Author: Tara Eglington
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Source: HarperCollins (thank you!)
Goodreads rating: 4.31 out of 5.00 (150+ ratings)
Goodreads | The Reading Room
When the beginning of the school year heralds the arrival of two Potential Princes™ who seem perfect for her best friends Cassie (lighthouse beacon for emotionally fragile boys suffering from traumatic breakups) and Jelena (eye-catching, elegant and intent on implementing systems of serfdom at their school) it seems as if Aurora’s fast on her way to becoming the next Dr Phil.
As Aurora discovers, however, Self-Help is far from simple.
Review by Chantelle
How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You was a fun, fluffy, flirty read that met all my expectations. After all the dystopians that have infested my 2013 reading list, this intelligent and completely girly contemporary was exactly what I needed and thankfully, it didn't disappoint.
Aurora Skye is a smart, sixteen year old romantic who has never been kissed because she's saving that special 'first' for when she finds a Prince. What's a prince you say? It's a guy with principles and integrity who treats a girl right- and until Aurora finds him (and she's determined to find him), she's not going to compromise or settle for less in a guy. Of course, in high school this can be harder than expected with obstacles like spin the bottle or at the end of a first date when he goes in for a goodnight smooch... but never fear, Aurora Skye and her Find a Prince Program are here to help. Besides this, Aurora's busy finding potential princes for her two best friends, as well as dealing with her dad who's going through a crazy phase, the return of her long-absent mum and the infuriating boy next door Hayden Paris. Then Aurora scores the lead in the school play, and if that's not worrying enough, in the play there's a KISS... and guess who got the male lead- Hayden Paris, who is definitely not Prince material... or is he?
This may sound weird, but the first thing that struck me about this novel was that I liked the look of it. The cover is cute and the back cover is even cuter (pictured below)- both in a contemporary fashion that's sure to attract teenage girls but inside, the font and spacing looks like Crown of Midnight. What I mean by that, is that the font isn't large and separated by even larger line spacing which many YA novels unfortunately have (cough, the Disreputable History of Frankie-Landau Banks- which I love but the formatting kills me). As a reader, this formatting tells me that this book is also suitable for an older audience despite the fluffy premise, and that they're not 'dumbing things down' for the reader per se, which makes me happy.
Once I started, this book kept up it's great first impression. Tara Eglington won me over straight away in the first chapter aptly named, "Operation Stop Kiss" with hilarious (and well-written) phrases describing a less than ideal first kiss, e.g. an "ill judged lunge for the lips". I love the sound of that when I say it aloud!
I also loved that this novel is set in Australia since Tara Eglington is an Australian author. However, I do wish that this fact was made more obvious since references where quite subtle (e.g. summer holidays were in January, they went shopping at David Jones), well until the end when Perth is mentioned. I wanted more Aussie slang and I wish that the school sport was footy (Aussie rules AFL) or cricket instead of basketball, since that's more realistic. But, all in all, yay for Aussie writers!
The concept of this Find a Prince Program is quite clever, with the plot reminiscent of Emma by Jane Austen i.e. a determined matchmaker who is completely blind to her own love life. As the person running it, Aurora is an intelligent character with a distinctive voice who believes in ideals and that girls should be learned, confident and independent. There are references to classics such as Kafka and Shakespeare, the origins of Valentine's day, different concepts of chivalry and many more interesting facts that Eglington brings to a new generation. This made for a refreshing and enjoyable narrative full of advice and encouragements that explore self-worth, family life, forgiveness and overcoming grudges. There are so many personalities represented in this novel, with the result being highly entertaining.
How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You is an ode to girls everywhere who are romantically oblivious, and who over analyse everything. So basically everyone at some stage.
In particular, I enjoyed the romance between Aurora and Hayden Paris, or more accurately, the bubbling chemistry that infuriated Aurora but was oh so entertaining. I was like Pavlov's dogs, classically conditioned such that whenever I read Hayden's name, a smile would automatically stretch across my face. The feels were particularly severe in the 'pre-audition scene'. All I'm going to say is I got a major case of the warm fuzzies, as well uncontrollable smiling and swooning. The tension between the two held my attention until the very last page, well it sort of left me hanging...
(NB: the sequel is called How to Convince a Boy to Kiss You *hint hint*)
I easily rated this as a 5 star read, however there were some frustrating aspects. In particular, I felt that Aurora's level of obliviousness to Hayden's attentions went a little too far, and the lack of communication that fuelled this annoyed me. The timeline of events also felt a bit rushed as it was all supposed to culminate into a climax on Valentines day, which is quite early on in the year for us Australians.
But, that being said, I'd still highly recommend How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You, and I'll definitely be reading the sequel for more Hayden and Aurora!
'How can it be beautiful if I'm kissing the wrong person?' I said. 'Letting go of the idea of saving my first kiss for my Potential Prince is like letting go of a dream.'
Super cute & intelligent high school contemporary
Aussie authors <3Ratings