my last kiss book coverReviewed by Sarah Lelonek

Some books I really enjoy up until the end. Others are a giant let down and I chastise myself for speeding through the book to get to an ending that only disappoints. My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal falls into the latter category. The story starts off on a path that I have seen in many different books. A girl wakes up as a ghost and has no idea how she died. The girl must then “haunt” her friends and family in order to find out the truth so she can pass on. What was different in this book is that the main character, Cassidy, can actually communicate with one of the live characters. I was hoping that this book would end in a different manner than books like A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb or Between by Jessica Warman; instead, My Last Kiss ended just how I thought it would and offered no originality to the ghost genre.

Cassidy, a high school student, wakes up dead the day after her birthday party. While she can see her “other body,” Cassidy cannot touch it nor can she read the note that’s in her other body’s hand. Cassidy is left with no real memories of the past few weeks and no idea why she is dead. Soon after waking up as a ghost, Cassidy starts remembering a boy from her past who caused her to lie to her long-time boyfriend, Ethan. The story follows Cassidy as she learns about the web of lies she spun around herself, her friends, and Ethan.

I’m not going to lie. I did enjoy this book. I like young adult drama in the sense that I can look at it and realize the fickleness of it all. The characters were pretty well developed, however, there were entirely too many characters. Also, Cassidy’s family was downplayed significantly as the novel progressed, which I thought was odd. The premise of the book, what if your last kiss was with the wrong boy, had little to do with the actual plot. I thought there would be some element hanging on this elusive last kiss, but alas, it was just a gimmick to get people to read the book.

Like I said before, My Last Kiss is an enjoyable read up until the end. I felt like I was reading a less involved version of better young adult novels about ghosts. I also found the twist that Cassidy could be seen by one person close to her a letdown. Nothing interesting came from this ghost-human relationship. I think the novel was too concerned with petty lies, such as the popular Pretty Little Liars series, and forgot to show some originality. If you’re looking for a throwback read, this might be good for you. If you’re looking for substance within an after-life centered stand alone novel, I would suggest the books I mentioned earlier.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Sarah Emily Lelonek has a BA in English Literature from Kent State University. She is currently enrolled at Tiffin University in their Master’s of Education program. She enjoys traveling and gaming while on breaks from working on her novel.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Macmillan. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.