Monday, January 24, 2011

Book Review: Never Been Kissed by Melody Carlson

Synopsis of Never Been Kissed by Melody Carlson (from the publisher's website):

"Summer is ending, and for once that doesn't seem like such a bad thing to Elise. She's hoping that starting fresh at a new high school will turn her first-kiss prospects around. New guys, new friends, and a new lease on life.

What she wasn't counting on was all the new pressure--to hang with the right crowd, wear the right clothes, and date the right guy. Just when it seems she's on top of the world, everything comes crashing down. Could one bad choice derail her future?"

I just finished reading a review on Never Been Kissed. I must say that I cannot agree with the author of the review when she says she thinks it is one of the best YA books she has ever read.  I have read many that are much better and more realistic. However, I can see some good in this book.

Never Been Kissed: A NovelI have to start by saying that I hardly ever read YA books. That's because I usually find them to be shallow and the characters selfish. If most teens are like those found in books like these, our society is in a lot of trouble!

Since I knew this was written by a Christian writer, I thought maybe it would be different. But when, halfway through the book I saw that it was going to be only about boys, being popular and what the main character was trying to do to get her first kiss (before she turned 16), I struggled to finish. And the girl's prayers were all about asking God to give her what she wanted, not at all indicative of an intimate relationship with her creator and savior.

I did say that I saw some good in this book. I can see how it might help some teens identify with the struggles of some of the characters and the cultural issues that the author identified as problems today. And the way the subject was handled seemed fair and well executed. I know that many young people have these things going on in their lives. However, the ones I know and spend most of my time with are much more mature and do not focus so much on the things of this world. Call me naive and out of touch, but I'd rather see novels for teens that encourage them to be more godly and not ones that emphasize worldly pursuits.

The ending of the book is satisfying. Elise does realize her mistakes and there is a sort of redemption for her and a few others. But all in all, I do not recommend this book, especially for teens.

I give Never Been Kissed 2 out of 5 stars.  

“Available January 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

(I received this book from Revell for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)
Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books, several of them Christmas novellas from Revell, including her much-loved and bestselling book, The Christmas Bus. She also writes many teen books, including Just Another Girl, Anything but Normal, the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the TrueColors series, and the Carter House Girls series. Melody was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her books, including the Notes from a Spinning Planet series and Finding Alice, which is in production as a Lifetime Television movie. She and her husband serve on the Young Life adult committee in central Oregon. Visit Melody's website at

1 comment:

Sherry said...

That's because I usually find them to be shallow and the characters selfish. If most teens are like those found in books like these, our society is in a lot of trouble!

Ummm, sis, our society IS in a lot of trouble. And although, you can fault YA for shallowness and selfish characters, I can't see that most of the popular books written for adults are much different in that respect. Take the one that you liked so much, Little Bee. If the characters in that one were not as self-centered as it is possible to be . . .

YA characters are selfish and somewhat shallow because people are often selfish and shallow. Some YA lit shows the journey out of that self-centered lifestyle and into something better, and some books show the tragic consequences of choices that are made in reference to only me, me, me. And some of them (like most Christian fiction that I read, either YA or not) show only shallow, selfish choices and sappy, happy endings.