Ann's Reviews > A Stiff Kiss

A Stiff Kiss by Avery Olive
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's review
Mar 27, 2012

really liked it

Upon reading the book description for A Stiff Kiss, I was intrigued by such a unique and definitely eerie premise. I can’t really say that I’ve even read anything remotely close to A Stiff Kiss. It was difficult for me to predict how this would play out which made for a really addictive read because I had to find out what happened next!

The cover is amazing in giving us a visual taste of what Xylia looks like, and some of the night time death related activities that she loves to partake in. I love how the character on the cover is positioned, she looks so relaxed and at peace in the cemetery next to the fresh grave.

The opening paragraph was pretty much the hook, line and sinker for me. We find out that Xylia found her mother dead on Christmas Day of all days and at a young age. Olive leaves it there, and this becomes the basis of the story as we follow Xylia we’re slowly exposed to what happened.

Immediately, I was throwing out ideas about how she might have died, I mean any kind of death witnessed at a young age can be traumatic. I was really banking on something along the lines of heart attack, but boy when Olive finally reveals what happened it was both tragic and shocking. This major event sets the stage for her morbid fascination with the dead which is the source of a lot of teenage angst between her and her father.

The dynamic between her and her father easily showed a relationship that was both full of love and difficulties. She and her father have some really great banter and he puts a lot of effort into his parenting. I definitely commend him for his valiant effort, but Xylia is a classic dark emo teenager, she’s rebellious, dresses in nothing but black and feels that “no one understands her”. I think most teenagers refuse to listen to their parent’s words of wisdom at this point in their lives anyways. Xylia’s character kept me constantly interested, I wanted to find out more about her fascination with death and the reasoning behind it, but I was a bit turned off with her almost stalker like physical attraction to soccer player extraordinaire Landon.

The story is told from alternating points of view between Landon and Xylia, which is especially enjoyable at the death scene because it was a great way to portray how they were straddling the lines of life and death and the different perspectives associated with each side. For example when Xylia watched the life seep out of Landon and Landon’s glimpse into the afterlife.

Landon’s character is the usual career jock that bases his whole life on sports and the popularity and hot perky girlfriend that comes with it, and we all know how well this always turns out. So when he has his death experience and his life is turned upside down, he becomes fascinated with the person who brought him back to life. It’s understandable, I think I’d want some kind of closure after coming back from the dead!

They end up going on a cross country trip together that they both really needed in order to reevaluate and recenter their lives. These two really came from two different social backgrounds and Landon I don’t think would even normally consider someone like Xylia in normal circumstances as a potential love interest. Because of this I wasn’t really sure about how successful their relationship would be. But it really surprised me how easily these two seemed to fit together and help each other figure things out, they really just felt “right”.

The paranormal element focused primarily on what seemed like “reaper” entities, it was kept very vague and mostly served as an ominous force that pushes and pulls at Landon and Xylia. It was really effective as the stressor, but I felt like I was left a bit wanting for a more detailed explanation.

Olive's writing is fluid and easy to follow, which is another reason I loved reading this book. The way she wrote out the kiss scene still gives me the creeps no matter how much she reassures the reader later that it was indeed THAT weird. The ending just totally blew my mind though, I felt like I entered the twilight zone and I found myself flipping back and forth a few pages just to make sure my eBook copy wasn't glitched or something. I loved that I had no idea how it was going to end, there was so much tension mounting and I found myself rooting for some kind of happiness for these two characters — which you’ll have to read and find out for yourself.
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Reading Progress

March 27, 2012 – Shelved
March 30, 2012 – Started Reading
March 30, 2012 –
19.0% "And things are getting really interesting ...."
March 31, 2012 –
53.0% "Well that was a creepy Backstory reveal... I hope we get to find out more !"
April 5, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Avery Olive Thank you so much, Ann, for taking the time to read, review and rate A Stiff Kiss! I'm so happy you enjoyed it :)

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