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My Last Kiss

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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.

358 pages, Hardcover

First published June 10, 2014

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About the author

Bethany Neal

2 books98 followers
Bethany Neal writes young adult fiction with a little dark side and a lot of kissing from her Midwest home. She graduated from Bowling Green State University and has worked as an interior designer, photographer, teacher's assistant, and figure skating coach. When she's not writing she teaches writing workshops at her local public library.

Her debut novel My Last Kiss was lauded as [the movie] Ghost meets Pretty Little Liars and has been translated internationally.

Connect with her online at www.bethanyneal.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 301 reviews
July 6, 2014
Aren’t ghosts supposed to have some sort of agenda? I really hope mine isn’t to haunt my boyfriend’s bedroom. That is way too clichéd.

“Why didn’t you stay with your body?” he finally asks.
I meet his eyes and the only thing I want to say is I came back to be with you, I stayed for you.
Sure, you could compare this to The Lovely Bones, in the same way that you could compare Twilight to Bram Stoker's Dracula. It's pretty much the same thing, really, with a few minor differences. The "few minor differences" being:

1. Red tunas. Ok, fine, the technical term for a misleading clue ia a "red herring" but the clues in this book are so fucking obvious and dumb and loud that I've coined a new term for it. Hence, red tuna

2. This ghost is even more of a vapid idiot than the one in The Lovely Bones

3. This ghost gets into one bloody painful mess of a love triangle between the most wonderfulest boyfriend ever who just doesn't geeeeeeeeeet her, maaaaaan and a pothead stoner with a heart of gold

4. Family? Lol. Family? Screw family, it's all about friends, y'all. She has a sister? A brother? A family. Oh, yeah, yeah, she does. She mentions them sometimes. Mostly the fact that her mom is a huge, raging psychotic bitch

5. The dumbest friends ever, in fact, the most vapid group of high schoolers who ever existed

6. There is not a single truly likeable character in the book. I'm dead fucking serious. Her classmates are morons without sympathy. Her family pretty much ignore one another when, if, they're mentioned at all

Really, there's not much introspection. There's no literary value. There is an idiot of a girl who gets to spend time with her boyfriend, while fighting off the feelings for another guy...while she's a ghost. Don't. Just don't.

The Summary:
I think I’m supposed to do something while I’m here. It doesn’t make any sense that I’d be given a free pass to haunt about and chill with my boyfriend.
17-year old Cassidy is dead. How does everyone think she died?
“Well, I heard some guys saying she tried to go skinny-dipping in the river and froze, which is downright ignorant to suggest. Then Kristy London started telling everyone she saw Cassidy throw up at dance once because she was bulimic and that’s why she committed suicide.”
Cassidy was found dead under a bridge, after a night of inebriation. Everyone seems to think her death was a suicide, even her own family. Even the police, since they seem to think she killed herself after, oh, roughyl 5 seconds of investigations. So realistic.

So nobody knows how Cassidy died, since nobody was there. Hell, not even Cassidy knows how she died, because she was drunk as fuck.
I was definitely drinking at the party, but was I drunk enough to forget everything that happened?
But all hope is not lost! Cassidy may be dead, but she's not yet "moved on." She is still here, on earth, as a ghost. Nobody can see her, until, miraculously, her boyfriend, Ethan could! She's been left here on earth with a purpose! How shall Cassidy spent this one wondrous chance?!
I cast away that dangerously hopeful thought and look up at Ethan, deciding to take advantage of what time I have left with him.
Will she use that time to discover how she died? Not exactly.
I’m momentarily distracted by Ethan’s navy blue boxer-briefs. They’re the only thing he’s wearing.
Is she going to spend her remaining time on earth observing her family extensively, seeing that they're her family, who have raised her and loved her for 17 years? Um...
He exhales, long and loud. I lean forward, hoping for a whiff of his breath even if it’s sour, morning scented, but there’s nothing. I frown.
Is she going to spend that time going back to the scene of her death, seeing if there are any clues to be picked up, any memories she can glean from going back to such a pivotal place? Weeeeell...
I’m sure my afterlife mission isn’t to hook up with my boyfriend—especially after what I just remembered about Caleb—but I can’t ignore the allure of his touches.
Ok, fine. This is a teenaged girl, after all. It's only fair that she spends a quarter of the book, or half the book thinking about her boyfriend. But what about the remaining half? How will she spend the rest of her time on earth?! Clearly, she has been put here for a purpose. Ghosts don't just wander around after death pointlessly. Surely there is a bigger picture here.

Yeah, there is. His name is Caleb, andOH BOY, CASSIDY IS GOING TO INVESTIGATE THE ROLE THAT HE PLAYED IN HER DEATH.
I bend down right in front of him, meaning to study his face for some proof of guilt, maybe attempt a ghostly trick to will a writing sample out of his obnoxious orange backpack, but the only thing I can think about is his mouth closed around mine. My eyes wander to his lips.
Or, you know, just think about kissing him. Investigation. Kissing. Same thing, if you think about it.

Cassi-die now plz:
I squared my shoulders and inched up my chin as if I was above his affection. I wasn’t, but I was so mad I wanted him to think I was, to feel bad about it.
The word vapid is actually spelled "C-A-S-S-I-D-Y." The definition of her name is Captain Obvious since she has the uncommon knack for stating the fucking obvious.
She sets a pad of monogrammed stationery on top of her notes from last week and adds Mica’s name to a short list of classmates, all of whom attended the party.
“This is your list of people you think might know something about my death, isn’t it?” I ask her.
Her grief is of the woe-is-me everything is about me me me. OK, she's dead. I know that. I should be able to empathize with that, but her sadness...the way it is written, so very much self-centered, just makes me laugh.
Sadness rolls over me, knowing that I’ll never again be the person she turns to for comfort.
She is the equivalent of a mentally-challenged ghost. She knows she can't be heard, yet she insists on talking VERY LOUDLY and ENUNCIATING VERY CLEARLY in the hopes that someone will be able to hear her.
“Aimée,” I say very slowly as if overenunciating will allow her to hear me, “look under that binder.”
It is the equivalent of talking VERY LOUDLY INTO THE EARS OF A DEAF PERSON. It just makes you look like a motherfucking moron.

Her investigation into her death can be best summed up in one hyphenated word: "half-assed". She withholds clues, she ignores clues, she ignores uncomfortable flashbacks, like her memories of flirting and kissing another boy who is not her boyfriend. She lies. She omits information that would help the one person who is able to see her investigate her death.
If I tell him I think I was with Caleb he’ll definitely ask why. I’m not ready to go there with him. It’ll ruin the small piece of us we’ve recaptured, and I can’t bear losing that again.
Almost all her memories are of emotional conflicts between her love triangle. They are frustrating, they are foolish, they give me no respect for Cassidy whatsoever.

The Side Characters:
After he leaves, the cafeteria clears out, but conversations still echo off the walls. She was totally drunk … I heard she froze to death … Who kills herself over a breakup? I mean, really?
Seriously, there is not one single likeable character in the entire fucking book. Her family are portrayed as idiots. Her father is a doormat. Her mother is a psycho with a midlife crisis who pretty much has no reaction over her daughter's death besides for the fact that it might give her something to do. Cassidy has a tremendous amount of contempt for her mom, and her entire family is portrayed so briefly, so poorly, that there is absolutely no sense of familial love whatsoever.

Instead, we are focused on her friends, and man, they are motherfucking idiots. Cassidy may be vapid, but she appears to be a product of her school, because her entire fucking school is filled with brainless teenagers without an ounce of sympathy. Literally nobody gives a fuck about her death but her friend, Aimée. The entire student body doesn't need counseling, they use her death as an opportunity to gossip, to make small-talk, to talk shit about Cassidy now that she's dead. It would have appeared like Cassidy had no friends at all after her death, and it is so strange, considering we don't get a sense of that at all from the flashbacks of her life before death.

Truly, the side characters in this book, the entire fucking cast, doesn't seem realistic at all. There is no emotional connection to anyone, anything.

The Motherfucking Love Triangle:
Aimée rolls her eyes. “I can’t believe he was high at eight-thirty in the morning. I’ll never get what Cassidy saw in him.”
DING DING DING. We have a love triangle here. And it's not an obvious type. It's the I-will-keep-you-guessing-until-the-bitter-fucking-end type.

Ethan is the nicest boy in the world. He was her first kiss. He was her first love. They have been dating for three years.
He took my hand, and I was certain, in that moment, that I would never kiss anyone else for as long as I lived.
Until, inexplicably, she falls for Caleb, a stoner who pops pills under the guise of Tic-Tacs.

Caleb, who is never NOT stoned.
Caleb opens his eyes in a lazy, delayed reaction that tips me off that he’s high. Again.
Caleb, who is a bad boy with a Tragic Past who totally deserves our sympathy, right
"...you had changed when your parents split up and you started getting high all the time..."
Caleb, who gives her a special Brownie laced with marijuana. Such a fucking gentleman. How could a girl ever resist?
“Speaking of, I made you a little somethin’ somethin’.” He reached into his bright orange backpack and pulled out a brownie wrapped in pink cellophane and about ten different colors of ribbon.
“Caleb, you didn’t have to do this.”
“I wanted to give you something special to celebrate your birth.”
And she cheated on Ethan with THIS loser? No, thank you. Sure, Ethan is so fucking effeminate that he barely even counts as a boyfriend, but he's still a far better catch than Caleb. And we're left wondering until the very end who she will choose.

I do not tolerate cheating. There are books in which cheating is really, really well done, in which I feel a tremendous amount of sympathy for the cheaters.

This is not one of those books.
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,521 reviews33.8k followers
August 25, 2014
Started off fine, but got progressively more convoluted and ethically messed up as the story went on. Also SO annoying that a number of the characters also had nicknames--and some of them had more than one! Sheesh.
Profile Image for AH.
2,005 reviews370 followers
December 25, 2014
Update 12/25/14 My Last Kiss was chosen as one of Badass Book Reviews favorite Young Adult/New Adult Romance books of 2014. Read all about it here.

So I am wavering between 4 and 5 stars for this excellent debut novel by author Bethany Neal. This is a cross between a ghost story and a murder mystery with a young adult slant. It is a powerful story told from the point of view of the main character Cassidy who at 17 died. The circumstances around her death are iffy: the police think it was a suicide. Cassidy comes back as a ghost and follows her circle of friends to try to remember what happened the night she died. Poor Cassidy can't remember how she ended up dead and who was around her. The only person able to see Cassidy's ghost was her boyfriend Ethan.
"This being-a-ghost thing sucks. If I don't figure out things soon, I'm converting to poltergeist."
The cast of characters (and suspects) is large and it was kind of fun trying to piece together the clues as to who killed Cassidy. I was joking with another reviewer that we needed a large whiteboard complete with photos of each character and a timeline in order to keep all the information straight. Keep in mind, the story is told from Cassidy's point of view and her friends seem to be hiding things.
"It seems everyone I know holds captive some piece of my past. I want them, no matter how much they'll hurt. They're mine and I deserve to hold them."
My Last Kiss was an intriguing book full of neat twists and turns. It was a lot of fun to read and I'd recommend it to people looking for a young adult mystery.


I won this book in a Goodreads Firstreads giveaway.
319 reviews1,896 followers
March 29, 2014
This was a lot of fun, and a really inventive spin on the common murder mystery. Really, really good stuff. Think The Lovely Bones meets Pretty Little Liars.

Also, called the killer within the first 100 pages. *high fives self* But still, holy intensity towards the end.

Review to come.
Profile Image for Amy Plum.
Author 19 books4,865 followers
Read
December 19, 2013
A thrilling story of love and betrayal where a teenage girl must not only face her actions in her former life but discover which of her friends was her killer. A bittersweet contemporary romance that had me in tears in the final pages.
Profile Image for Chrissy.
819 reviews
July 28, 2014
Believe it or not, I actually do hate writing negative reviews -- especially when a book has been kindly provided to me expressly for the purpose of writing said review.

But I hate lying more than I hate negativity, so here we go....

Usually I start out with a lovely, flowy description of the plot. However, I think I can sum that up in just one sentence. So, here we go....

A girl cheats on her boyfriend with a pothead, ends up dead, everyone thinks it's suicide, she thinks it was murder, she stays around as some kind of ghost figure and tries to solve her alleged murder, then tries to make out (make up?) with her boyfriend too.

That's it.

So, why the one star?

Mostly, it's because I hate all of the characters. Every single one of them.

Let's start with the main character, Cassidy. She's just not the brightest bulb in the lamp, if you catch my drift. She's flighty, both in life and death, supposedly focusing on solving a murder, except she really spends more time daydreaming about kissing her boyfriend and trying to find a way to get him back even though she's dead. She's melodramatic, immature, and incredibly slow to catch on to every blatant hint thrown her way. She's so unlikeable that I, as a reader, had a hard time trying to even CARE who killed her (or why).

Now, we can move on to Ethan, the boyfriend. What is there to even say about him? NOTHING. He's unremarkable, boring, and unmemorable. I had to stop and look up his name before even writing about him. That's how little I could care about him.

Then there is Caleb, the pothead. Cassidy thinks she cheated on Ethan with Caleb, and in her pseudo-attempts at crime solving she really doesn't give a single positive quality about the guy that would make me even believe she'd cheat on her random boyfriend with this other random dude. She thinks Caleb may have killed her, although the only memorable flashback she even describes is the one where lover boy Caleb gave her a marijuana brownie before she "fell" off a bridge and died.

Drew, who is Ethan's best friend and Cassidy's best friend's boyfriend. Again, not one single positive quality is given to Drew, who is described mostly as a raging psychopath. Copy and paste that description for the other friend, whose name I already forgot. Those two were pretty much interchangeable to me throughout the story.

And then Cassidy's best friends? Apparently Cassidy has lousy taste, not only in men, but in friends as well. Aimee, at least, seems to care that her friend is dead. Besides the hints of ambivalence from Ethan, I'm pretty sure that nobody else in the book, including her friends and family, even CARE that Cassidy is dead. I'm not even sure that Cassidy's lingering ghost spirit cares that she is dead, beyond the fact that she can no longer kiss boys. And then the other alleged best friend? Madison? Can someone REALLY be completely oblivious to the fact that the person they see for hours every single day is a psychopathic stalker? Cassidy vaguely considers that her best friends may have played a role in her death -- although, again, she seems more concerned with daydreaming about kissing Ethan than about considering why she was surrounded by such a bunch of juvenile delinquents.

By the end, in all honesty, I couldn't care less why Cassidy died or who was involved. All of her friends were idiots, and nothing in the story seemed believeable enough to feel the least bit relatable or interesting. And, oh, the melodrama! I get that teenagers are full of raging hormones and confusion and despair, but murdering people over crushes or kisses or relationships that won't last beyond graduation? Good grief.

In trying to decide the intended audience for My Last Kiss, I can only think that this would be appealing to younger teenage girls with low expectations of men, friends, and literature. I really enjoyed the premise of the story, I think, but the horrific cast of characters killed it for me in the end.
Profile Image for Kim at Divergent Gryffindor.
470 reviews132 followers
May 5, 2015
My Last Kiss is about Cassidy, a girl who died on the day of her seventeenth birthday party. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, and only her boyfriend, Ethan, is able to see her. Cassidy can't remember anything from the night she died, and to uncover the truth, Cassidy must relive the moments leading up to her death. With the help of Ethan and Aimee, justice will be served.

To be honest, I found the first few chapters of My Last Kiss annoying because of how whiny the main character is, and that is already considering her situation. Also, it reminded me too much of The Catastrophic History of You and Me, but soon became it's own.

What I love about this novel is that the mystery is really good. It kept me guessing and guessing, and soon, I couldn't put the book down. The suspects kept increasing and increasing, until you get to the end and find out the truth, and it was just really good. It kept me on my toes because each time I feel sure that this certain person is the one at fault, something happens to contradict it.

This book is contemporary, though it's not about the feels. But there certainly was love and friendship in the form of Ethan and Aimee, who were determined and would do anything in their power to uncover the mystery surrounding Cassidy's death. They are loyal friends, and Cassidy was very lucky to have them. Ethan even kept some thing secret for the fear that it might hurt Cassidy, even after everything that's happened.

The moments leading up to the end was really amazing! It was gripping and toe-curling, and it was so well constructed that I couldn't guess who was at fault until the very last moment.

Bethany Neal had me with this one, and I look forward to more books by this amazing debut author! I definitely recommend this one, and would advise readers to continue on if you feel like you don't really like the first part, because I assure you that this book is amazing!
October 20, 2014
Bell, Book & Candle | My Last Kiss Review



I swear, this should be a cautionary tale for those who cheat--- right beside Fatal Attraction. This is another book I randomly came upon while up to no good with my friend in Barnes and Noble. Don't ask; don't tell. I must've skimmed the synopsis on back, because if I had realized how much of a tear-jerker was I might not have bought it. I hate (in a good way) books that make me cry.

This was quite the emotional rollercoaster of a book. I'm not going to lie, I was in tears. The mystery of Cassidy's, the protagonist, death was indeed puzzling. As I have said before, I am very good at guessing how a book/movie will end, but I didn't see that ending coming--- and I guessed at least 50 times. I'm not pulling you guys' leg, either. The mystery was off the charts, and there was a bit of suspense thrown in there as well. The best and my most favorite part was...*drum roll*... the characters.



I'm a character driven person; characters and how they are written or developed can make or break a book for me. The depth and development of these characters was off the charts. You will discover that there is more than meets the eye and nothing is what it seems with each one of them. I loved the flaws Cassidy had, in which you realize she is just as flawed as the rest of us. And Ethan...Oh my goodness, it was both endearing and heartbreaking seeing the connection he and Cassidy possessed, especially since they didn't exactly get the "HEA" we readers love to see.

The pain you see everyone going through in reaction to Cassidy's death broke my heart. I couldn't imagine how my mom would feel. Or Cassidy-- living in limbo like she was is a major drag. It also goes to show that not all "friends" are your real friends. You have to be careful with backstabbers---literally and figuratively.



None the less, this was a great story and the ending was beautiful. However, I'm still trying to figure out if the people responsible for Cassidy's death are going to jail; it wasn't exactly clear. And it was slow torture watching Cassidy make her mistakes that would inevitably lead to her death. What a shame. But on the bright side...at least there weren't any boiled bunnies anywhere. See, there IS a silver lining!
Profile Image for Merril Anil.
799 reviews72 followers
July 1, 2014
Brilliant Plot
This is by far one of the most brilliant plots I have read in a long time. It provided me something very different from the usual young adult novels which basically revolve around a couple and their love chronicles sometimes going too mushy or sometimes mixed and wrapped up with paranormal elements.

“My last kiss” is not devoid of romance, heartbreak and other essential young adult stuffs but what makes it interesting is the wicked plot line that just gets more and more intense as it proceeds and is a pure thriller addiction. I love the way how the plot is developed and just when you think “ ok now I get it” and make conclusions, it goes on to an entirely different track.

I m in love with the ending of this book. in most cases by last pages, all the energy and elements are worn out, but in this case, the last couple of pages is where your brain gets put into action. Things are moving at rapid speed and no it does not confuses you or something but for me, it was like being bombarded with surprise elements one after another and that made me shout out loud to the author for gripping me like an addict to the book especially with its ending.

The only problem with the book is its language and flow of narration which I believe is kind of choppy because there were certain parts which kind of was not self explanatory more like ramblings with no head and tails but I have still got Goosebumps from the ending of the book

The book has one of the best plots I have come across especially for a young adult novel and what is the best part of the plot is its ending which was something that I enjoyed most out of everything in the book but there is also problem with the flow of narration as sometimes it seems to be lacking head and tail

how was it?


511 reviews209 followers
May 18, 2014
Abandoned at 45%.

The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.
~Samuel Beckett, Murphy

The book told on, having no alternative, the nothing new. The exceptionally boring nothing new.

My First Kiss has been compared to The Lovely Bones, and I cannot express how ardently I agree with this statement. Both are supremely slow and monotonous, the main character's voice doing nothing to remedy that, even in their phantom state.

For the first half of the book- the only part I read- Cassidy Haines, recently dead and spectral, tries not to remember all that she's forgotten about her life as a result of being dead- killed or otherwise. Because lo and behold, it appears she might have been faithful to her not-a-douchebag of a boyfriend.

I do not give turtle's fossilized crap.

Cassidy is seen by no one, heard by no one except of course the boyfriend she cheated on- not that he knows. And they make out, dance, fight, reveal trivial secrets, and discuss, in passing, her existentialism.

The fish drank all my rat crap shakes.

Cassidy whines. She's dead so I'll give her that. But she whines more, and now the whines are subtle, sneaking up on you, like my arch-nemesis, Waspssssss.

Wasps don't give shits out just like that.

Cassidy's best friend tries to solve her murder, figure out the identity of the perpetrator, while everyone gathers her death to be a suicide. She barely haunts her best friend.

The official statement is that I've run out of fucks. Nothing personal, you know.

Cassidy has no sense of humor, dark or otherwise; no intriguing traits or worries I'd care a fuck about, no sass and nothing. Even her loneliness or dying hopes for the future she'll never have is non-existent. The mystery doesn't begin until the latter half apparently, so how on earth am I supposed to stay with her that long?

Occam's Razor: I don't. I cannot.

This is the story. This is boring. This is why I don't care to continue. The rest is dust, except the choice that is yours.

Adios.

(Actually, I would have loved to finish the story and continue to the end had something interesting- besides her dying- happened earlier. The twists and turns everyone's talking about make me yearn, as do quotes like this:

It seems everyone I know holds captive some piece of my past. I want them, no matter how much they'll hurt. They're mine and I deserve to hold them.

But since nothing did, I'd rather just avert my face so I don't long too much(I desire closure too much, sometimes).)

Review copy provided by Macmillan Children's Publishing Group.
Profile Image for Jessica (Goldenfurpro).
879 reviews251 followers
September 25, 2015
This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd

MY THOUGHTS
This book was completely unexpected! Based on the title and the synopsis, I was expecting a girl who was unfaithful before she died, which didn't sound like my kind of story. But I have a very odd fascination with the afterlife, so I decided to read this anyway. It was nothing like thought it would be! Maybe I didn't look at the synopsis closely enough, but this book is more of a murder mystery, expect from the point-of-view of the victim who is, of course, dead.

Yes, kissing is involved in this book, but the book is devoted to Cassidy trying to remember what happened on her last day to cause her death. Not really the kind of afterlife I expected, but I still found it interesting. A ghost trying to find his/her murderer is a common theme in books and movies but usually, said ghost remembers what happened at least partially and a living person is trying to figure this out. But this book is told entirely from Cassidy's perspective. Sure, she did get some help from the living with is my only issue with this book.



IN CONCLUSION
This is a great, suspenseful stand-alone! I had such a hard time putting it down! It was such an unexpected read and I actually ended up enjoying it. I recommend this book to those who enjoy mysteries and/or suspense with a few unusual elements.

I do look forward to reading more from Bethany Neal!
Profile Image for Ksenia.
780 reviews194 followers
Read
December 30, 2013
A girl trying to piece together the circumstances of her death. What a page-turner! So many great twists and turns.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews838 followers
August 4, 2014
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: June 10, 2014
Rating: 3 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

A contemporary novel set from the perspective of the dead heroine - weird, right? Cassidy is dead, but she's a ghost. She remembers nothing from the night of her death, but she knows it wasn't a suicide (like everyone thinks it is). Someone pushed her into the ice-cold river. Dead Cassidy is determined to know what happened to her, and so is Cassidy's friend Aimee, and Cassidy's boyfriend Ethan. Ethan can see ghost Cassidy, but no one else can. Really weird, right?

This book is a mystery, and it flips between present and past. Actually, ghost Cassidy is pulled between past and present. One minute, she's in the present, one moment, she's being sucked into the past. Slowly, she gets pieces of her memory back, one by one. By the end of the book, she is able to figure out how she died, and all of the events leading up to her death. It's not as simple as someone pushing her. There are many factors, many players, many motives.

That was definitely one of the things I liked about this book - the complexity of the entire situation. The blame is on just about everyone, even though only one person is responsible for Cassidy's death. One girl was in love with Ethan, and wanted to sabotage Cassidy and Ethan's relationship. One boy wanted to protect his best friend's heart from getting broken by Cassidy. One boy was in love with Cassidy, except he couldn't be, because Ethan is in love with Cassidy. And Cassidy herself, dallying with another boy. Complex, intricate, fragile...

The mystery kept me going, if anything. I wanted to know what happened to Cassidy. But after a while, things seemed to go in circles, and I just wanted to know who did it. Information seemed inconclusive, or unimportant. So, I finished this book, but I had issues with it.

What I Did Not Like:

Like I mentioned above, I had problems with this book. The plot seemed to go around and around, the mystery getting stale and boring. I WANTED to know the story behind Cassidy's death, and how each person played a role in her death, but this book kept going in circles. Scene after scene, the information presented seemed useless. Nothing really showed anything important to solving the mystery.

Not until the very end. In the end, everything is revealed, and it's like a huge info dump. I still don't fully understand everything that was revealed at the end, and quite frankly, I don't care enough to re-read the end and figure it out. I'm sorry if you might have wanted me to do that.

I already know that I would not like the heroine, Cassidy, if she were a real person. I would probably hate her a lot. She seems like the stuck-up type, that gets whatever she wants without having to work hard to ask or do anything. The sense of entitlement, it's strong with this girl. What she did with and to Caleb was wrong. And the same, with and to Ethan. I really didn't like Cassidy - I found her annoying. Of course, I wouldn't wish death on anyone, but ugh, even in death, I wasn't a fan of her.

It's hard to like a book if you didn't really like the protagonist, or the plot. Again, the mystery was cool, but when it started going in circles, I sort of shut down. I wanted to know what was going on, what had happened, and that wasn't being revealed. Even in the end, it was confusing. THAT IS ANNOYING.

Also, please explain to me why Ethan is the only one that can see Cassidy? No explanation was given. You couldn't make one up? Like, Ethan and Cassidy are soul mates, or something. Absolutely no explanation was offered, and I have more of a problem with the lack of explanation, than whatever possible explanation the author could have offered. If that makes sense.

Would I Recommend It:

Hmm, not really. If you already have this book, then read it! If you were already super excited to read it, then go for it! But if you were on the fence, or didn't have much interest to begin with, then don't bother. It isn't a must-read, or the next bestselling novel (that I can see, anyway. I could be wrong).

Rating:

3 stars. This was an interesting book, and I enjoyed reading it, but I wouldn't read it again. The mystery was intriguing and puzzling, but this book wasn't amazing or mind-blowing or THAT GOOD, unfortunately.
Profile Image for Mari Johnston.
424 reviews53 followers
February 21, 2019
Oof. This was painful and so convoluted. I honestly couldn’t keep up with all of the theories and timelines that were going on. The characters were not distinguishable so it was very hard to tell them apart which made everything even more confusing. There were so many pacing issues that contributed to the mess. It also had nothing special about it. The story was so similar to a lot of other ghost doesn’t remember how they died books.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,671 reviews702 followers
March 22, 2014
This entire book is filled with topics that are serious business for 17 year olds and I'm not sure how I feel about the execution of it.

What I liked:

•Ethan and Aimee. They were both such good people and treated Cassidy so well. Ethan could be one of the best boyfriends ever written, so it was pretty sad to see things revealed.

•The idea of the story. It's pretty clever to have your MC dead and able to figure out what happened. The jolting back and forth between the present and That Night took some getting used to, but it was effective in revealing what happened.

•The last 50 pages or so. The first half of the book was a bit slow and whiny, but the second half was fast paced and pretty amazing. As we start really getting the puzzle pieces, the book it really unique.

What I didn't like:

•Cassidy. I wavered back and forth with her. She was a great friend to her girls, but when it came to Ethan she was horrible. And for no reason. Seriously. She would talk about how much she loved him and then would do something stupid.

•The rest of the characters. They're all so shallow and horrible. It's a mixed up cast of kids and it seriously made me wonder why any of them were friends.

•The reason Cassidy went to Caleb.

The main thing that I can't decide how I feel about is

All in all, it was interesting enough to keep me reading, but I doubt it'll be one I buy or read again.
Profile Image for Pubudini Jayakody.
77 reviews24 followers
May 25, 2021
"If I'd known this was going to be my outfit for eternity, I wouldn't have worn leggings"

My Last Kiss is an uncommonly mysterious book. The storyline made me so much curious, so I read it in one go.

Cassidy Haines is dead. But the already-dead ghost-ish Cassidy knows that she has something remains to do. She has something to make right, something that she did wrong. She doesn't remember clearly anything from the night of her death, but she's sure it's not a suicide as almost all the other people believe. So, she has a mystery to solve, and also some confessions to make.

"Do you know what I see in the river?" He waits for a moment, then continues. "You. Always you"
Profile Image for Brandi Kosiner .
995 reviews295 followers
June 4, 2014
I wanted to read this because I enjoy these sort of "ghost" or afterlife stories. It is a spin-off of the amnesia because it becomes a quest for her to figure out what led to her death and if her last kiss was with the wrong guy.

It drew me in right away because Cassidy has a voice that feels natural. She is in really stressful place because she is watching her death scene and then ends up in the morgue with her own body. Then she visits family and the boy who was her perfect first kiss. She does what she calls melting when she has the flashbacks of memories. She feels wet and then her body starts to disappear and she "wakes up" in a new place and time. Some of the memories are from further back but most are giving us the pieces of the puzzle in the weeks leading up to her death.

I liked the friendship it drew between Cass, Aimee, and Madison. They had a group that was close, and really knew each other. Their quirks, how their emotions are displayed or hidden. Aimee and Madison both grieve differently but they get on a mission to figure out what happened to her, and are denying the rumor that she committed suicide because they feel like the friend they knew wouldn't do that, and she seemed drunk but def not depressed at the party right before Cassidy died. Though I was surprised at the part that one of the friends in Cass' circle played into the party, the different people on the bridge with Cassidy and maybe even the one behind trying to break up Ethan and Cassidy.

The romance between Ethan and Cassidy was so sweet. I loved the way they were together in the flashbacks. But things started to change and we get the impression that there was another guy, and there was also a rumor that they were breaking up but Cassidy didn't know anything about it. So, it was hard to give in to the romance completely because I don't know if Ethan was planning to break up with her, or if she cheated on him with her last kiss. Or was there a last kiss (at 20% I am speculating this, I have no idea.)

There were a few things that caused me to rate down a bit. There weren't explanations for why Ethan was special in that ***minor spoiler--highlight to read*** only he could see Cassidy. I know they were together but there could be some sort of explanation. There was love between her and her parents, friends, etc. Then there were some times when the reveals felt like filler. There were some of the flashbacks that I liked because it gave us history with Cass and Ethan, Cass and her friends, as well as her and her family.

I saw a lot of growth in Cassidy. While at the beginning she seemed like I could relate to her, and I certainly wanted to get to the bottom of her reason for being a ghost. As I got some of the flashbacks it became a little bit harder to like her with some of her actions. But I can also get that we all make mistakes and do things in the heat of the moment that we'll regret or doesn't tell the full story who we are. But still, I can see how she realizes that and that she sees things in a new way. Ultimately though, what made me completely go there with her was as much as she tried to rationalize everything she did wrong (and admit it, we all do things wrong) I could see why she made the decisions she did. And at the end, she accepted that she'd messed up, owned it, and did her best to make it all as right as possible.

While there is the semi love triangle and some cheating, it never bothered me like it usually does, and I don't know if I understand that when you have a friend or boyfriend who seems so good and has a good family it is hard to confide about your own new issues at home. And how it can be easy to mix up childhood nostalgia for feelings you can act on when the other person has been in your life so long and cares so much for you.

The book really kept me guessing right up until the end, so even with the bits of repetition, I can look back and see that there are elements that really did add to the big picture. Each character played their part in the whole story and most of them really do have reason to feel at least a little guilty over all that led up to that point.

Bottom Line: If you like the premise, you'll enjoy this suspense-filled journey to discovering the events leading up to main character's death.
Profile Image for Bella.
527 reviews222 followers
February 17, 2014
So I did not know going into this one what is was about but I have to say I am happy I read it. It was page turning and very interesting. Neal made it easy to follow along with each chapter and each flash back.

She is seventeen years old and still in high school. She died on her seventeenth birthday and she can’t remember a thing. She really doesn’t remember much about it at all and learns things about that night as she has flashbacks. Some flashbacks revealed things about what happened, and some of them are things you will never guess. But she has to know one thing did she do the unthinkable? Can’t say too much don’t want to give it away!

I enjoy how Neal wrote this one; it was very descripted and made me feel part of the book. The flashbacks where cool always having to get to that next chapter to see what happened to Cassidy. I really liked that Ethan her boyfriend is the only one who can see her it was cute. And to read these two work together to find out what happened to her made for a much more interesting read.

I have to say I would have been a bit weirded out by all this, on both accounts I mean dead at a young age and thinking the unthinking able, cheating. At seventeen that’s the end of the world for most girls. Take the trip through Cassidy’s mind to find out just what really happened to her. And I wont say much more, you don’t want me to give too much away!

This is great for YA readers and ones who want a good fast and crazy read. Thanks Neal for this one and cant wait to see more from you!
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
2,976 reviews363 followers
June 10, 2014
I have a great love for books about ghosts and an even bigger love of a good solid mystery, and when you combine the two, I really do get excited. I can't help it, the inner paranormal, mystery loving girl in me goes a little crazy and squeals with delight.

This was such an unusual read. One full of the mysteries you would expect from a dead girl with very little memory about how she got that way and the struggle she has with excepting her fate and trying to help those she loves come to terms with her death, as well as solve the mystery behind what happened that fateful night when her whole world was gone.

Neal did a wonderful job constantly keeping the reader on their toes as the mystery of Cassidy's death unfolds and her secrets are spilled.

We are left trying to help her piece her life back to together with little clues and bits of pieces of her memories as new things are revealed to her through flashbacks and second hand encounters.

There were lots of fun twists and turns and a never ending list of possibilities and suspects.

This was a great debut from an author that you will want to keep an eye on.
Profile Image for Ruby  the boston terrier.
2 reviews1 follower
September 23, 2014
This book was a dare that my friend dared me. This book was really just... bad. I stopped in it because I could not finish the book it was just really bad. I think its bad because the first part is of her kissing this boy and had no backstory to it. Its just these two random people dramatically kissing. And the next parts is that she died. THE PERSON DIED???!! The person Cassidy whose the main character is in the first part and a couple pages later, well she died. And guess what NO BACKSTORY AGAIN?!!!!! It started out as "is it raining or snowing?" (the classic start of any classic book in my opinion) Then apparently she sees this person (her) in the middle of some snow covered in blood. Then this guy was there and again NO BACKSTORY!!!! and says it doesn't have to be like this...." Yah it wouldn't and we would agree if... WE KNEW THE STINKING BACKSTORY!!!!! One more thing it would be better to sit in a box than read this book.









Profile Image for Heather.
958 reviews91 followers
January 13, 2016
I felt this book has a unique approach to the dead — possibly murdered — teen novel. And, well, while you might get and idea of whodunnit, I felt it kept me guessing right until the end. I thought I knew who it was for quite awhile, but I only briefly considered the real individual behind the tragic event that is the center of this book. The pace is pretty fast, and I found that this was one of those books that very quickly sucked me in. It was one I really wanted to find time to read — and Heaven help anyone who got in the way …
Profile Image for Riyana.
109 reviews
July 6, 2014
Me after reading this:
 photo 25_zps3edac1cd.gif

it's such a shame tho, THAT COVER IS BEAUTIFUL. and the book is exactly the opposite.

yikes.
Profile Image for Romanticamente Fantasy.
6,160 reviews169 followers
April 9, 2019
3.5 - Voto
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Attesissimo paranormal romance che negli Stati Uniti ha suscitato applausi e tantissimi consensi. Oggettivamente una storia intricatissima, sempre accompagnata da un amore oltre la vita e la morte, e minacciato da risvolti assolutamente inaspettati, che vanno delineandosi a braccetto con una trama che si rivela lentamente, in maniera quasi sfiancante…

"Ieri dovevo festeggiare il mio diciassettesimo compleanno, non morire. Come è possibile che la mia serata sia finita in modo così tragico?
Quel biglietto mi fissa con astio urlando a stampatello la sua verità: È FACILE SALTARE SE QUALCUNO TI DÀ UNA SPINTA."
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L’autrice apre il sipario con un prologo veramente debordante: la morte della protagonista Cassidy, che perde la vita, tragicamente e per un fatale destino, la sera della festa per il suo diciassettesimo compleanno. Muore ma non è morta, o forse non lo è nel senso proprio del termine. Rimane infatti sospesa tra due mondi, paralleli ma diametralmente opposti, in una specie di limbo come se le colpe che l’hanno condotta a questa tragedia, se non sanate dalla verità, mai la renderanno libera di lasciare questa vita.

"Perché sono diventata due persone? E come sono finita nel fiume? Corro verso il corpo straziato dell’Altra Me. Sono dentro un incubo, non c’è altra spiegazione. Ma è come se fossi circondata da un campo magnetico. È come se mi dissolvessi nell’aria, e subito venissi respinta."
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Ed è così che, dopo questo incipit piuttosto potente, la trama prende il via in un’altalena tra passato e presente, tramite la quale, l’autrice stessa rivela al lettore lentamente, goccia a goccia, una marea di particolari, passando attraverso fatti accaduti, flashback di cui la protagonista è vittima, personaggi che vengono prima introdotti e poi mano a mano delineati, come se da ombre, poco a poco, si trasformino in qualcosa di concreto. Un puzzle intricatissimo, che si esplicita non solo in una trama che nasconde un mistero pazzesco in relazione alla morte di Cassidy, ma anche nel complicatissimo delinearsi di ogni cosa: sembra proprio che il lettore debba colorare una tela bianca, senza però conoscere l’uso della tempera. Un vuoto che si colma con estrema lentezza, che riunisce gli elementi in una sfibrante attesa, che fatica a sanarsi, tantomeno a chiarirsi, se non a metà del romanzo. Almeno questo è ciò che ho provato io leggendo, faticando direi per proseguire, sebbene fossi estremamente incuriosita e per molti aspetti anche affascinata da ogni piccolo dettaglio che gentilmente l’autrice concedeva… Convintissima che il suo stile narrativo sia stato deliberatamente voluto, non sono certa che sia una formula vincente, non almeno per chi legge di pancia e non di testa come me.

"Digrigno i denti di fronte alla terribile scoperta di essere scoordinata. Per me è uno spiacevole promemoria del fatto che ballerina fa parte della lunga lista di termini che non mi si addicono più. In quella lista c’è anche essere vivente."
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Non nego che sia una storia ingegnosa, frutto di una mente in continua evoluzione così come la trama rivela. Ricca di personaggi, coetanei, amici del cuore e coppie che si interfacciano a genitori troppo presenti o del tutti assenti, in un misto di angoscia e dolore che la morte di Cassidy propaga come un’eco in tutta la trama e che li scuote tutti, uno a uno, nessuno escluso. Ognuno, inoltre, si rivela protagonista di quel pezzo di tela da dipingere, quindi attivo e fondamentale allo svolgersi degli eventi. A dire il vero ho amato molto il personaggio maschile Ethan, fidanzato di Cassidy, per altro l’unico in grado di vederla, toccarla e sentirla, e la sua migliore amica Aimée, inconsolabile e soprattutto certa che lei non si sia suicidata. Un po’ meno la protagonista, o meglio la Cassidy viva, che si rivela appunto molto fragile e poco coerente, anche se questo, ovviamente, non è sufficiente a farle ricevere una punizione così grande e definitiva, non certo per errori puerili che qui invece hanno il peso e l’odore della morte.

"Non so perché ma solo a vederlo mi viene voglia di urlare. Sono stufa di non sapere quando sto per precipitare in un ricordo, né dove andrò a finire dopo. Non ne posso più di bagni e sgabuzzini, e di persone che nascondo un segreto."
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Trascinante, emotivo, emozionante, spesso in bilico tra mille soluzioni e una sola verità, questo romanzo non mi ha convinta del tutto, creandomi anche confusione nell’essere oggettiva. Mi è piaciuto, senza dubbio, ma allo stesso modo, io e l’autrice non abbiamo trovato un accordo, sia nella regia della trama che nella genesi di tutto quello che poi accade… in più, mi spiace dirlo, ma il testo non è esente da errori anche evidenti che a parer mio disturbano. Consiglio comunque di leggere questo romanzo a prescindere dalle mie considerazioni, perché, come specificato, è comunque attraente e particolare; inoltre, senza dubbio vi sorprenderà per un epilogo a effetto.
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Lady Lightmoon - per RFS
Profile Image for Karla✨.
561 reviews
September 24, 2021
AHHHHHHH tuve muchas teorías y no pensé que eso era lo que había pasado, aunque el final se me hizo muy apresurado la historia me atrapado de una manera muy especial, me hubiera gustado saber más sobre lo que paso después con Drew y los demás personajes en un epílogo extra o algo así pero bueno.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jenni Arndt.
438 reviews331 followers
April 30, 2014
I’m beginning to think that YA murder mysteries just aren’t the thing for me. Movies filled with twists and turns and murder, yes please! But for some reason it just never feels like it is pulled off as well in book form. My Last Kiss is basically a murder mystery featuring stupid decisions and supercharged teen hormones that had me cringing at the explanation behind everything that happens.

We start the book off seeing MC Cassidy’s very first kiss that she shared on a bridge with the boy she liked Ethan. Once that chapter is over we are taken for a quick turn as we realize we are still Cassidy only she is no longer in her body and is a ghost trying to solve the case of her murder. The last few weeks leading up to her death (where she fell off the bridge from the first chapter) are a complete blur and she has to follow her friends and family around to piece together what happened. This sounds so cool, right? It was! I really enjoyed seeing Cassidy explore her new existence and find out what she was capable of and what she was no longer capable of. Things are thrown for a another quick turn when she realizes that Ethan (who at the time of her death had been her boyfriend for 3 years) can see her in her ghostly form and even make physical contact with her. Suffice it to say this little tidbit of luck helps her move along in solving what happened to her pretty nicely.

In the beginning of the book we get to see her check on everyone that she knew when she was alive. Seeing how they are coping after her death was great and I loved getting to see it all from the eyes of the dead girl (yes, Blunt is my middle name.) Normally we see it from the perspective of someone who knew the person who died but seeing it from the eyes of the deceased allowed for there to be a certain… lightness to it. What I mean is, Cassidy was able to crack jokes about her death and her newfound abilities so it made the novel a lot less bleak than stories with dead teens are usually. We also get to see first hand the details of what Cassidy was up to in the weeks leading up to her death as the memories come to her. The incorporation of the memories into the story was really cool because she would be taken into the memory in a really unique way. One thing that didn’t work too well for me is the jumpiness of the timeframes of these memories. In the beginning she would go back to memories she had of her girlfriends from junior high or with her boyfriend and it took me a bit to place what timeframe I was reading about. Not helping this matter is the fact that Cassidy’s first and last kiss were on the very same bridge that she died on so pinpointing exactly what instance we were reading about took some time for me at some parts. Once the memories started focussing more-so on the party that took place the night of her death I didn’t struggle with the jumps at all.

Something that left me quite underwhelmed with My Last Kiss was the intricate love web that is weaved and that essentially leads to Cassidy’s death. Friends having crushes on friends, cheating scandals and asshole jocks making moves when they shouldn’t is essentially the basis of everything that happens. It all felt very over-the-top-drama to me and was far too predictable. About halfway through you really see the pieces of the big picture start to show up and piecing them together was something that I was able to do right off the bat. I did hope for a twist that would take my by surprise in the end but unfortunately that didn’t happen.

I do think that My Last Kiss is a very unique take on the usual whodunnit thriller but it isn’t one that I think is really all that remarkable in any way. If you’re looking for something that is entertaining even though it is rather predictable then I think you could enjoy it.

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For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Tanya.
234 reviews16 followers
August 2, 2014
I won this book in a First Reads giveaway.

My Last Kiss is about a girl named Cassidy who died at her birthday party. The police have ruled it a drunken suicide, but she knows it was murder. She comes back as a ghost and has to figure out what really happened to her so she can rest. Her boyfriend, Ethan, is able to see her and helps her figure everything out.

I like the author's writing style and the story was engaging. I didn't want to put it down and kept thinking about the book while I was at work. I wanted my shifts to end so I could just read. The descriptions of everything were really well done. I could picture everything, which made me like this even more.

My favorite character was the main character because she's flawed and knows it. Her parents are getting a divorce and she had started doing things that she normally wouldn't have been doing. Mica was my least favorite character. The guy is a creep and a stereotypical "player/jock" combo.

I like how Cassidy switches from the present to her memories of her life and the night of the party. The transitions are abrupt sometimes, but that's because she basically gets sucked into the past. A lot of clues are revealed that way. It kind of sucks that she can't control it, but she does figure out how to "ghost-port" between places in the present.

One of the sort of shocking things in the book was that one of her best friends betrayed her and kept a lot of secrets from her. She was pretty deranged. I had a few different guesses about who the killer was, but I didn't figure out who it really was until right before it was revealed. The author does a good job at keeping you guessing.

The bridge was basically a character in the book. It's very central to the plot. Her first and last kisses took place there, her friends and sister keep going to the bridge, and the climax of the book takes place there.

If you like mystery, contemporary romance, young adult books, and/or nice imagery, you might like this. There is underage drinking and some swearing, incase that bothers anyone.
Profile Image for Ashley Finnegan.
178 reviews17 followers
June 2, 2014
This book is about a girl, Cassidy, that dies right after her birthday. She knows that she is dead but she has no real recollection of what happened to her. She enlists the help of her boyfriend Ethan to help her because for some crazy comsic reason he can see her but he is the only one that can.

When Cassidy is not with Ethan she is slipping off into recent memories to relive the past trying to remember what happened in the few weeks leading up to her death or she is with her two best friends Aimeé and Madison while they also work to find clues about what really happened the night of her birthday party.

This book is a young adult mystery/suspense and it is very addictive. I found myself glued to this book.. pretty much from the first page. I didn't want to put it down because I just had to know what really happened to the MC.

I kept coming up with all these different scenarios because of all the different clues getting thrown my way. Almost everyone is a suspect at some point and there are so many secrets that you have no idea who to trust. I think the author done a fantastic job because honestly I didn't peg the truth until it was put right in my face, which is always a positive thing with a GOOD mystery!
Profile Image for Jeff Raymond.
3,092 reviews178 followers
February 28, 2015
Now listen, boys and girls, as this book has a very important lesson. Stay tuned for spoilers.

This story is of a girl who dies via drowning, falling into a lake off a bridge in the middle of the night. She's now a ghost, not so much haunting her old friends and places as much as stuck, trying to figure out the unfinished business that's keeping her tethered to this world.

Why does this book fail? In part because there's no consistency to how her ghostiness works, but, perhaps more importantly, the message this sends. It turns out that she's stuck, at least in part if not completely, because she sort of cheated on her boyfriend by kissing another boy.

Really?

The moment that reveal came along I wanted to just toss it aside. What a terrible message to send, never mind a really weird and kind of dumb cop out. It doesn't help that no one is likable, that the love triangle is convoluted, that the motives are suspect. Little about this works at all.

Skip it.
Profile Image for AlenGarou.
1,207 reviews87 followers
August 18, 2018

Il Teen Thriller (o qualsiasi cosa sia questo “nuovo genere” tanto acclamato) è tedioso.
È un po’ come quegli accostamenti inconcludenti che ci fanno venire mal di pancia: il ketchup sulla pasta, l’ananas sulla pizza, la carbonara con la panna… insomma non si amalgamo bene come la cioccolata con la crema.
O è l’uno o è l’altro.
Decidetevi.
Dico questo perché, in base ai romanzi affini che ho letto finora, la trama si prende a pugni da sola. E in genere il match si conclude con il prevalere la parte teen, mentre quella thriller è agonizzante al suolo intenta a sputare i suoi poveri denti. Questa storia non fa eccezioni.
Ciò nonostante, in sé non sono dei libri malvagi, perché obiettivamente hanno un loro perché, ma il problema è farli funzionare a pieno ritmo, trovando un equilibro tra le due correnti senza terminare con una reazione da sbattimento di testa su superfici solide.
E fidatevi, per superare lo scoglio iniziale della trama, l’ho dovuta sbattere parecchie volte per non addormentarmi.
Ma veniamo a noi e a questo fantasmagorico libro.
Come fin troppe storie basate sulla morte della protagonista, quest’ultima torna sempre dall’aldilà sotto forma di fantasma per improvvisarsi detective Conan. Insomma, Hannah. Perché invece di lasciare in giro quelle cassette non hai fatto lo stesso anche tu, vendicandoti di quei bulletti da liceo con degli scherzi da paura? Eh? (Da notare come la ragazza in copertina le assomiglia pure).
Scusate, sta parentesi mi è venuta spontanea. Torniamo a noi.
La morta di turno si chiama Cassidy e, ovviamente, non ricorda nulla della sua morte. Si risveglia accanto al suo cadavere e, non potendo credere ai suoi occhi, liquida il tutto come un sogno. Sì, anche quando all’obitorio il medico legale inizia a tagliuzzarla per benino. Uhm… che gioia. Chissà come mai questa scena deve esserci a priori. Vuoi vedere che è un… *musichetta drammatica*
CLICHÈ!!!
Non so perché, ma oggi devo avere il deficit dell’attenzione.
Comunque, morale della favola, alla fine Cassidy si convince di essere morta sul serio e non apprezza il fatto che tutti la credano una suicida. Perché mai avrebbe dovuto buttarsi dal ponte? Era la ragazza più felice della terra dato che stava festeggiando il suo compleanno con gli amici (insomma). Ma le prove sono schiaccianti: era ubriaca e in mano teneva un bigliettino di scuse.
Il caso è chiuso, Watson. Si torna a Baker Street.
Maaaaaa… c’è un grande ma, Cassidy ha dei saltuari flashback quando prova ad attivare le sinapsi e si ritrova catapultata in diversi episodi del passato. Mentre viene inglobata da tali visioni, capisce che la sua morte non è stata un tragico incidente, bensì un crudele scherzo del destino. O dei suoi conoscenti. O dei suoi amici. O del suo cane.
TA TA TA TAAAAN.
No, non ha un cane. Credo… l’ho completamente rimosso.
Fortuna per lei, la sua migliore amica è l’unica a non credere a tutta la storiella bollata per buona dal resto della comunità, il che la rende il pg più intelligente della storia, anche se purtroppo combina ben poco durante le sue indagini e i suoi interrogatori alla FBI. Tuttavia, non sarà l’unica a ingegnarsi per scoprire la verità.
Nossignore. Ethan, il ragazzo storico di Cassidy, non solo si rimboccherà le maniche, ma sarà anche l’unica persona sulla faccia della Terra in grado di poterla vedere, sentire, odorare.
E toccare.
(lo so, manca il senso del gusto, ma mi risparmio l’immagine mentale di lui che prova a mangiarsela)
MAGIA!
Ghost, levati proprio che questi due possono bombare!!!
… ok, scusate.
Mi dispiace deludervi, ma non possono bombare perché a quanto pare Cassidy è un fantasma statico e non può cavarsi i vestiti.
… giuro che ora mi concentro.
Non ricordo esattamente a che punto del romanzo siamo, ma da qui fino agli ultimi capitoli non succede nulla di nulla se non una replica di O.C. con tanto di sigla iniziale e drammi inutili a palate.
Ed è per questo che mi ricollego all’introduzione iniziale.
Se per infilare indizi nella trama lo scrittore mi deve gettare all’aria i panni sporchi dei personaggi con l’unico risultato di riempire i vuoti con il teen dramma, tanto vale far partire la lavatrice. In questo caso dieci, dato che ce ne sono più che a sufficienza da sembrare la lavanderia dell’Accademia Militare. Ed è una cosa che mi fa abbastanza digrignare i denti, dato che la soluzione del caso è così palese da essere attorcigliata dalle lucette di Natale.
Ma… dopo tanto soffrire, ecco che la trama mi diventa finalmente un Thriller come dio comanda. Alla fine, ovviamente.
Non tanto perché i palesi nodi vengono finalmente tolti dal pettine, ma perché si percepisce tutta la tensione e la carica del momento. Il lettore viene obbligato a rimanere incollato al libro e a leggere la soluzione conclusiva tutta d’un fiato, per poi deprimersi nuovamente alla parentesi ghost-lovestory.
Perché sì, sostanzialmente, la maggior parte del romanzo non riguarda la verità sulla morte di Cassidy, ma le sue relazioni amorose. E non.
E, citando il caro Il Fu Matteo Fumagalli, Cassidy possiede ciò che molte protagoniste degli YA hanno incorporato.
La vagina magnetica.
Magneto, fossi in te starei lontano.
Ma devo ammetterlo, come al solito mi ritrovo a patteggiare per il friendzonato di turno. Che in questo caso è anche il fattone di turno, ma son dettagli. È un povero pupetto incompreso.
In conclusione, non posso dire che sia un romanzo da buttare. Ha i suoi molti difetti, tantoché potrebbe permettere a My Dilemma Is You di essere considerato come Thriller dato le premesse, ma ha anche dei pregi. Sepolti sotto i panni sporchi, certo, eppure presenti. I meccanismi e gli intrecci della trama c’erano, così come il movente e le attenuanti, ma purtroppo si sa dove si va a picchiare la testa. E non si tratta di una superficie solida in questo caso.
Il Mio Ultimo Bacio è un esordio che barcolla ma non molla, anche se di baci ce ne sono fin troppi.
Quindi, sostanzialmente, qual è l’ultimo alla fine?
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