Title: How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You by Tara Eglington
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin/Thomas Dunne
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance, Humor
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Sweet sixteen and never been kissed . . .
That’s Aurora Skye’s big secret. And the way she wants it to stay. She’s not going to give away her first kiss to just anyone. Busy dodging suitors and matchmaking for her best friends, Aurora (not so) patiently awaits her prince.
But everything changes when Aurora is coerced into a lead role in the school production of Much Ado about Nothing. Which means she’ll have to lock lips with her co-star Hayden Paris—the smart and funny boy next door who also happens to be the bane of her existence, always around to see her at her worst.
Now Aurora is more determined than ever to have her first kiss with the one who’s truly worthy of it. But first she’ll have to figure out just who that person is.
Romantic and funny, Tara Eglington’s How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You is a feel-good tale of finding love where you least expect it.
How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You by Tara Eglington is a cute, giggle-inducing young adult romance with a (mostly) fantastic cast of female characters.
With a fairy tale view of romance, Aurora Skye expends a lot of energy avoiding parceling out goodnight kisses to her dates. With an arsenal of evasive maneuvers at her fingertips, she is waiting to bestow her first kiss on her “Prince” much to the amusement of her next door neighbor and personal nemesis Hayden Paris. Despite never having been in a relationship, Aurora dispenses plenty of romance advice to her close circle of friends. Aurora is the teensiest bit annoying since she is a little controlling, a lot nosy and a tad irrational where Hayden is concerned, but she is surprisingly likable. She is loyal, protective and willing to do just about anything to make her friends and family happy. Although she is popular and well-liked, Aurora is not a “mean girl” and she is willing to stand up for anyone she thinks is being treated unfairly. All in all, she is an all around enjoyable and sympathetic character despite her faults.
The secondary cast of characters is fairly large but they are well-developed and relatable. Cassie Shields is Aurora’s best friend and she always has Aurora’s back. Their other close friend Jelena Cantrill is trifle shallow and a wee self-centered, but she offers a nice foil for Aurora’s niceness. Lindsay is in the midst of a sudden break up with her long term boyfriend Tyler and with Aurora’s advice, she is rediscovering her individuality while resisting Tyler’s attempts to reconcile.
Landing the lead role of Beatrice in the school play Much Ado about Nothing takes Aurora out of her comfort zone and puts her in near daily contact with Hayden, who is playing Benedick. No one can understand her sudden dislike of the boy who was at one time her closest friend and she is incredibly prickly with him every time their paths cross. Hayden is a genuinely nice young man who always shrugs off Aurora’s unpleasantness and offers her shoulder to cry on when she needs one. As the premiere of the play looms ever closer, so does the all important kiss between Beatrice and Benedick, and hilarious hijinks ensue as Aurora tries to avoid giving her first kiss to anyone other than her “Prince”.
Although How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You is a light-hearted young adult novel, Tara Eglington does manage to impart a few serious messages to readers. While Aurora’s desire to wait for her first kiss seems a little silly, the idea behind not wasting her first kiss on someone who does not like or respect her is actually quite refreshing. In a time when casual relationships are the norm, it is nice to see that she wants her first kiss to have significance. The other important lesson stems from the storyline involving Lindsay’s breakup with Tyler and how their lives were so enmeshed while they were dating that they were essentially viewed as one person. The time apart provides Lindsay the opportunity to embrace her independence while discovering the things she enjoys doing on her own. And last but not least, Aurora does not let a misunderstanding destroy a friendship and she demonstrates the importance of forgiveness even when suffering from hurt feelings.
How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You by Tara Eglington is an engaging and entertaining young adult novel. With a cast of appealing characters, a humor-filled storyline and subtle yet important messages, this fast-paced story will charm readers of all ages.