Wednesday, February 21, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole


Title: A Thousand Boy Kisses
Author: Tillie Cole
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 353
Pub Date: March 13, 2016
Publisher: Self-published
Book Source: Personal collection
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars


Synopsis: One kiss lasts a moment. But a thousand kisses can last a lifetime.

One boy. One girl.
A bond that is forged in an instant and cherished for a decade.
A bond that neither time nor distance can break.
A bond that will last forever. Or so they believe.

When seventeen-year-old Rune Kristiansen returns from his native Norway to the sleepy town of Blossom Grove, Georgia, where he befriended Poppy Litchfield as a child, he has just one thing on his mind. Why did the girl who was one half of his soul, who promised to wait faithfully for his return, cut him off without a word of explanation?

Rune’s heart was broken two years ago when Poppy fell silent. When he discovers the truth, he finds that the greatest heartache is yet to come. 
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This is another review I had to sit on for a few days. This seems to be happening to me a lot this year (so far). I get caught up in just one small piece of a book and either hate it or love it. I have been ending up in the middle with many books I've read since the new year.

A Thousand Boy Kisses is a book I both loved and hated.

The romance was obviously the highlight of the book. Poppy and Rune meet as children and fall in love as they grow into their teens. When they are 15 years old, Rune is forced to move away (back to Norway) due to his father relocating for work. Within a few months of the move, Poppy goes ghost. She stops responding to calls and emails, and Rune finds out from his friends that her family left town suddenly for no apparent reason. This causes Rune to tailspin into anger and resentment. He basically hates everyone and everything. Fast forward two years... Rune is back! Poppy is back! They both come back to town and move into their SAME HOUSES next door to each other (so, no one bought/rented the houses in the two years they were gone? IDK). Poppy has cancer. Rune is angry (and doesn't yet know of the cancer).

My first issue lies with the repetitiveness of this book. Literally, every other page is the same thing again and again. The sweet, romantic things Poppy and Rune say to one another are lovely, beautiful, etc. I enjoyed it...until it just kept going and going, same thing again and again, and again. MY POPPY. MY POPPY. MY POPPY. WITH MY RUNE. WITH MY RUNE. WITH MY RUNE. MY HEART NEARLY BURST. MY HEART NEARLY BURST. MY HEART NEARLY BURST. MY HEART NEARLY BURST. IT NEARLY BURST. IT FUCKING BURST! My brain nearly burst by the end of this book. It really was a clich├ęd cheesefest. Some variety in the romance would have been nice.

I did, however, enjoy this book more than The Fault in Our Stars, which says a lot. The reason I liked this book, you know...the type of book it is, is because even though Poppy was dying, she wasn't cynical (she left that to Rune) or angry about life. She didn't become sarcastic or sorry for herself. She tried to make the best of the time she had left. All she wanted was for her family to be alright when it was all said and done. I did find this slightly unrealistic, I suppose, but I still found her attitude throughout the situation inspiring and humbling. Her character was written very well and she was just a sweet girl.

Now, Rune. Rune, Rune, Rune. His attitude toward the situation was a bit more realistic. He was pissed. He felt cheated. He screamed and cried. It broke my little heart! Rune was such a lost little soul for a good portion of the book. I did love how his character learned and grew throughout the story. The poor boy really had some demons to fight.

Okay, my biggest issue with this book was the way they spoke of dying. This book has some religious elements woven into the story. In the beginning of the book, Poppy's grandmother dies. This is where the “thousand boy kisses” thing comes from—her grandmother gives her a mission, of sorts, to have a thousand boy kisses from the boy of her dreams. It is a cute idea and I liked it. Now, as her grandmother is passing on, she talks a little about heaven and the concept of “going home”...this is a big annoyance for me. I am sorry, but I was triggered. One of my biggest problems with the Christian religion is that they love to refer to “heaven” as “home” and they constantly glorify dying as if it is some great gift. No, it is just dying. You're dead. In the ground. Rotting. You aren't going anywhere. I have always considered this attitude about dying (going “home”) as being slightly suicidal. Poppy acted as if she wanted to die. It just seems morbid to me to have this attitude. I understand that this comforts some people, but I just find it gross. Ew.

This brings me to the ending. Oh my fucking gosh. Okay, so Poppy dies, of course. There is no miracle cure for cancer found in the pages of this book. When she dies, she leaves Rune with the task of getting one thousand GIRL kisses. She is so thoughtful and really just wants Rune to move on and be happy again some day; to find a girl/woman to have heart-achingly sweet kisses with, but he basically shuts down the idea altogether. Eventually, we get to this scene where Rune thinks he is dreaming of Poppy. He mentions that the dream feels more real than others he's had before. Turns out, he's dead too. There is no explanation as to what happened to him—he is just dead. He is HOME now, with Poppy. So fucking corny and such a shit ending, in my opinion. I would have LOVED a second installment in the story where Rune finds someone special and gets his one thousand girl kisses. I am so disappointed with the ending. :( Rune never even tried to move on from Poppy; never kissed another girl again. I get it, their love was meant to be and she is the ONLY one for him...but in real life, you don't just stop living life when you're only 17-18 because of your high school girlfriend dying. It just isn't realistic.
Overall, I liked the book. It was sweet. It did make me cry a little. The book kept me hooked, page after page. I had some issues with the religious aspects of the book, and the cheesy repetitive nature of Poppy & Rune's relationship. I just couldn't take a lot of it seriously, and this is a book that should be taken seriously, in my opinion, you know? But, nevertheless, it was a good book. Good, not great. I definitely recommend it if you like achingly-sweet romances with a sad twist.