Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Review: "Don't Kiss the Messenger" by Katie Ray

For most of her teenage life, CeCe Edmonds has been dealing with the stares and the not-so-polite whispers that follow her around Edgelake High. So she has a large scar on her face—Harry Potter had one on his forehead and people still liked him. CeCe never cared about her looks—until Emmett Brady, transfer student and football darling, becomes her literature critique partner. The only problem? Emmett isblindsided by Bryn DeNeuville, CeCe’s gorgeous and suddenly shy volleyball teammate. Bryn asks CeCe to help her compose messages that’ll charm Emmett.CeCe isn’t sure there’s anything in his head worth charming but agrees anyway—she’s a sucker for a good romance. Unfortunately, the more messages she sends and the more they run into each other, the more she realizes there’s plenty in his head, from food to literature. Too bad Emmett seems to be falling for the wrong girl… Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book involves one fiercely scarred girl who wants the new guy in town, the new guy who thinks he wants the new girl, and the new girl who really isn’t sure what she wants, and the misunderstanding that brings them all together. This modern Cyrano de Bergerac retelling will make you laugh, swoon, and fall in love.
Many thanks to Entangled Teen Crush for the free review copy in exchange for my honest opinion!

Wow! This little book completely blew me away! Although I've read a few books from this particular imprint before, they in no way gave me any indication that I would fall in love with "Don't Kiss the Messenger". I expected a cute, contemporary YA romance with a few fun times and a couple of swoons, maybe some sweet characters, but a predictable plot and an overall lack of depth. Still, sometimes that is exactly the type of read I'm looking for, and I'm completely okay with that. In this case, however, I was surprised and thrilled to get way more than I bargained for.

First off, I have to talk about CeCe. She is amazing! She's smart, sarcastic, funny, loyal, strong and athletic, as well as competitive, and she's confident in her abilities. She's also extremely sensitive when it comes to her looks, specifically her facial scar, although she tries to cover her scar either literally with her hair or figuratively with her bold and engaging personality. She is under no illusions that any boy will ever want to be with her long term -  she's messed around occasionally with boys, but nothing has ever lasted more than a single encounter, and she's never been out on a date. My gosh, I totally empathized with her. There were a couple of times in this book where I felt sucker punched right in the feels, and I damn near bawled my eyes out! Embarrassing, yes, but I love it when a book makes me feel all sorts of emotions.

DKtM is not all tears and sobs, though - there are plenty of laughs and swoons, frustration and angst. I loved it all, including Emmett - he was a real sweetheart - and some of CeCe's volleyball teammates. Bryn, not so much - let's just say she's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and I found her to be oh so annoying. She has a good heart, though, so it's hard to dislike her entirely.

So even though the Cyrano de Bergerac tale is familiar, and some might say this plot is predictable, to me it felt fresh and unique because of the wonderful characters and excellent writing. I'd surely recommend this book to any contemporary YA fans - it's lovely! 

My rating: 4.5 stars

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