My Last Kiss
by Bethany Neal
Original Publication Date: June 10, 2014
Length: 358 pages
Source: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is no way influenced my final opinion of the work.
Format Read In: E-ARC
View from the Traffic Light:
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.
My Last Kiss is one of those books I feel completely apathetic towards. I didn’t dislike reading it, but I didn’t exactly enjoy it either. It’s very middle-of-the-road as far as books go. Basically, My Last Kiss is the equivalent of a shrug. It was a fine ride, but it wasn’t memorable. It wasn’t boring, but it wasn’t exciting. Well, you get the idea.
After a brief introduction of Cassidy’s first kiss, the book opens with Cassidy’s death. The first third of My Last Kiss is Cassidy coming to terms with the fact that she’s a ghost now, the middle third is mainly Cassidy getting angsty postmortem about the state of her relationship right before she died, and the last third is where the mystery really becomes exciting. Not that the first half of this book was bad, necessarily, but it got tiring quickly. There were some really great scenes–the scene with Cassidy discovering her own body in the morgue is just really well-done. I didn’t care for Cassidy as a character yet at that point, because I didn’t know her, but it still made me feel all the same.
Other than that scene, though, I found the period of ghost-discovery in My Last Kiss kind of. . . dull. It takes some adjustment for Cassidy to come to terms with her death, which is understandable, but I thought the book just kind of dragged that out when it really could have gone right to the mystery of Cassidy’s death. Everyone thinks Cassidy’s death is a suicide, but she knows she wouldn’t do that. So the question becomes. . . who was on the bridge with her? Was she pushed? Did she fall?
While the larger mystery is going on, Cassidy’s also trying to restore her relationship with Ethan, her long-time boyfriend. Ethan’s the only one who knows she’s a ghost–he can talk to her and they can touch each other(with a good deal of effort on Cassidy’s part), but both of them know something was off with their relationship right before Cassidy died.
The relationship aspect could have been an interesting component of My Last Kiss, but unfortunately it didn’t really work. Cassidy is not the most sympathetic character at all times–which is fine–but Ethan is just bland. Their relationship just didn’t make sense to me. Not only because it was so one-sided in terms of putting work into the relationship(Ethan definitely appeared to work harder at it than Cassidy did), but because I had trouble believing the back story of how these characters stayed together. Since they had already been dating a long time before the events of My Last Kiss, for the story to work I needed the relationship to be more understandable than it was.
The one thing that kept me reading was the mystery. It was a pretty significant part of the book, but I would have gladly seen it take a larger role(over the Cassidy/Ethan relationship). That being said, it was thrilling. I was actually stumped right up until the big reveal, which pretty much never happens with suspenseful books. The last third of the book was definitely the highlight. I was having tons of trouble distinguishing the secondary characters midway through the book, but once the mystery took hold of the plot it became much easier, and I began to enjoy the story more. It was a fitting end and while I’m not head over heels with this book, it was a decent, but not that good, read.
My Last Kiss was okay. It wasn’t a bad way to pass the time, but I didn’t feel like there was anything special in the story, and there were enough things that annoyed me to keep me from truly liking it. The ghost reveals got old quickly and the relationship part often had me rolling my eyes. The mystery, however, was pretty great, which makes me sad it wasn’t surrounded by better subplots. 2/5 cupcakes.