My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

ARC Review: How To Keep A Boy From Kissing You by Tara Englington

Please Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This does not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From GoodReads):
That’s Aurora Skye’s big secret. And the way she wants it to stay. She’s not going to give away her first kiss to just anyone. Busy dodging suitors and matchmaking for her best friends, Aurora (not so) patiently awaits her prince.

But everything changes when Aurora is coerced into a lead role in the school production of Much Ado about Nothing. Which means she’ll have to lock lips with her co-star Hayden Paris—the smart and funny boy next door who also happens to be the bane of her existence, always around to see her at her worst.

Now Aurora is more determined than ever to have her first kiss with the one who’s truly worthy of it. But first she’ll have to figure out just who that person is.

A girl has big dreams about how she will have her first kiss.  Throw in a high school theater production of Much Ado About Nothing, and you've got my attention.  I was excited to read this book.  But my enthusiasm waned as I saw examples of teen stereotypes that made me really uncomfortable; I nearly didn't finish it.

What I didn't Like:
 Gender Stereotypes:
 I was dismayed reading this book that the author chose to use such blatant stereotypes for the male and female characters.  It seemed like all the girls ever talked about were clothes and boys.  When Lindsay, one of Aurora's friends, breaks up with her long time boyfriend Tyler, she literally sobs that she can't cope on her own!  What?
The male characters are also insultingly simplistic and shallow.  The author implies that the emotional range of boys only runs from being hungry to ogling car girls and cars.

Aurora is obsessed with finding the perfect guy before she has her first kiss.  But she misses the point of teenage dating.  No one is perfect at sixteen.  Teens mess up.  They are awkward.  They often have conflicting emotions about what their bodies want versus what adults tell them is appropriate.  Each person is still learning what it means to behave according to their values.  But Aurora behaves as if she is searching for a husband, not a first kiss.

Missing Parent Syndrome:
This is always a pet peeve of mine, but the YA trope of the missing parent is alive and well in this book.   In this manifestation, it's the mom who has bailed on Aurora and her father.  She has a new life, and Aurora is not part of it.  The only time this teen sees her mom is once in a while when they meet for coffee, and her mom pressures her to become a model.  Poor Aurora!
Aurora's father always seems to be off on a business trip.  When he is home, he acts like the absent-minded professor, stumbling through his life and (conveniently) is unable to be a parent to Aurora.  He is also dating one of Aurora's teachers.  He can't manage his household, but he makes time to date?  And he can't seem to fathom how awkward this is for his daughter?


This is so lame!  As a parent, I just don't believe that other parents are that self-absorbed and irresponsible.   Of course, the relationship between parents and teens is often complicated and difficult.  But this book makes it seem as though the only issue is parental inattentiveness.  Oh, if only life were that simple. 

What I Liked:
I did enjoy the theater aspect of the book as the students participate in a production of Much Ado About Nothing.  I thought the play rehearsals and backstage courtships were fun, and rang true to my high school theater experiences.

There is also one chapter in the book that begins to look at Aurora's relationship with her mom.  It was beautifully written and quite moving.  But that one chapter seemed out of step with the triteness of the rest of the book.  I sighed when I read it because it showed all the missed opportunities the book had to explore the ways parents and children relate to one another.  This is an enormous aspect of a teen's life that sets the tone for years to come.  I would really welcome a book with themes like that, not this superficial fluff.


Release Date:  October 25th, 2016

Genre:  YA romance

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  ARC E-Book

Recommendation:  With it's offensive stereotypes of teens, and trite message that girls need boys to be worthy, this book is not worth your time.  

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2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
MsArdychan has read 10 books toward her goal of 120 books.


80% 80% 100 Book Reviews 2016 NetGalley Challenge
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