My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Leila has lived a sheltered life, centred around an unhealthy co-dependent relationship with her mother. After her mother dies, she is left alone, completely unequipped to be in charge of her life. She soon finds comfort in spending as much time online as possible, first in role playing games, and then in forums chatting to like minded people. It is through a forum she is hand-picked and groomed to be the perfect person to take on the virtual identity of Tess, who wants nothing more than to disappear without causing alarm to her family and friends. Naive Leila is only too happy to help, and soon finds herself in way over her head.
I found the premise of this book really interesting so I was very much looking forward to reading it. However, as interesting as the plot seemed, I was left largely dissatisfied on finishing the story. I spent a lot of the story waiting for it to really kick start, and it never really did.
I found Leila as a character very confusing. It’s never explained in the book why she is the way she is- whether he has some kind of autism, a learning disability or whether she is simply a product of her mother’s over protection. Without this information I found it tricky to know how I should be feeling about her, and her actions.
On the other hand, Tess was a character who was described in so much detail one would assume she would appear to the reader larger than life. Unfortunately, I just found her unrealistic, and unbelievable. I know quite a bit about mental health, and depression, and the portrayal of Tess just didn’t support the plot of the story for me.
I had no problem finishing the story, it moved along at a good pace and I was interested to know what happened, however I think if I’d have read this book in separate sittings rather than all in one go I might have struggled to maintain my interest. I was also waiting for there to be a twist at the end, but the story played itself out as the reader would expect. There were no great surprises, for me at least, and the ambiguity of parts of the story which never got finally addressed along with the superfluous nature of some of the characters we are introduced to left me a tad disappointed.
Kiss Me First is a fine story, but if you’re looking for a thrilling psychological suspense novel this will probably not be your best choice.
This review was first published on Nudge-books.com and Goodreads on 4th March 2014.