Home About Contact Policies Reviews Challenges Giveaways Image Map

17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen Book Review

17 First Kisses
No matter how many boys Claire kisses, she can’t seem to find a decent boyfriend. Someone who wouldn’t rather date her gorgeous best friend, Megan. Someon
e who won’t freak out when he learns about the tragedy her family still hasn’t recovered from. Someone whose kisses can carry her away from her backwoods town for one fleeting moment.
Until Claire meets Luke.
But Megan is falling for Luke, too, and if there’s one thing Claire knows for sure, it’s that Megan’s pretty much irresistible.
With true love and best friendship on the line, Claire suddenly has everything to lose. And what she learns—about her crush, her friends, and most of all herself—makes the choices even harder.
In her moving debut, Rachael Allen brilliantly captures the complexities of friendship, the struggles of self-discovery, and the difficulties of trying to find love in high school. Fans of Sarah Ockler, Susane Colasanti, and Stephanie Perkins will fall head over heels for this addictive, heartfelt, and often hilarious modern love story.

Pages: 352
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
When I first heard of 17 First Kisses, I knew I had to read it, especially due to the fact that this book was compared to some of my all time favorite contemporaries. I definitely wasn’t disappointed, as 17 First Kisses is an extremely heartwarming story that accurately depicts high school.

I went into this book expecting the focus of the story to mainly be on the romance, especially considering the title. However, 17 First Kisses’ main focus was on Claire’s friendships and family relationships. I really liked reading about those and I think the author did a great job about incorporating just the right amount of romance throughout. 

This book was so realistic and true to high school, something I that I think is very important for a contemporary. The friendships, especially Claire’s friendship with Megan, weren’t perfect and showed just how much some friendships aren’t necessarily perfect. I was extremely conflicted about theirs. On one hand, Megan does some terrible things to Claire, but she’s also a great friend when Claire really needs it. Claire’s family is also pretty dysfunctional, but I loved seeing them heal over the course of the book. 

As a character, I thought Claire was very relatable and although she made mistakes, I thought that added to the realism of the novel and was just part of her growing up. Between each actual chapter, it catalogs every first kiss she has. Those chapters were entertaining to read about, especially since it shows how Claire seems to change over the years (her first kiss being at age 7).

A large part of the story deals with Claire and Megan fighting over Luke. From the beginning, I suspected that he wouldn’t be as great as both girls made him out to be, and especially not worth destroying their friendship over. I did love one of Claire’s best friend’s, Sam, though. He was an amazing best friend and I wish that he was in more scenes. He truly looked out for Claire.

I’ve heard a few people complain about the ending, but I thought it actually worked. It is pretty open-ended, and although an epilogue would have been cool, I like how it left it up for you to decide how everything turned out. 17 First Kisses was a great debut, and I loved how it tackled high school and the relationships formed throughout it. I’d give 17 First Kisses 3.5 out of 5 flowers.


  1. I have seen this one but I also assumed that the focus would be on romance so I gave up. But now I'm curious again. I love books that focus on family and friendship. Great review :)

  2. Tough choice, indeed. While I've been wary of books set in high school, your review makes me a bit more curious. :)

  3. I definitely think I would have liked this one better if it hadn't had all the references to some of my favorite authors. I really think my expectations were set a little too high when I started it. It still was a fun read though.

  4. I liked how Allen does the friendship in this book. It was my favorite part about it. I wasn't in love with it, but I think that friendship is so real.

  5. I usually hate open endings if I'm too attached to the characters, so I don't think I'll be reading this, but I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  6. I've read mixed reviewed on this, and although I'm not a fan of the girls fighting over a male character, I might still check it out!

    Great review!


Hi! Thank you so much for commenting, I read each and every comment and love reading them :) Also, I'll comment back as soon as I can. Happy Reading!