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Love, Life, and the List #2

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss

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Lacey Barnes has dreamed of being an actress for as long as she can remember. So when she gets the opportunity to star in a movie alongside one of Hollywood’s hottest actors, she doesn’t hesitate to accept the part.

But Lacey quickly learns that life in the spotlight isn’t as picture perfect as she imagined. She’s having trouble bonding with her costars, her father has hired the definition of a choir boy, Donavan Lake, to tutor her, and somewhere along the way she’s lost her acting mojo. And just when it seems like things couldn’t get any worse, it looks like someone on set is deliberately trying to sabotage her.

As Lacey’s world spins out of control, it feels like the only person she can count on—whether it’s helping her try to unravel the mystery of who is out to get her or snap her out of her acting funk—is Donavan. But what she doesn’t count on is this straight-laced boy becoming another distraction.

With her entire future riding on this movie, Lacey knows she can’t afford to get sidetracked by a crush. But for the first time in her life Lacey wonders if it’s true that the best stories really do happen when you go off script.

400 pages, ebook

First published February 5, 2019

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About the author

Kasie West

24 books17.5k followers
I write YA. I eat Junior Mints. Sometimes I go crazy and do both at the same time. My novels are: PIVOT POINT and its sequel SPLIT SECOND. And my contemporary novels: THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, ON THE FENCE, THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND, PS I LIKE YOU, BY YOUR SIDE, LUCKY IN LOVE, LOVE LIFE and the LIST, LISTEN TO YOUR HEART, FAME FATE and the FIRST KISS, MAYBE THIS TIME, and MOMENT OF TRUTH. My agent is the talented and funny Michelle Wolfson.

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Profile Image for Melanie.
1,176 reviews98.9k followers
February 9, 2019
ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

“I have to convince audiences everywhere that a zombie loves a zombie hunter. So far, it’s not happening. So far, the only thing future viewers care about is that I’m not someone else.”

Okay, the only other thing I’ve ever read by Kasie West was the short story of hers in Snow in Love, but I think it is safe to say that I am officially just going to preorder everything she writes from now on, because this story was also such a damn delight. And she is now 2/2 for writing the sweetest and softest boys in YA literature. I honestly just had a smile on my face while reading the majority of this book. If I’m ever in need of a feelgood book, I’m just going to turn to Kasie West’s backlist from now on.

So, basically, Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss stars a girl named Lacey who just landed a breakout role in an indie zombie film which she will co-star in with the extremely famous, Grant James! Lacey has only ever done minor acting roles in the past, but she is willing to give up her senior year of high school to move to Hollywood and to give this role all she has. Meanwhile, her father has agreed to move with her, to help give her structure. Yet, he also gives her a tutor named Donovan, who is supposed to keep her on track with the schoolwork that she is already neglecting.

But while filming, it becomes apparent that maybe Grant and Lacey don’t have the best onscreen chemistry with one another. Yet, Lacey is finding it easier and easier to find chemistry with the tutor who is supposed to be teaching her chemistry. *winky face* Donovan is the sweetest boy and I just loved him completely from page one. No spoilers, but the jumping on the trampoline scene? Added five years to my life.

But on top of Lacey trying to put everything she has into this zombie role, it becomes more and more apparent that someone is trying to sabotage her chances of making it big. I won’t lie, this does have a bit of a Scooby-Doo feeling mystery around the movie set, because the someone that is trying to sabotage Lacey before her career even gets started is kind of doing innocent things. Yet, I still loved that it kept me guessing for far longer than it probably should have. Towards the end it became kind of obvious who it was, but right up until that ending point, I was honestly thinking that the sabotage was someone else.

I also didn’t love the inclusion of bits of the movie script in-between chapters. I feel like we got a good enough feel of the plot of the film without those, and it pulled me out of the story (ironical enough) each time I read them. I think this book would have been stronger without them entirely, honestly. Also, there was a scene with them finding a drug dealer’s lair that I thought would come back into play and just never did and it was a little wild.

But my only real complaint was that I kind of hated both of Lacey’s parents. I totally get that she’s only seventeen, but they both just felt like crappy parental figures throughout the book. From her mom, boxing up her stuff and giving her room to an animal that Lacey wouldn’t like, even though she thought she would be coming back to finish her senior year! To her dad who decided he wanted to play a major role in her life seventeen years too late, and then force her to over exhaust and over work herself to try to have a semblance of a “normal” teenage life, after agreeing to letting her act in the movie. I don’t know, they just both rubbed me the wrong way, and not even the ending of this book justified their actions to me. But at least she got a cute and sweet tutor out of the deal.

Overall, I just loved this. It was the perfect sweet and heartwarming contemporary that I needed. I actually think this would be a perfect read for the spooky season. I mean, I wouldn’t say it is “spooky” per se, but it surrounds the making of a horror film all about zombies! And some of the moments in this book will keep you on the edge of your seat, involving the sabotage on the set. But I just think Kasie West is a master of YA Romance, and I think she is so deservingly beloved among the community. I can’t wait to see what she does next, and she 100% made a new fan from me.

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The quote above was taken from an ARC and is subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for a couple comments that are weird about food and dieting, talk of online harassment and bullying, and use of the word cr*zy.

Buddy Read with Amy & Heather! ❤
Profile Image for Jasmine from How Useful It Is.
1,339 reviews352 followers
October 5, 2018
I started reading Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss on 9/28/2018 and finished it on 10/4/2018. This book is a fantastic read! I like the main character’s easy going personality. The conversations between the characters are full of humor and just happy. It’s interesting to read about an actress’ life, especially the underage ones. I didn’t know fans could follow a movie while they act. I have never run into one. I like reading about another fellow reviewer. I like Lacey’s card games of getting to know someone new. Having someone trying to sabotage Lacey makes the read a bit more thrilling.

This book is told in the first person point of view following Lacey Barnes, 17, high school senior and an actress, currently playing a role for a zombie movie, her first big starring role. She has to keep up with her homework while on set for her acting but she doesn’t keep up with her studies very well. Her overprotective dad hires tutors for her and the last one just quit. Her dad comes to inform her that her new tutor will be a boy from her sponsor school. Lacey doesn’t date. She doesn’t want a boy to get in the way of her acting and so another boy and another tutor doesn’t excite her because she wants to focus on her big role. She’s having a rough patch on her role because she and her hot co-star lacks chemistry. She’s spending time with him to get to know him better to improve their chemistry situation. Beginning of each chapter there will be a scene from the movie Lacey’s in.

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss is very well written and fun to read. I like that this book has the slow burning romance where the characters move on from disliking each other to liking each other. I like the comparison between overprotective dad and dad who never showed up. I like the romance in this story because it stays on the surface and not go far beyond kisses. I like Lacey’s quick come back to argument with her dad about being happy on the job everyday. This book is not one to help me fall back to sleep when I wake up in the middle of the night, which is a good thing. A good book is worth sacrificing sleep over. I highly recommend everyone to read this book!

Pro: fast paced, page turner, living on set, humor, romance, easy to read, dad issues

Con: none

I rate it 5 stars!

***Disclaimer: Many thanks to the author Kasie West, publisher HarperTeen, and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.

Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details
Profile Image for Christy.
3,920 reviews33.1k followers
May 18, 2019
3.5 stars

 photo 556E7DAD-8DC2-4790-8A88-1C5E81FEB320_zps4yyg3uec.png

I was really excited to read Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss, as I loved Love, Life, and the List and I knew Lacey from that. Though I didn’t love this one near as much, it was still an enjoyable read. I’ve come to realize I think I like Kasie West’s books much better in audio format. This is the first I read instead of listened to (I read it in physical form from my library) and honestly I think the audios are a much better experience than reading them for me.

Lacey Barnes is a high schooler and an actress who has finally gotten her big break. She’s staring in an indie film along a huge actor. This is a really big deal. It’s her senior year of high school and instead of doing normal things kids her age are doing, she’s living with her dad in LA and going to set every day. Her dad is worried she’s falling behind in school so he hires a tutor named Donovan. 

Donovan was my favorite part of this book. I adored him. I liked Lacey too and most of the secondary characters. The mystery aspect of the story felt a little flat to me and I personally think the book would have been better without it. I still loved the love story woven in. West writes the sweetest boys and I can’t get enough of them.

If you’re looking for a sweet and lighthearted YA, pick this one up. I love Kasie West’s books and I’m looking forward to reading more of them! I’ve got a backlist to catch up on!
Profile Image for Kristin Hackett (Merrily Kristin).
215 reviews3,663 followers
April 19, 2019
Sadly, this was not my favorite Kasie West book.

Fame, Fate and the First Kiss is the first Kasie West book I've read that I actively disliked. Usually Kasie strikes a strong balance between the romance and the personal issues in her books, but this one was very bogged down in the romance and I just couldn't connect with it. I love that it takes place on the set of a zombie film that Lacey is costarring in with a well-known actor, but I just couldn't get myself to care about the plot or the characters. There was a secondary sabotage plot happening on set but I thought it was pretty obvious who was behind everything as soon as the culprit was introduced.
The only reason that I finished this book and didn't DNF it is because Kasie is an author I love and I wanted to give it a full chance for redemption. Sadly, that never came. I was truly disappointed by this one.
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,748 reviews5,287 followers
February 6, 2019
All Lacey has ever wanted is to become a successful actress, and she’s done everything she can to get there—working hard, neglecting her social life, and even swearing off love altogether. It seems like her work has paid off when she lands a leading role in a horror film alongside a superstar, until her father’s over-abundance of concern forces her to work with a tutor, Donavan Lake. It seems like Donavan’s presence will only drag her down, until someone begins to sabotage her on set, and the tutor is the only one who will help her track down the culprit—and, worse yet, he’s making her question all of her own rules about love and business.

I’m pretty new to the world of Kasie West fans, admittedly; I read the first novel in this little ‘universe’ last year (Love, Life, and the List) and thought it was cute, but I wasn’t “wowed” until one of Kasie’s short stories this past Christmas became my favorite romance short of all time and put her solidly on my radar. With that track record, I went into this novel feeling like it would be the dealbreaker. Thankfully, Fame went above and beyond to convert me, and I feel pretty comfortable saying now that I’m adding Kasie West to my “auto-read” list.

→ L I K E S :

I’d never had to win anyone over like this and I had to admit, it made the small victories more satisfying.

First of all, her narrative voice itself is wonderful; like I feel every sweet romantic contemporary should be, it’s quick-paced, light, and fun without being shallow. She gets a lovely and nuanced story across without any extras or unnecessary add-ons, which makes books like Fame perfect for busting a reading slump or binge reading in one day.

Happiness was not the right word to describe how I felt. Maybe euphoric or alive. Like everything I had worked for my entire life had led me to this.

On top of that, her characters? You gotta love ‘em. They’re fun, witty, complex, and interesting. Lacey is such an enjoyable protagonist; she’s arrogant and spoiled in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way—she knows she’s a pain, but she rolls with it, and it works for her character so well. Donavan is a grouchy little fluff and I loved watching him slowly open up; plus, it was nice to see a budding romance where they communicated fairly easily instead of it being a book full of back-and-forth miscommunication.

Next to his own name he added, ‘Revenge for all the math Lacey makes him explain.’ I smirked. “I’d want revenge for that, too.”

Of course, Fame isn’t just a romance; it’s also a mystery story, and a pretty good one at that. The book flies by because you’re kept in solid suspense for who the saboteur is, and when the big reveal happens, it wasn’t the character or motive I assumed it would be, so that was a nice surprise.


Overall, Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss was a knockout YA romance for me—it was cute, fun, a quick read, had enjoyable characters, didn’t rely on overusage of tropes, and the main character is acting in a horror movie, which was such a fun detail to the story.


Anyone who enjoys fluffy, cutesy romances without problematic content or overusage of tropes, as well as anyone who’s already a fan of Kasie West or similar authors.

All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to HarperTeen for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for ♛ may.
806 reviews3,840 followers
July 25, 2019
book #4 completed! for the reading rush, under the challenge of: "a book that has five or more words in the title"

a list of things i liked
- the movie set was well written and included enough details that kept me intrigued without making me feel bored
- the romance was so wholesome and sweet
- i LOVE donavan. soft, dark-haired boys, my weakness
- the writing was super easy and engaging, i sped through it without even realizing
- the friendship, could have had more but not complaining

a list of things i didn't like
- lacey's parents are pretty crappy lets be real here
- her father is a helicopter-parent that doesn't even helicopter well and just frowns all day and her mother's pretty absent from her life (except for like half a chapter!!!yay!!!)
- there was a mini, little mystery thing going on in the second half of the book and IT WAS SO BADLY DONE I'M SORRY WHAT
- the reveal was terrible, it honestly didn't even need to be a part of the book, it would have been fine without it
- grant ???? sucks ????

honestly the romance was the highlight of this book. it was really sweet and precious and didn't have any toxic, terrible behaviour from either character and we really love that

3.5 stars

buddy read with jiabee
Profile Image for Anatea Oroz.
302 reviews516 followers
November 13, 2020
I feel like with every new book that I read from Kasie West, I like them less and less. I'm not sure what changed, if it is my reading preference that's changed or the writing is not as good as it has been. Not to say that I didn't enjoy the book - I did, I just wasn't as amazed by this one as I was with my first couple of Kasie's books, like On the Fence and The Distance between us. And I sooo wanted to finally love a book by Kasie again.

What bothered me the most with this book is that it is not rememberable. Yes, it's a cute book with a cute storyline and I breezed through it, but in a month I probably won't even remember the names of the characters. Hell, even now I don't know them by heart. I didn't feel anything particular for the male leads, I liked Lacey's spunk though.

With all of that being said, I will still be waiting for next Kasie's book, and hope it's an amazing one.

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Profile Image for Stacee.
2,741 reviews711 followers
February 3, 2019
I will always read a Kasie book. I don’t even read the synopsis.

I liked Lacey and Donovan. They’re both driven and maybe a little stubborn. Their banter was playful and fun. The on set characters were interesting and I especially enjoyed seeing Abby and Cooper again.

Plot wise, it was okay. It was slow and quick moving at the same time. Because Lacey’s day is nearly the same every day, it felt a bit repetitive at parts. The sabotage thread didn’t really work for me. I did like the idea of it and was second guessing everyone’s intentions, but the reveal and reasoning fell flat.

Overall, it was another cute and fluffy book. I would have liked a little more from the epilogue, but I might be greedy.

**Huge thanks to Harper Teen for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Natalie.
440 reviews150 followers
March 24, 2020

Honestly, if you want a quick, fluffy read (especially considering what's going on at the moment), I highly recommend this!

Romance, friendship, mystery, showbusiness, family - it's all here! And it's refreshing that the protagonist and the love interest don't have any stupid misunderstandings. Young adult does this a lot and it puts me off, characters just don't communicate. Lacey and Donovan get on so well and it just takes off from there - trust, support, care. It's nice and very sweet. A healthy relationship.

I took a star off because there are segments of the script for the film Lacey is in. I just didn't care for it. I was more invested in the main story.

GAH! Read this everyone.

I'm on a Kasie West binge and loving it. On to the next one! ♥️
Profile Image for Brittany.
900 reviews118 followers
May 3, 2019
4 Stars!!

I just adore Kasie West- and her ability to tell a sweet, and heartwarming story! And this one did not disappoint!

In FFFK, we follow Lacey, a 17 year old, pursuing an acting career. She gets her first big break staring in a lead roll for a zombie movie. She is staying with her dad while she works and is having to sort of homeschool while she works on set. She isn't very enthusiastic about having to work on school stuff in her spare time- because the movie is keeping her pretty busy. In an effort to help keep his daughter on track, Lacey's dad hires a tutor named Donovan.

Lacey isn't sure what she thinks about having a tutor/babysitter. She just wants to work on her movie then worry about her senior year. But when someone starts trying to sabotage her roll on set- she starts to take everything, including her school work a little more seriously.

I really enjoyed this book!! There was a little bit of everything in here- romance, comedy, mystery, thriller, action etc. It was an all in one, of sorts. I really love how all her characters just flow and you become fully invested in them.

Lacey had some major character growth from start to finish. And I really liked Donovan and all of the side characters. I was shocked when someone was trying to sabotage her, and I thought I knew who it was- HA! I was wrong, which was nice because I usually end up figuring out things like that!

Overall, Kasie West is one of my favorite YA contemporary writers. Her writing is so good and always clean cut without all the garbage. I love that the most about her!! Kudos! Another winner for West - Totally recommend !
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,051 reviews1,050 followers
April 8, 2020
I may have to agree with Lacey, our main character, on the lack of chemistry. Not just with Grant but with Donavan as well. I'm feeling a little bummed out because chemistry is Kasie West's forte. But it's still enjoyable though. The characters are likable enough, not the usual characters she writes, this time they're actors actually on set and shooting a zombie movie so that is something new. I also liked the two storylines. The actual plot and the one in the zombie movie script. The little mystery is also quite intriguing and well, it's Kasie West. I'll read anything she writes.

P.S. I didn't realize this was a sequel to Love, Life, and the List. No wonder why I keep thinking about where I read the couple Abby and Cooper. Lol. That's the disadvantage of reading too much books, I guess.
Profile Image for Sharon.
506 reviews273 followers
May 10, 2019
Here are some of my thoughts:
• Of the 11 books I’ve read from West so far, I’ll say this is definitely in the top 3 somewhere. I’ll probably place it 2nd after FIB.
• I like Lacey. She is bold, friendly, and funny. I already liked her back in Love, Life, and the List as Abby’s new friend. She is not perfect – she can be avoidant of things she don’t want to deal with (schoolwork, her dad), and she can be overly fixated on her career and what the media says (which is quite understandable). However, I really have to appreciate her passion for acting. She’s a go-getter when she really wants something – I love that.
• Donavan: Love him. I have always loved romances where they are opposites in personality – she is impulsive and he is straight-laced. I love how different he is from Lacey – Despite their initial somewhat dislike of each other, they end up bonding well and talking comfortably with each other. I like that build up of their friendship along with their romance. He is immensely sweet and helpful as he supports her through her problems.
• Here, this book definitely takes a different turn from all her other books. Less high school setting (although there is still a bit of that) as we see Lacey starts her first official acting job in a movie.
• I also love the strong family and friendship themes (as always, in Kasie West’s books). Abby and Cooper show up again. And we also meet Amanda, a fellow actress and Grant, her co-star. It is fun to see her interact with them, especially her new friends. And her relationship with her dad has been interesting – there are a lot of tension and not seeing eye-to-eye, but I am glad that they learn to work it out by the end and compromise.

3.5 stars (maybe 4). Likable characters, simple yet entertaining plot with the filming, and really sweet romance.

Things that you might want to know (WARNING: Spoilers below)
Happy/satisfying ending?
Love triangle? Cheating? Angst level?
Favorite scenes?
I’ve been reading Kasie West’s books for 5 years now and I still get giddy when reading a new one ☺️☺️
Profile Image for ✧˖° lydia °˖✧.
195 reviews170 followers
May 17, 2023

adorable! This was honestly way cuter than I expected. I flew right through it and it was just the fluffy read I needed <3

Though, I did think the ending/big reveal was kind of anticlimactic... like, really? That's it? I've noticed this pattern in Kasie West books a lot, but I always expect her to wrap up every mini plot thread and bring back in seemingly crucial things mentioned a few times, but she never does. That's just me, though, I guess 😂

I also wish her books had a little bit of a longer lasting impression on me. Love, Life, and the List, Moment of Truth, and The Distance Between Us are all amazing and I remember the romance in all of these super clearly. But the rest.... I literally can say while reading them that I will not remember most of everything as soon as I'm done. And I don't.

But I'm not trying to be negative, and her books are really cute, so if you need a nice fluffy read I'd recommend!

happy reading xx
Profile Image for Scrill.
408 reviews204 followers
May 17, 2019

Reviews like this can also be found on my blog, Vicariously & Voraciously

Aspiring actress Lacey has landed herself gig costarring with one of the hottest actors in Hollywood. But she can’t seem to get chemistry with him right on screen. Meanwhile someone seems to be sabotaging her success on set and she also has to juggle her overbearing dad who hires a tutor just to helper her get her homework done. She can’t seem to catch a break like the one she got when she landed the role.

The Story-
Oh my gosh, this was so cute. For a while there I was starting to lose faith in Kasie West’s ability to woo me with her YA contemporary romances, but she’s been back in the upswing. First of all, I don’t know how she knocks out so many books out each year continuously. She is an amazing book writing machine. Anyway, the book exceeded my expectations. It was everything I want in a YA contemporary with it’s easy reading that you can finish in one sitting to characters that are genuinely likeable.

The actual plot is unique in the fact that it seems like some petty high school type stuff, but is involved on a film set. I loved that there were bits of the script between the chapters that sort of played along with the story. It definitely added some light distraction from the story. Sort of like an amuse-bouche between before the chapter.

Kasie tends to have problems that some teens face, but only ever really delivers in a light manner. It’s a plot point, it’s addressed, but overall isn’t a major life changing book to learn from. I think the aim is purely for entertainment and that’s what this book gave me.

The Characters-
Lacey is a character that we previously met in a Love, Life, and the List. She’s lively and has a strong personality in getting what she wants. The thing about her is that she rolls with it. She knows that she is a bit selfish and spoiled but plays it up almost as a flirting technique and it’s just endearing. I love how she slowly uncovers the personalities of her friends and finds her way back to what makes her great as an actress. I think my favorite part was when she realizes that she belongs where she was. At some point we all start to lose faith in ourselves and our abilities, and after some struggles she see something that triggers her understanding that yes, she is good at what she does and deserves to have her part in the film.
Profile Image for Maggie ☘.
538 reviews658 followers
May 15, 2021
Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss had the kind of Kasie West magic I've been missing in some of her recent books a little bit. With this newest book, I feel like the magic is back.

I'm not going to lie, I didn't expect too much from this book. Especially since this book follows a character we first got to meet in Love, Life, and the List - Lacey was the former MC's friend. I think I had this stigma in my head because Love, Life, and the List is, alongside with Lucky in Love, my least favourite KW book ever. Well, I ended up being very pleasantly surprised!

This book follows Lacey Barnes a teen actress and - hopefully - future break out star on her adventures filming a romantic-ish zombie horror movie.

I really liked both Lacey as a heroine - she was quite spunky and brave and definitely personable - and Donovan - the straight laced film critic love interest. I also came to like the group of characters and their dynamic overall.

All in all, recommended for fans of KW and for new readers looking for something light and binge-able.


My rating of all KW contemporaries:

The Distance Between Us ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)

On the Fence ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)

The Fill-In Boyfriend ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)

P.S. I Like You ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars)

By Your Side ★★☆☆☆ (2/5 stars)

Lucky in Love ★☆☆☆☆ (1/5 stars)

Love, Life, and the List ★☆☆☆☆ (1/5 stars)

Listen to Your Heart ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars)

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)

Moment of Truth ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars)

Maybe This Time ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars)
Profile Image for  ••Camila Roy••.
161 reviews49 followers
October 9, 2018

e-ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

Lacey Barnes has dreamed of being an actress for as long as she can remember. So, when she gets the opportunity to star in a movie alongside one of Hollywood’s hottest actors, she doesn’t hesitate to accept the part. Lacey quickly learns that life in the spotlight isn’t as picture-perfect as she imagined. With her entire future riding on this movie, Lacey knows she can’t afford to get sidetracked by anything. Specially not a crush...

Kasie West does it again! For those who have read (and enjoyed) her previous novels, you know what to expect: fun plot, likeable characters and a cute, swoon-worthy romance.

Lacey’s personality really appealed to me. She was funny and charming, yet a little bit strange. Donovan (aka the love interest), on the other hand, was more serious and collected. As we know, opposites attract.

The plot went down the road of predictability towards the end, but I wasn’t bothered by it. It didn’t ruin my reading experience. Most people like to be surprised by the resolution of a mystery. I dont need an ending to be very shocking, as long as the events prior to it are entertaining.

This isn’t Kasie’s best book but it’s memorable enough. I love the concepts she’s been coming up with lately and I’m beyond excited to see what she does next.

Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,868 reviews2,245 followers
August 1, 2020
3 stars

It’s been a minute since I read a Kasie West novel, she’s my YA guilty pleasure. Since the pandemic began I haven’t had much of a mind for reading, but I’ve been able to listen to audiobooks on my commute to work and that’s exactly what I did with this book. I actually really liked this book, the first 75% of it or so was a 4 star read for me. But then the last 30 minutes or so of listening, everything was extremely rushed and outcomes were so unsatisfying. I felt this book was a lot of buildup and no payoff. It was a cute escape from reality and I’m glad I listened, but I wish the ending had lived up to the rest of the book.
Profile Image for chloe ♡.
394 reviews269 followers
May 1, 2020
this has become my new favorite kasie west book! ☻ i definitely liked it a lot better than life, love and the list (see my review here) because the mc, despite always worrying about not connecting enough with her co-lead in the movie she's starring in, actually has a lot of chemistry with her romantic interest.
Profile Image for Tucker  (TuckerTheReader).
908 reviews1,627 followers
May 24, 2020
What a novel! Can you believe this is my first Kasie West book? I know, crazy! Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The writing was descriptive and flowed perfectly from sentence to sentence. I especially enjoyed the sections of the movie.

Thanks to HarperTeen for sending me an eGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,010 reviews378 followers
February 5, 2019
Such a cute story! Full review to come closer to release date.


Is there anything better than an adorable read in front of the fire place on a cool winter-y afternoon?

Nope, I believe not.

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss, like most West books, was just so much fun. So cute and sweet and just the right thing to escape for a couple of hours and be left, by the very last page, with a smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart.

Classic West with all the feels, friendships, and storyline that we've all come to know, count on, and love.

*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Suzzie.
917 reviews161 followers
February 19, 2019
I adore Kasie West books because they are cute and lighthearted stories that are a breath a fresh air after reading too many intense and overdramatic or big world building fantasy books. Sometimes avid readers have to have these types of books to enjoy quickly. This one is about a teen that is starting out as an actress. There is some mystery, light drama, friendship and cute romance.

My quick and simple overall: adorable, quick read.
Profile Image for Jiana.
296 reviews824 followers
July 26, 2019
Book #4 for the reading rush: Read a book that has five or more words in the title: ✓


that was cute but i wasn’t totally invested rip. but can we talk about Donavan!? soft soft boy ♥

buddy read with may (the only person i'd buddy read kasie west with ♥)
Profile Image for tiffany (readbytiffany).
177 reviews688 followers
February 5, 2019
FULL REVIEW: https://readbytiffany.wordpress.com/2...

Kasie West is definitely one of my favorite authors, and her books are always super feel-good, soft, and fluffy. As much as I love her books, this one wasn't up to par to her other releases like The Fill-In Boyfriend or P.S. I Like You. It was definitely still an enjoyable read, and I really grew to love the main characters. However, the writing and development of the story felt a bit muddled and messy. I wouldn't say that this is her best book, but it does satisfy my need for a cutesy contemporary.

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss follows Lacey Barnes, a 17-year-old actress and high school student, who has been cast for her first big-screen movie alongside Hollywood big shot, Grant James. 🎬 Lacey’s determined to prove herself as an actress , but her plans start to fall short when the director thinks Lacey and Grant have no chemistry on screen, which really can’t be helped considering Lacey is playing a zombie and monster make-up doesn’t really inspire butterflies.

Not only that, Lacey’s helicopter father is requiring her to improve her math grade and has hired a tutor, Donovan, to make sure of it. With all that’s going on, Lacey doesn’t need another tutor let alone another boy added to the mix, but maybe, there’s more for Donovan to help with other than just math homework. 😉

Although this book followed the classic Kasie West rom-com formula, the writing of this story felt underdeveloped which flowed into other aspects of the book. Lacey was an easy character to love—she was ambitious, sympathetic, and a fun POV to read from. On the other hand, the other side characters felt more one-dimensional and could have been explored a bit further. There were also a couple scenes that felt like filler and didn’t help move the story along.

The climax of the book involves a mystery which added more suspense and excitement; however, the end result was underwhelming. We’re left clues throughout the story about who the potential suspect could be, but I was disappointed when the real suspect was revealed because it just opened more plot holes and left me more confused.

Still, the romance was a fun slow-burn to watch unfold, and I loved every interaction the two had together because my heart skipped a beat in classic Kasie West contemporary fashion. 😍 Another aspect of the story that I think was done very well was the development of Lacey and her father’s relationship. He plays a major part in the story, and I enjoyed seeing him slowly becoming more supportive of her career.

Overall, this book was an enjoyable read, but I expected more from one of my favorite contemporary-writing queens. Hopefully, her next book will be more reminiscent of her classic love stories, so I’m excited to see what she writes next!

Thank you to Edelweiss+ and HarperTeen for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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Profile Image for Jessica (Goldenfurpro).
893 reviews253 followers
February 18, 2019
This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd

Kasie West is an auto-buy author for me. Even though the books she writes don't always become a favorite of mine, I can always count on a feel-good contemporary romance from her. While this book was an enjoyable read, it did not make the favorites list.

Our main character, Lacey, has just gotten her first lead movie role in an independent zombie movie (based on a book). So far, she hasn't gotten the best publicity. Her co-star is a famous movie star and his fans aren't too happy that a nobody is starring in a movie with him. It doesn't help that Lacey's director keeps complaining that there is no chemistry between Lacey and her co-star and that Lacey's father keeps bursting on set, worried that his daughter is being overworked. Also, things on set seem to be falling apart, items going missing, lights falling over, and it looks like it is Lacey's fault. Lacey's dad hires a tutor, Donovan, to help Lacey focus on her schoolwork, which Lacey is none too happy about. She doesn't want anything to distract her from her goal of being an actress. As it turns out, Donovan can help her with her chemistry problem and help her find out who is trying to sabotage her, but she has to be careful not to get too close.

One of the more interesting aspects of this book was the use of movie scripts throughout the book. Every so often we are given a snippet from the movie Lacey is in, which helps to understand what Lacey is trying to do in some of the book scenes. In many scenes, she's actually wearing zombie makeup, even during her study sessions! It was also obvious that West did research on the movie business, even if she likely took some liberties, and having a YA novel set on a movie set is unusual in itself. I don't believe I have ever read one until now.

Lacey was a great main character. She is a lot more outgoing than the contemporary YA characters that I'm used to. Although, she still has her insecurities. She's just starting out in the movie business and she is worried about how the public is perceiving her. Yet, she is trying her hardest not to let her worries show and instead show others that she is right for this role and can be a fantastic actress. When she thinks she is having trouble with something, she tries her best to grow and fix it. When she was having trouble with chemistry, she decided that she needed to get to know her co-stars better, and she gained friendships from that. Her two co-stars, Amanda and Grant, played minor roles in the story, but I loved seeing how all of them interacted, especially Lacey and Amanda.

As for the romance, because of course there was romance, it was fine. I liked the dynamic between Lacey and Donovan. They had different viewpoints. Lacey is much more outrageous, willing to break into an abandoned building in her zombie makeup, which Donovan is less likely to. Lacey considers Donovan to be "straitlaced". When reading the book, I fully expected them to get together at some point and I enjoyed seeing them interact in order to get to that point. Part of the conflict that Lacey and Donovan encounter is that Lacey does not date because she wants to focus on acting, while Donovan does not date actresses. This is not a new conflict in contemporary romance and it did not feel much like an actual conflict because, again, I knew from the get-go they would eventually get together.

The main drawback to this book was the way the sabotage was handled. I understand why West included it because it creates a further conflict and it did make me want to turn to pages in hopes that it would get better for Lacey, but I figured out who was doing the sabotage really early on. This made me upset that the characters weren't seeing what I thought was obvious. When they did find out who was doing it, it was over really quickly, which was a bit anti-climatic, and the motive did not really make sense to me.

While I was a bit let-down by the end, this book did make for a cute contemporary romance and despite the fact that I knew what was coming, I couldn't help but turn the pages. Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss makes for a fun read and one that is great for the chilly months. This book is the second in a trilogy of companion books with interconnected characters (Lacey is friends with the couple in Love, Life, and the List). I'm curious who will be the focus of the next book. I'm hoping Amanda, but it's probably unlikely. Anyway, I plan on reading more from Kasie West in the future. I already have Maybe This Time preordered!
August 6, 2018
2.5 stars review also on my blog

ARC kindly provided by Harper Teen in exchange for an honest review.

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss follows Lacey, a new, seventeen-year-old actress, as she stars in a zombie film opposite a renowned actor, named Grant. Since signing onto this film, she’s had a rift with her father, who wants her to focus on school and not get caught up in show business. Her father ends up hiring a tutor from the local school, who happens to be an entertainment (a.k.a. film) reviewer for his school paper. The book follows Lacey navigating her first time on a relatively large movie set while negative things begin to surface about her online.

My main issue with this book was that nothing really happens. Despite taking place on a movie set-which should be exciting in itself-nothing of substance happens at the beginning of the book. I understand that this is a contemporary novel and there isn’t much room for action, but we can’t stay inside the main character’s head the entire time. After finishing this, I could probably summarise everything that happened in 5 minutes since nothing of note occurred. The main complication of the entire novel revolved around negative press that Lacey was beginning to get online – something that is the norm for young actresses with a social media presence anyway.

I’ve said this before, but I think I’m too old for West’s books. Sometimes I wish she wouldn’t add certain conflicts to her books without making it extremely obvious. I know these aren’t intended for someone my age in the first place, but it seems so blatant that I’m sure a 12-year-old could figure it out. Not that a contemporary book needs to be shocking, but it’s frustrating when something is right in front of your eyes and the main character doesn’t acknowledge it. When the reveal of who was sabotaging Lacey occurred, it left more questions than answers. It’s obvious the author tried to transfer the suspicion to other characters, but these were never properly answered and left more plot holes than solutions. Also, a lot of her dilemmas could easily be fixed if she just changed the passcode to her phone.

The romance was also lacking, which is surprising for a West novel. I wasn’t entirely convinced on Lacey’s chemistry with Donavan and there weren’t any sparks when they finally got together. In fact, it felt rushed since it didn’t happen until towards the ending, and then the question of what’s in store for them isn’t answered properly (even in the epilogue). Donavan also didn’t have any qualities that stood out as different from any male character in the Young Adult genre. He’s got dark, brown hair, he’s broody, he has daddy issues, and he has a specific type of girl he likes to date. I know most of the female main characters in West’s books have distinct interests and personalities, but I’d like to see her branch out from the same old love story that she recycles in every novel.

Overall, I’m going to surmise that West books aren’t written for my demographic anymore. I like reading her novels for a quick, short reprieve between some other books that require a lot of thought, so I’ll probably still pick up her books, I just won’t be expecting anything of substance. I’d recommend this if you’re a fan of her previous books because it definitely has that atmosphere, but I wouldn’t expect anything outstandingly different to other contemporary novels on the market.
Profile Image for Alexa.
2,214 reviews11.8k followers
January 23, 2019
Whenever I crack open a Kasie West novel, I expect to have warm, fuzzy feelings - and that certainly happened with FAME, FATE AND THE FIRST KISS. It honestly read a lot like a DCOM or a teen rom-com, and since I tend to be a sucker for those types of stories, I thought this one was quite enjoyable. The main couple were quite cute to read about, and I enjoyed the secondary characters (and cameos) a ton. If you enjoy these types of tales or want a read that's on the lighter side, definitely check this one out.
Profile Image for Alissa J. Zavalianos.
Author 7 books268 followers
September 25, 2022
Okay, so I’ve decided that Kasie West is probably my favorite contemporary romance writer. I don’t know how, but all her characters are so relatable and endearing. Plus, there isn’t a plethora of physical longings or descriptions—just some sweet kisses!

It’s funny because this book has a sub-plot where Lacey, the main character, is acting in a zombie movie. (Side note: there are movie scenes interspersed between the chapters which is a nice touch). And it’s weird because if you know me, I really don’t like zombies or vampires or anything of that nature. But I found I didn’t mind it in this book since it was secondary.

I loved Donovan’s character and the way he and Lacey fall in love. And the fact that they are complete opposites is amazing because they work so well together.

This was a super fun read, and now I want to reread all of West’s books haha.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,896 reviews
February 13, 2019
This book was super cute. I really enjoyed it!

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss is a Young Adult contemporary romance. It is the second book in a set of three standalone books with crossover characters. The first book was Abby's story in Love, Life, and the List.

This book can 100% be read as a standalone. Abby has a small part in this book. But you don't need to know anything about Love, Life, and the List to enjoy this book. I actually have read Love, Life, and the List, but had no idea while reading this book that it was the same Abby.

The narrator of this book is 17 year old actress Lacey Barnes (1st person POV). She is starring in her first movie. But she is still a senior in high school. So she has to juggle both things at the same time.

This book was a quick read. It was charming and I really enjoyed it.

The story is about a girl who is living her dream of becoming an actress. She gets a big break by being cast in a zombie movie. Her leading man is already a big star.

Lacey's overbearing father is a major part of this book. As is the high school component of the story. Both parts were very interesting.

There is also a mystery in the book. I thought that this added a lot to the overall story. However, I was disappointed with the guilty party. It made some sense, yet I really wish that the author had chosen someone different to be the bad guy.

I really liked everything to do with the movie. I wish that we had gotten to see even more behind the scenes stuff. I also really enjoyed her two co-stars. They added so much to the story. And I loved her tutor.

Is this book sort of predictable? Yes. But if you are looking for a cute, light read then this book is perfect.

Thanks to edelweiss and HarperTeen for allowing me to read this book.
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