, purchased

Other Titles by this Author: Caught Up in Love series, Seductive Nights series

When I first met him I resisted.
Like any forbidden love, I told myself he was a crush, and it would pass.
It was a lie. It never faded.

And I never expected he would fall for me just as hard.

There were so many reasons that should have kept up apart, least of all, the decade that separated us. Growing up in New York City I learned early on that love is a double-edged sword. Love broke up my parents, love took away my friends, and love – the big, intense, never-been-like-this-before love – landed me in therapy. Now I’m heading to college, and it’s time to give love a clean slate again. But, can I still really start over when he’s still in my life? Because the one man I’ve always wanted, is the only one I can’t have… And he wants me just as fiercely.

Can I settle for anything less that the love of my life?

I always find the novels that come from Bloomsbury Spark to be fun, easy, quick to read and brilliant for easing me out of a slump. 21 Stolen Kisses was no exception.

Before I go into the review properly I just have to say how not quite true the synopsis for this novel is: love didn’t land her in therapy, her dad sent her; she’s still in high school with about nine months until college; she has no intention of a clean slate and there’s eight years between them, not ten. I know it sounds silly to pick on that, but it does get on my nerves a little when the synopsis and actual content of the novel don’t match up!

I was fully prepared for 21 Stolen Kisses to be a student/teacher romance, but it’s not, and I was pleasantly surprised by the nature of Kennedy and Noah’s relationship. It was definitely something I’ve not come across before and I really enjoyed the new dynamic it lent to their relationship and the possible ramifications if knowledge of their relationship got out. I’m always a sucker for the combination of swoon, sweetness and potential disaster! When I started to think about their relationship I couldn’t decide how I felt about it, but I definitely felt their connection while I was reading and I decided that that was enough for me. There’s a real palpable chemistry between Kennedy and Noah and the dual narrative made sure that came from both sides.

Letters are of huge importance in this novel and I really loved the way they were woven into the story. As well as Kennedy dispensing copies of famous love letters across New York City, they are also interspersed in the narrative. Kennedy writes Noah a love letter, detailing their 21 stolen kisses and kisses she wants them to have in the future and excerpts of this letter are peppered between chapters throughout and I think it’s a brilliant idea. It really tied the story and the ideas of the novel together beautifully.

Through the love letters, the adoration that Kennedy (and Lauren Blakely, I suspect!) have for NYC came across so strongly. It made me so sad to read about that city that after a single visit, I’m head over heels in love with and desperate to return to. It’s always lovely to read about places that you’ve been and can vividly draw to mind and it’s even better when something like a Broadway show – something I’d dreamed of since I was little – came up in the novel and they went to the theatre that I did. It gave me a happy-sad.

I have to admit that throughout it all I was waiting for everything to come crashing down, and of course, it did. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had expected. Then Kennedy made a seemingly convenient decision, which I actually ended up really respecting. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it’s rare for characters of YA to make sure mature, thoughtful decisions when they’re wrapped up in intense love affairs and I liked it a lot. (And I liked the eventual happily ever after even more!)

21 Stolen Kisses is a swoony love letter to Broadway, New York City and love itself. A lovely read.


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