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Kiss Me First

3.39  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,532 Ratings  ·  582 Reviews
A chilling and intense first novel, the story of a solitary young woman drawn into an online world run by a charismatic web guru who entices her into impersonating a glamorous but desperate woman.

When Leila discovers the Web site Red Pill, she feels she has finally found people who understand her. A sheltered young woman raised by her mother, Leila has often struggled to
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published July 9th 2013 by Doubleday (first published February 1st 2007)
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Female Psychological Thrillers/Suspense
52nd out of 494 books — 1,355 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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TOO HOT TO WRITE PROPER REVIEWS... But I have to write something down about this book, because I loved it and if I wait much longer I'm going to forget everything I enjoyed about it.

Leila is a young woman in her early twenties who has led something of a sheltered life, devoted to caring for her beloved mother, who suffers from multiple sclerosis. Shortly after the two of them buy a (rather disgusting and run-down) flat as an investment for Leila's future, her mother passes away, and Leila retrea
Nov 30, 2014 Carol rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-audible
I loved this creepy, compelling, atypical suspense novel! I was engrossed in the story from beginning to end.

Leila is extremely bright but a most unreliable narrator as she is sorely unperceptive and socially inept. She has led a private existence with few (if any) close friends. Her only intimate relationship was with her mother (with MS) and she has died as the novel begins. So, Adrian, a menacing but charismatic computer chat room founder, easily targets and then grooms Leila to impersonate a
Jul 27, 2013 Andrew rated it it was ok
The idea, in a nutshell, was this: The woman—Tess—would inform her family and friends that she intended to move abroad to start a new life in some distant, inaccessible place. She would hand over to me all the information I would need to convincingly impersonate her online, from passwords to biographical information. Then, on the day of her “flight,” she would disappear somewhere and dispose of herself in a discreet manner, handing the reins of her life over to me. From then on I would assume he ...more
Nov 27, 2013 B.reader rated it liked it
Really, really liked the idea and the first 8/10ths of this book. I love the idea of unreliable narrators, and this narrator was pitch-perfect. As a reader, I didn't like her but I was interested in her, which I find a necessity when the protagonist is pretty much unlikeable. I think that the idea of getting sucked in to someone else's life via the internet is plausible and all too real, and most of the book I found absolutely chilling.

However, the ending almost completely ruined the book for me
Jul 14, 2013 Anne rated it it was amazing
Every so often a book comes along that hooks you from the very first page. This one was an extremely accomplished first novel that I read in one enjoyable sitting, mesmerised by the turns and twists in the story and absolute fascination with the character of Leila. “Unputdownable” is an overused expression – but this book really is!

Leila is the narrator, telling the story after it happened. She is a solitary individual, having worked from home in IT testing while looking after her dying mother.
Jul 18, 2013 Alia rated it really liked it
KISS ME FIRST is so accomplished and affecting it's hard to believe it's a debut. Most simply put, it's a literary thriller about a suicide cult and identity theft, which makes this book sound rather cheesy, a gimmick propelled by cyberparanoia. It's not, and I say this as someone whose eyes glaze over at the mention of cyberpunk. At the center of the story is a deliciously unreliable narrator named Leila, a loner who spends a lot time online. Moggach is too sophisticated of a writer to give her ...more
Sep 23, 2013 Lis rated it it was amazing
What an interesting new writer! I will read whatever she writes next.
This book's plot is unusual (the narrator/main character is an intelligent but naive and socially isolated misfit - Leila - who is persuaded to assist a psychopath who runs a suicide-assistance cult - by pretending to "be" the online persona of Tess, who he is persuading to commit suicide, in order to create the illusion that Tess is still alive after her death.)
I really enjoyed the unfolding of Leila's character and how the
We've all seen or heard those commercials warning us about predators just waiting and luring on-line to steal our identity.

But what if instead of stealing your identity, you wanted someone else to assume your identity to protect your family and friends from the truth that you'd decided to shuffle off this mortal coil?

That's the premise of Lottie Moggach's fascinating novel Kiss Me First. An avid World of Warcraft fan, Leila is used to the idea of on-line role playing. After discovering the philo
May 01, 2013 Andrew rated it liked it
Party girl wants to commit suicide and hires geek girl to impersonate her online afterwards. Expect a few twists and impending disaster. Hidden inside the thriller is a commentary-lite on (post-modern?) identity, suicide, euthanasia, free will, and responsibility. So we have a highish-brow thriller. The author tries hard to leave a lot of ambiguity in the plot, but, I feel, brought it to slightly tidier an ending than it wanted. Debut-author insecurity or editorial pressure? Anyway, it is a page ...more
Wendy Darling
3.5 stars Fascinating, and not what I expected, both good and bad. I have no problems at all with the "unlikeability" of the narrator, and while the dispassionate writing style isn't my favorite, it could be a deliberate choice given the subject of the novel. It does lag a bit here and there, and I think it could have used more tension and emotional stakes. And smoothing out if some of those loose ends, even if they're not neatly clipped. But ultimately, this kept my interest and is worth checki ...more
Apr 06, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
Someone gave me an ARC of this, which comes out in July. I don't usually get into reading stuff long before it is out, because I'm such a whore for book reviews. How will I know a book is worth my time without Publisher's Weekly telling me so? But one of the blurbs called it something like Patricia Highsmith for the Facebook age, so I decided to live dangerously. While the blurb may have been a bit over-the-top, this was a really original page-turner that gets under your skin. I could see this b ...more
Katey Lovell
Jul 05, 2013 Katey Lovell rated it really liked it
Lottie Moggach, daughter of author Deborah Moggach of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel fame, really is an exciting prospect. Her debut novel Kiss Me First is original and fresh, with an unsettling and thought provoking plot.

Leila lives in a poky London flat where she is detached from society. She spends most of her time on a philosophy debating website called 'Red Pill', the one place where she feels she is respected and valued. Through the website Leila is put in touch with Tess. Tess wants to co
Leila spends most of her life on the Internet, one day she finds a forum called Red Pill, which discusses philosophical ideas. She feels at home on this site and becomes a regular contributor. One day the creator of the site approaches her with a secret project. Tess is looking for a way to end her life without hurting her friends and family. She asks Leila to continue her online life for her so she can slip away from the world unnoticed.

This will be a hard book to review and I will try not to g
Mar 25, 2016 Cher rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars - It was alright, an average book.

It would seem that the folks that are shelving this one as a mystery/thriller have not yet read it. In actuality it is a slow moving philosophical character study. This one could possibly make for interesting discussion in a book club, but it is a bit too strange and far fetched to be a pleasurable read.
First Sentence: It was a Friday night, about nine weeks into the project.
C.J. Lines
Jan 28, 2014 C.J. Lines rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kiss Me First is a hard book to define. If I had to give a snappy one-liner I'd say it was Daphne Du Maurier writing an episode of Catfish (and, given how much I enjoy both of these things, it goes without saying that I loved it). On the cover, Harper's Bazaar describes if "The first thriller to truly tackle a life lived online" which is also a good start. As a thriller, Kiss Me First is as addictive as any I've read. There is an engaging mystery and its perfect structure reveals pieces of the p ...more
Kate Brown
May 30, 2013 Kate Brown rated it it was amazing
A fresh, edgy psychological thriller which questions everything we believe about identity and trust. When Leila is asked by charismatic Mr Dervish to assume Tess's online identity so that no-one will know she has gone, he says 'think of it as acting like a dimmer switch on her life'.

Leila is a gloriously naive - and unreliable - narrator. Moggach cleverly counterpoints a woman who has lived life to the full and now wishes to disappear with a girl whose virtual life is more vivid than the world
Jenny Shank
Jul 22, 2013 Jenny Shank rated it really liked it

(Note: don't judge this book by its cover. The cover is stupid, and after reading it, I don't have the vaguest idea how the cover image relates to the book itself.)

By JENNY SHANK Special Contributor, Dallas Morning News
Published: 13 July 2013 03:08 PM

A young rationalist named Leila narrates Lottie Moggach’s smart, absorbing debut Kiss Me First, which explores the nature of real and virtual relationships. Leila details her unusual relationship with Tess, wh
Grace Jolliffe
Aug 09, 2013 Grace Jolliffe rated it liked it
Kiss Me First is a first book from Lottie Moggach. I note that she is a daughter of Deborah Moggach whose books I enjoy. However, that is not the reason I bought this book. I bought this book because of the premise.
What is really striking about the book is that it is narrated by an ‘unlikeable’ female character.

I didn’t find her unlikeable, In fact I quite enjoyed reading about her logical way of perceiving the world and the way she noticed how ‘likeable’ people in her world value hypocrisy and
Jul 09, 2013 Lora rated it liked it
Twenty-something Leila is socially awkward and friendless. She is even more alone when her mother dies. After moving to a new flat in another part of London, she gets involved in a website called Red Pill, where the members debate philosophical issues. The creator of the site, a man named Adrian, approaches Leila, asking her if she would be interested in helping a woman named Tess who wants to commit suicide. Leila's job would be to impersonate Tess online to her family and friends to make them ...more
Jul 05, 2013 Anne rated it really liked it
Although a fairly short novel at just under 300 pages (in the proof copy), it took me longer than usual to read. There is an intensity about the story, the characters and the writing that at times felt almost suffocating. The reader is thrust into the isolated, fairly strange world of Leila. Leila is our narrator and although she does realise that there is more than one side to every story, we readers only hear her side to this particular tale.

Growing up the only child of a single mother, Leila
Jessica *The Lovely Books*
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Nov 25, 2015 Amanda rated it liked it
I am going to go with 3 stars for now...

Socially awkward, Leila moves away from her family home after her mother (and her only friend) dies from complications of MS. She spends her days and nights in front of a computer playing World of Warcraft and contracting with a Quality Assurance Firm. Through a fellow gamer, she learns about “Red Pill”, a website forum dedicated to debating philosophy. She is quickly singled out from the web admin and owner of the website, Adrian. Adrian is a libertarian,
Jan 11, 2016 Heather rated it did not like it
I'm not really sure how to rate this book, mostly because I know people will instantly judge me for hating it. I'll start off by saying, I went into this book knowing that the author had intentionally made the main character unlikeable. And that's not what I hated. Not at all. To be honest, having Leila unlikeable would have made this book very interesting, BUT none of the other characters were likeable either.

Tess was a party animal who "lived too much" and although we can all relate to her on
First off, I don't know what the cover artist for the above was smoking, but disregard with extreme prejudice. Weirdly enough, this is not a story about a lipstick-wearing femme fatale who ate your bees, it’s about sad sack Leila, a young woman who lives alone after a lifetime spent caring for her infirm mother (now deceased). It’s never explicitly stated if Leila is just a bit of a shut in or has an undiagnosed developmental/social disorder, but she spends most of her time interacting with peop ...more
The Wee Hen
Nov 22, 2013 The Wee Hen rated it liked it
I do not have to like the protagonist in order to like a book. Case in point would be Ruth Rendell's "A Sight for Sore Eyes". I loved that book despite the fact that it's largely the story of a terrible, murdering sociopath.
Maybe I do need to like the narrator in order to love a book though. I'm wondering this because I've just recently finished "The Dinner" by Herman Koch and I violently disliked that book - and the narrator as well.
Moggach's Leila is impossible to actually like. She is a ped

This is a weird book. I’m not sure what rating to give it. I didn’t like it; I found it an annoying and unpleasant read. However, it is a compelling read. Once I got into it, I had difficulty walking away from it because the main character, Leila, is so bizarre and creepy. I also wanted to finish because I didn’t like it and wanted to be done with it. I’m going to compromise with three stars because even though I didn’t like the plot or the main character, it is well-written, creepy and weirdly
Mimi Jones
Aug 07, 2013 Mimi Jones rated it liked it
Skillful job of getting us inside the skin of someone in whose skin we'd rather not be. The narrator and protagonist, Leila, is a misfit whose lumpy appearance and tone-deafness about human interactions make her more comfortable alone in her room on the computer than in the work or social world. Thus she gets sucked into a suicide-assistance cult by one Adrian Dervish, whom she meets first online and then in a park. He asks her to help Tess, a beautiful young woman with a history of emotional pr ...more
Apr 17, 2014 Ishtar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Creo que en realidad le pondría 3.5 estrellas. Anoche me quedé hasta las tantas leyendo y sí es verdad que la primera parte del libro me encantó y me enganchó, pero empieza a desinflarse en el último tercio. Deja un montón de preguntas sin respuesta y aunque es cierto que el final abierto que tiene es la opción más realista me decepcionó un poco. El argumento es muy original y como ya digo en general me ha gustado a pesar de la precipitación de los acontecimientos de la última parte.
Sep 05, 2015 Gemma rated it liked it
I listened to the audio version of this book and Imogen Church did a great job of the narration.
Social loner Leila seeks solace through a website called Red Pill ( A website of progressive thinkers) Through her views on euthanasia, site moderator Adrian puts an 'opportunity' to Leila. Feeling flattered, she embraces the opportunity which leads into an uncomfortable and suspenseful read. Can't wait to read whatever Moggach releases next.
Jun 28, 2013 Shayan rated it did not like it
I'll admit that I didn't finish the story because my attention span went straight down after the first few chapters. A good book will keep you wanting more without the first few chapters but not this one it seemed. I watched the trailer and loved the idea of it so was excited when I received my proof copy from the publishers.

I hate not finishing a book but could not continue reading when my attention was drifting.
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Lottie Moggach is a journalist who has written for The Times, Financial Times, Time Out, Elle, GQ and The London Paper. She lives in north London. Kiss Me First is her first novel.
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“I pretended that it wasn't such a big deal, that I knew we weren't suited, that I agreed with what-ever bullshit rationale you used - 'we don't make each other the best possible versions of ourselves' or what-ever. But you did make me the best 'me'.” 14 likes
“People and things would continue to exist in a world where I did not, and no one would ever think of me. And, if that was the case, then what was the point of existing in the first place?” 3 likes
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