Sunday, September 13, 2020

Review: Kissing Lessons by Sophie Jordan

Kissing Lessons
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 2nd, 2020

A steamy contemporary YA romance by New York Times best-selling author Sophie Jordan about a girl with a bad reputation giving lessons on how to attract guys for some extra cash—only to fall for her client’s golden-boy brother. For fans of Kami Garcia, Katie McGarry, and Netflix’s Sex Education.

Wild, beautiful, and (as rumor has it) experienced, Hayden Vargas doesn’t have time for love or relationships. She’s learned the hard way that the only person you can count on is yourself, and she’s hell-bent on earning enough money to leave her small, judgy Texas town as fast as possible. So when nerdy Emmaline Martin offers to pay Hayden for lessons in seduction, the money is so easy, there must be a catch. Enter the catch: Emmaline’s older brother, popular, all-around nice guy™ Nolan Martin, who doesn’t want his sister’s reputation tarnished by the school’s resident bad girl.

But Hayden should know that looks can be deceiving. Nolan may seem like a golden boy, but like Hayden, he has a few secrets of his own. And the more he meddles in her lessons with Emmaline, the more these polar opposites clash—and the more sparks fly. Turns out Nolan may have some lessons to teach Hayden, but only if she’s willing to learn.

My Review:
Kissing Lessons was such a cute story. I definitely enjoyed the story from the beginning until most of the end. I did have some issues that I will talk about, but overall I really enjoyed the story. I was very surprised when I looked at some of the reviews after I finished the book since they were leaning more towards dislike or very neutral opinions of this lovely story.

Hayden has a bit of a reputation as a bad girl that she definitely doesn't appreciate. When at a party she meets Nolan's sister Emmaline she never expects her life to change. Now Emma wants Hayden to teach her how to be more of an extravert. Emma has had a crush on Nolan's best-friend, Beau, for a long time and needs Hayden's help to get out of her brother's shadow.

I enjoyed this story a bunch. Hayden is the "bad girl" at school who just wants to move out of her mother's home and start living her life. She doesn't have time for friends, boyfriends, or anything outside of working and finishing school. When Nolan finally starts hanging out with Hayden she shines a huge light on how he's judged her throughout their time in school together for no other reason than other people did. I really enjoyed that aspect of the story and it felt particularly relevant right now.

Nolan and his family lost their father a couple years back and ever since Nolan has felt stuck. He's been with the same girl since his death. He hangs out with the same people and goes to the same parties despite not wanting to. Hayden chines a light on his life and relationships that felt well placed and not just out of nowhere. I liked Nolan and seeing his progression from typical "good guy" with a judgy stick up his butt to a more well-rounded character who realized he had a lot of growing to do.

My one issue with this story that lead me to drop this book from a full five stars or even a favorite position in my heart was the ending. The ending was an issue for me. It left off feeling incomplete. I may get a little spoilery here, so beware, but after Hayden had her stuff stolen I was expecting to see her struggle a bit with accepting friendship and a relationship with Nolan. That is not what happened and it left me feeling unsettled and disappointed. Hayden just seems to decide none of the boundaries between her and her friends' matters and we don't get any resolution on what she did to get her work and money back. It was a huge hit that Sophie Jordan just breezed or glazed over like it didn't matter and left me feeling like the story was unresolved and waiting for me when there wasn't anymore.

All that being said I enjoyed Kissing Lessons a lot and would be quick to recommend the story. The pacing was well done. I liked how the story didn't go the way I thought it was going to go (not the ending), and I enjoyed the amazing cast of characters and plot that were very well written.

Sophie Jordan grew up in the Texas hill country where she wove fantasies of dragons, warriors, and princesses. A former high school English teacher, she's also the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Avon historical romances. She now lives in Houston with her family. When she's not writing, she spends her time overloading on caffeine (lattes and Diet cherry Coke preferred), talking plotlines with anyone who will listen (including her kids), and cramming her DVR with true-crime and reality-TV shows. Sophie also writes paranormal romances under the name Sharie Kohler.

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