{Review/Giveaway} MY LAST KISS by Bethany Neal

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My Last Kiss
by Bethany Neal
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: June 10th 2014

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.
O P E N I N G   H O O K:

    "How old were you when you had yours?”  
    I leaned my hands on the sun-warmed railing of the old covered bridge and hung my head low, so Ethan wouldn’t see the corner of my mouth twitch the way it always did when I lied.  
    “Sixth grade,” I answered.  
    “Really? I didn’t kiss anyone until eighth.”

(Page 1,  US ARC Edition)

When I first heard of Bethany Neal's debut novel MY LAST KISS, it reminded me of Lauren Oliver's debut novel BEFORE I FALL. After reading it, however, it reminds me more strongly of yet another debut novel, LIV, FOREVER by Amy Talkington. In BEFORE I FALL, the main character is trying to prevent her death Groundhog's Day-style and gets a do-over. With both MY LAST KISS and LIV, FOREVER, there are questions behind why the character died. It's a mystery, and the character is back as a ghost, working together with a human who can see her, hoping to solve the mystery. This isn't to say the books are the same, because they're not. LIV, FOREVER is centered around a reoccurring mystery, while in MY LAST KISS, everything revolves around one moment, one death, and what actually happened that night.

Cassidy is shocked to "wake up" and realize that she's staring at her dead, mangled body. What happened? Who is the screaming man staring down at her? Why does everyone think her death was the result of a drunken suicide? Cassidy wasn't that drunk...was she? She doesn't think she'd take her own life. She also can't remember what happened that night. When she realizes that her boyfriend Ethan can still see her and their love transcends death, she asks him to help her scout around for information and find out the truth. But does Cassidy really want to know about the three weeks leading up to her death? She was hiding many secrets, and by discovering the reason for her death, she'll expose them all...and hurt the ones she loves the most.

If you like mystery novels and ghost stories (albeit non-scary ghosts!), MY LAST KISS will be right up your alley. The mystery element appealed the most to me. The character development isn't evolved as what I normally prefer, but that's because the characters are revealed through moments via flashbacks. They don't truly exist for Cassidy anymore. They're just there. She knows them--knew them--and we're not entitled to the same connection. (Although I was most intrigued by the development of her friend Madison) Because of that, readers focus singularly on Cassidy and her plight. We want to know what happened. What led to Cassidy's death? Did she kill herself? Was it an accident? Was something more sinister at play? We grow to care for her, and it really sucks that she doesn't get a do-over like Sam from BEFORE I FALL does. I called what happened early on, but it's also easy to be confused and make up guesses as more and more information around that night is revealed. Definitely a book to pick up if you're looking for a good mystery to challenge your brain!


Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG to PG13 ( kissing, mention of sex, but nothing explicit )
Language: --
Violence: PG ( Nothing too graphic; one minor scene; also a reference to the way Cassidy's body was found  )
Other: PG13  ( Mention of drugs and using painkillers to get high; teenage drinking; death; mention of suicide )
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I like how the cover is fractured and split apart. It's been put back together imperfectly, and that's exactly how I envision Cassidy's memory to be when trying to put together the events that occurred the night she died. It works well for the story!
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Bethany Neal writes young-adult novels with a little dark side and a lot of kissing! She is obsessed with (but not limited to): nail polish, ginormous rings, pigs, pickles, and dessert. 

You can find her locked in her Writertorium for insane amounts of time. But, hey, insanity is fun! My Last Kiss is her first novel.

Giveaway is open to US/CAN Only | Must be 13 or older to enter 

Win (1) signed hardback of My Last Kiss + a Swag Pack ( MLK Button, MLK Notebook, & Cassidy's watermelon lip gloss)

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Tour co-hosted by Bethany Neal and The Fantastic Flying Book Club


  1. Great review. I like the sounds of this one. :)

  2. This sounds pretty good. Must read.

  3. I love the sound of this one - it sounds very similar to Don't Look Back too :)


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