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.Published: June 10th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Source: Publisher in Exchange for an honest review.
Three and a half stars: A ghostly mystery with plenty of suspense and twists.
Cassidy opens her eyes in horror. She is covered in snow, cold and freezing. Someone is standing above her, apologizing. What is happening? Now she is hovering over her broken body, left abandoned under the bridge from where she fell. The bridge where she received her first and last kiss. No matter how hard she tries, Cassidy cannot go back into her body. She is a ghost. No one can see or hear her. The police believe that she jumped, but Cassidy knows that she was pushed. She is determined to find out who killed her. Who killed Cassidy?
What I Liked:
- What is it about ghosts that always suck me in? I am constantly picking up a ghostly book, hoping for an entertaining read. I was pleased that this one didn't delve into a ridiculous romance between a human and ghost. Instead it is about a ghostly girl trying to solve her own murder mystery while trying to make amends with her boyfriend. This one stays as realistic as a ghost story can be, so if you are fan of ghost mysteries this is a good bet.
- I was pleased at how well the mystery was executed. Once Cassidy's ghost rises, she is suffering from amnesia. She can't recall the events of her final night, nor can Cassidy remember who killed her. As the story progresses, Cassidy endures numerous flashbacks and memories of her life, until she finally collects all the pieces and uncovers the truth about what happened to her that night. I enjoyed the suspense and the mystery and I especially liked that there were numerous suspects, lots of shocking reveals all leading up to a stunning finale. I was constantly guessing until the end as to who the killer was. The mystery and suspense were well done.
- I struggled a bit with Cassidy early on. She doesn't come across as the most likable character. Especially after the reader learns that she cheated on her long time boyfriend. However, once I dug deeper and got to know Cassidy, I realized she is a teenage girl enduring the pain of growing up. She has a lot on her plate from the impending split between her parents, to the status of her relationship. For all of you thinking that you won't read this because it has cheating, I can assure you that it isn't a case of black and white cheating. It is more along the lines of reaching out to an old friend in a time of crisis, someone who gets what Cassidy is going through. That doesn't make it right, but it shows how easy it is to slip and make one small mistake that cost Cassidy everything. By the end, I had grown quite attached to Cassidy, and I liked her new found maturity.
- The writing is lovely. I enjoyed the detail and the description and most of all the magical way in which Ms. Neal captured the beauty of a first kiss. I am a reader who is all about gorgeous writing, and I was most pleased with the writing in this one.
- I liked that this was a stand alone. It is nice to pick up a book every once in awhile and get a complete story. This one wraps up at the end nicely, though it does leave a few niggling issues, but then again, how well can a book wrap when someone unexpectedly dies?
And The Not So Much:
- My biggest struggle with this book was the delivery. The majority of the story unfolds in a series of flashbacks. Flashbacks are tricky, and it was hard to keep track of everything because there was no consistency with the flashbacks. Sometimes Cassidy ended up a couple of weeks back in time, while others she was right back to the night she died, and sometimes she even went back a few years. I always find the delivery of flashbacks to be a bit jarring, and in all honesty there aren't my favorite way to get information. It works in this story, but it was still a pain to keep it all straight.
- There is a shocking revelation regarding one of Cassidy's closest friends. Even though it spiced up the story, I struggled with the reality of the situation. I found it hard to believe that after three years, this girl would continue to play the role of a best friend when all she wanted to do was undermine Cassidy, and the whole thing about her crying a dozen times a day over a boy she couldn't have? Really?
- There is a whole story line developed following Cassidy's family, before and after her death. Before Cassidy dies, her parents were on the verge of a divorce, and then after she died, it seemed to bring her family back together. I was eager to see what happened not only with her parents but with her sister, Joules, and her brother, Shaw. I was expecting more on this storyline, but it just fizzles and fades out without further thought.
- While I liked that the story wraps up at the end, I was a bit disappointed that it was left open ended. I would have loved an Epilogue to see what happened to everyone down the road, namely Cassidy's family, Ethan and her two friends, Madison and Aimee.
My Last Kiss is an interesting and suspenseful ghostly murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the final pages. This is a book that follows a ghost girl as she tries to make amends for the mistakes that led to her death all while trying to uncover who killed her. If you enjoy a ghost story and mystery, this is a fun pick.
"That is why consciousness is supposed to disappear when you die, I think. The wreckage is too much to bear."
"I think about when and where her first kiss will be and who it might be with. She still has every one of her kisses left. So many possibilities. So much more time."
"After remembering what happened between Caleb and me, I get how life can stumble so far off track that you don't know how to live it anymore."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.