Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The First Last Kiss by Ali Harris


It seems Molly Carter and Ryan Cooper are meant to be. First meeting as teenagers, the pair get off to a rocky start. Ryan is cool and confident, a star footballer in the making while Molly is a bit of an outcast, dressing in black and hiding behind her camera. She doesn’t believe she is good enough for popular Ryan and the pair go their separate ways. But fate brings them back together and Ryan eventually convinces Molly that she is the girl for him. Molly has never been happier that when she’s with Ryan but their life together is not destined to be so easy. Work, family and social commitments pull the couple in different directions and their disagreements take their toll. Molly regrets the break up as soon as it happens. She still loves Ryan but does he still love her and can they make it work second time around?

The First Last Kiss is told in snippets, rewinding and fast forwarding through Molly and Ryan’s stormy relationship as well as showing Molly in the present day as she packs up her home in preparation of a big move. We don’t know where Molly and Ryan stand or how their relationship has developed over the years but there are teasing clues to keep you turning the pages to find out what happens with them. I wasn’t sure how the book would work to begin with, flipping backwards and forwards through the years and events. I thought it might prove to be confusing and difficult to keep up with but it did work and there were no problems at all with the mixed up scenes. In fact, I quite liked the formula. It felt fresh and kept me guessing as to what would happen next or how Molly ended up in certain situations.

I loved the relationship between Molly and Ryan. They're quite different in personality and their outlook on life but they seemed like a lovely, genuine couple who meant the world to each other so it was a joy to be allowed into their lives and see them grow. Their relationship wasn’t perfect, which only made it seem more real.

As well as his relationship with Molly, I also loved how close Ryan was to his mother. Jackie is a big character and in real life would probably be quite hard to take but I thought she was fantastic in The First Last Kiss and was clearly very loving and loyal. Molly didn’t have the same closeness with her own parents but there are some touching moments between them once Molly has left her teenage angst behind.

For me, one of the most complex characters was Molly’s best friend, Casey. My feelings switched from feeling sorry for the fellow outcast to feeling frustrated and even angry with her for the duration of the book. She could be fiercely loyal yet scatty or needy and immature so you never really know what you’re going to get when Casey is around.

There are amusing and light moments in The First Last Kiss, particularly the banter between Molly and Ryan and Ryan’s grandmother, Nanny Door, is a lot of fun but you should be warned that a box of tissues may come in handy along the way too. The First Last Kiss is an emotional rollercoaster of a read and is gut wrenchingly touching and heart breaking at times. I read chunks of the book with a lump in my throat and an ache in my chest but I was compelled to see it through to the end and I’m glad I did because the book is beautiful and thought provoking. The story of Molly and Ryan will remain with me for a long time.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy to review.

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