Cynical Hopeless Romantic Reviews: The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles

“Man, I really have got to stop reading so many of those cheesy romance books.”

It’s that time of the year again where I’m in need of some mindless romance to not think for a second and just enjoy myself. I’m here to receive my recommended dose of serotonin through someone else’s romance life. Is that bad?

So… She’s not like other girls, hm.

Funny how I thought the movie was over the top in its acting… turns out it’s pretty accurate to the book. If it’s not those over-the-top dramatic gestures and speeches that nobody in real life says, it’s the utter convenience of Elle running into Noah wherever she goes. Or the parents leaving just when Elle enters to hang out with Noah. Ah, turns out this college student kind of missed the nonsense of Wattpad stories.

For real though, the first half of this book gave me all the giddiness of staying up late into the night to finish reading Wattpad stories. I have to stop and give a shoutout to my favorites! Ahem:

  • The Cell Phone Swap – I’ve reread this story at least seven times by now just for chapter 16. I’m obsessed.
  • The Bad Boy’s Girl – This one is more for the nostalgia, less for the actual story. Every time I revisit this story I’m taken right back to the first time I read it. It’s so rare for me to remember my own state of mind during the books I read so this one stands out. Also, the game created on Episode for this storyline still makes me laugh out loud. I especially love the Youtube gaming series by jennxpenn playing the episodes. Give it a watch for a good laugh.
  • My Wattpad Love – I revisited this one recently and was shocked by the main love interest being kind of everything I hate now. But I still adore Shane more than Evan. I think the main attraction for this storyline was this edit made for the book that made me discover Jeremy Kapone as Maël in the movie LOL (2008).

I love how without even trying I reverse to 13-year-old me when talking about these stories. Like, imagine how big of an impression they left on my younger self, so much so that I can still recall specific details of the storyline and my original reaction. That nostalgia hits different…

Circling back to the actual book I’m reviewing: Love the romance, hate the couple.

The Kissing Booth reminds me of my reading experience with Summer Skin, where you’re hyper focused on the romance scenes even though you hate the couple.

Speaking of romance: CHAPTER TEN!! READ CHAPTER TEN!! I couldn’t have cared less for the storyline that didn’t center on the romance so I skipped straight to the kissing booth, and damn, what a good choice. The first ten chapters of this book add nothing to the storyline because all of Elle’s friends and school life get dropped to sneak around with Noah. So starting from chapter ten is the go-to move with this book.

I am here solely for the romance/rush of hormones. You know that feeling you get watching a scary movie, the scary music starts building up and you just know something is about to jump out – that moment of feeling your heart in your chest – that same thrill is what romance books give me. That feeling of a rapid heart rate when the main characters are staring at each other, waiting for someone to make the first move. Like, that drop in your stomach when something big finally happens, or really anything happens, is addicting. This is why I love romance books. The kind that focuses on drawing out the kisses and not just jumping to humping. This was the only thing addicting about Twilight: how the author can spend nearly five whole pages describing Bella and Edward leaning in for a kiss. They take it ultra slow and draw it out to the most so that we could practically feel everything Bella felt.

But with a love interest as controlling as Noah, I can only ignore it if the main character challenges him and doesn’t give in to his fake charm. I like it when the main character isn’t afraid to tell him what’s what – to keep him in his place and not let him step all over her. My favorite line in Summer Skin says it all:

This… was not that. In a healthy relationship, you aren’t afraid to voice your opinions. If you have a healthy relationship, you can explain your point of view and say, listen, this is concerning me for all these reasons. In Elle’s case, she would overthink how to word something to Noah so he wouldn’t overreact and yell.

“He looked me up and down, very slowly. Instead of blushing, I sighed internally. Here we go. I wondered how angry he’d be.”

Like, red flag, anyone?? And it drove me wild the number of times the author went out of her way to say Elle wasn’t afraid of Noah when he was acting out, but really that she was afraid of her feelings of him or some bullshit. Or the atrocity of Elle having to intervene and calm Noah down like she’s his horse whisperer. This is an almost 18-year-old boy, not some 8-year-old. He needs anger management, not a girlfriend caretaker. The bar is so low for these Wattpad girls.

I can’t stop laughing at the ending where Elle’s basically saying yeah, there’s no chance of him staying loyal to me at Harvard so maybe we’ll last, maybe we won’t… The expectations were so low of Noah.

This is what I mean with: Love the romance, hate the couple.

But if you’re looking to disconnect from reality for a bit and just dive head-first into a silly romance story, this is your sign:

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