Seventeen-year-old Zae Monroe is over relationships. Between getting cheated on by the only guy she’s ever loved and watching her parents' marriage crumble, she decides to turn the tables and go after what she wants, and what she wants are kisses. Athletes, musicians, poets, bad boys—their lips are all on her agenda, and it's time to collect. Zae proposes a contest with her friends to see who can kiss the most boys during spring break. But what starts as a harmless competition leads to a downward spiral of drama. Zae is forced to face the reasons behind her boy angst and starts to wonder if she was wrong about the male race...or at least some of them. Bestselling author Wendy Higgins delivers a searing YA romance filled with endless flirting, heartthrob boys, and of course, lots of kisses!
Seventeen-year-old Zae Monroe's not thinking too highly of romance. Her parents are having marital problems and then she catches her boyfriend cheating. She's had it with serious relationships. So she comes up with a contest to see who can collect the most kisses. There are no strings attached. Just a good kiss. What at first seems as a way to get back at those who wronged her, becomes a series of dramas.
What worked: This is a fun, light romance. I really liked the premise of girls just having fun and not being tied down in a relationship. Zae's way to get over the hurt of guys who wronged her involves having a 'kiss list'. Then she shares this with her friends to see who can get the most kisses without getting serious. Only things kind of backfire. Zae's journey starts with opening up to some guys she might have avoided. She finds that maybe not all guys are the 'bad' one.
One of the big strengths of this novel has to be the snappy dialogue and realistic high school backdrop. Not all agree with Zae's idea of girls just having fun. There is one scene where a guy misinterprets her attention and how someone else stops what might have turned ugly. Higgins has strong characters that aren't two dimensional.
Another strength has to be the chemistry that does build between Zae and Joel. Joel comes off at first as the 'bad' boy of the school, but readers learn that it's more complicated than that. I really liked the exchanges between Zae and Joel. There is a slow burn between them that ends with a satisfying conclusion.
Sweet romance and how what started off as a quest for boy revenge turns into a heroine taking charge of her own life.
Finally! A freaking book that looks down on drugs. I was so nervous when right off the bat, we get to talking about weed and drinking. I love Wendy Higgins but I do have my three strikes rule and I was scared that was where this was going. But no! It's all looked down on by our MC and I loved that so much. I can't even say how great this was. I'm so tired of drinking, drugs, smoking and the like being seen as something that's okay and in some cases being praised in YA books. I don't know when that happened but I hate it. Now, drinking in this novel isn't really looked down upon... even the MC's mum didn't really care that she got drunk. She grounded her for two weeks and that was it... they didn't really talk about it. So it's not perfect but it's so many steps above other things I've read and it makes me so damn happy. Thank you Wendy!!!
Now, onto the actual story. This was a cute novel that actually left me feeling so freaking happy and light at the end. It was utterly perfect. We follow Zae right after she catches her boyfriend cheating on her. I love how she handles it, she's a very strong young lady. Once she finds out that her father cheated on her mum, she loses all hope in guys and decides to treat them the way that she thinks all guys look at girls. I love the lesson learned in this novel, the friendships that Zae has with her awesome friend group and even the good boys in this novel that prove to Zae that not every single guy is a pig and there are good ones out there. It shows Zae coming to terms with her parents and accepting change because things change. Life changes.
I do love how Wendy captured a teenager perspective so well. Zae felt like such a teenager in her actions and how she handled the way her parents were. Also when her mum was crying but she just left her alone instead of going in there to make sure she was okay, total teenager move! So I that was something I know lots of people will enjoy and connect to.
Overall, a cute little coming of age story with a nice romance that I read as quickly as I could. Such a fun time.