Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
📖 Q: have you ever lived in a small town? I’m currently living in a town that has around 1,000 residents. If you have, did you like it?
Casey McQuiston’s I Kissed Shara Wheeler is wild—I had no idea what was going to happen—& it was so fun & unexpected (but maybe should have expected since McQuiston is always serving up something new!).
The book basically opens with Chloe Green—who’s long been competing with Shara for valedictorian—realizing that before “Perfect” (said sarcastically) Shara disappeared, she kissed her & Shara’s neighbor Rory—not to mention Shara has a boyfriend, Smith.
Chloe has enough questions about all of this to fill an investigative reporter’s notebook.
Shara only encourages the mystery, leaving a trail of clues on pink stationary that Chloe, Rory, & Smith work together to find.
I feel like I’m still putting together this book, which explores what makes some teen girls come across as perfect & approachable versus scary & mean. That feels really important to me, not to mention how the book addresses Christian hypocrisy, being non-binary (& recognizing & celebrating that), & living—and being happy in a small towns—especially when you’re not what some of those “Christians” want.
(Like maybe if you’re a Pomeranian—like Chloe’s parents suggest—& the people around you only want poodles.)
The book’s incisive & also soo funny, with quips about vampire hunters & Phantom of the Opera & much more, & heartwarming moments as Chloe finds friends in people she wasn’t expecting. Seeing Chloe—a very smart person—realize her own feelings for Shara (& vice versa) is amusing & relatable.
On the whole the book is both cutting & warm, hard & sweet.
My only quibble with this one is just that at the end of the day, I still didn’t feel like I entirely knew Shara. She still feels somewhat inscrutable to me.
But this is another mega-talented offering from Casey McQuiston—honestly I think the author can write anything.
4.5 ⭐️. Release date: 05/03.
Give me that HEA, please.
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