17 First Kisses

17 First Kisses

3.73 (3,902 ratings by Goodreads)
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In this incandescent page-turner, sixteen-year-old Claire learns the unfortunate truth that sometimes a girl has to kiss a lot of frogs...Brilliantly capturing the complexities of friendship, the struggles of self-discovery, and the difficulties of trying to find love in high school, Rachael Allen has crafted a rich debut that's impossible to put down. No matter how many boys Claire kisses, she can't seem to find a decent boyfriend-someone who isn't afraid of her family's tragic past or her own aspirations for the future ...until she meets Luke. But Megan, Claire's closest friend, is falling for Luke, too, and if there's one thing Claire knows for sure, it's that Megan is 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.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 135 x 203 x 20mm | 265g
  • HarperTeen
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0062281348
  • 9780062281340
  • 727,802

Back cover copy

Sometimes a girl has to kiss a lot of frogs. . . .

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. Someone 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.

Luke is adorable and he's lived all over the world. But Megan is falling for Luke too, and if there's one thing Claire knows for sure, it's that Megan is 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.
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About Rachael Allen

Rachael Allen lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two children, and two sled dogs. In addition to being a YA writer, she's a mad scientist, a rabid Falcons fan, an expert dare list maker, and a hugger. Rachael is also the author of 17 First Kisses.
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Rating details

3,902 ratings
3.73 out of 5 stars
5 33% (1,287)
4 25% (985)
3 27% (1,073)
2 10% (402)
1 4% (155)

Our customer reviews

I had the chance to read an advance copy of 17FK and I was so thrilled about this novel, attracted by the synopsis "true love and best friendship on the line" expecting a sweet, restless romance. I read it in a lazy day of summer turning over the pages of Claire's life: a girl from Georgia, who is figuring out what kind of person she really wants to be through her first love and the tumultuous friendship with Megan "McQUEEN Bee", the most popular girl in high school and her best friend. I was expecting a romantic, maybe fluffy contemporary YA, and at first I was disappointed it wasn't, but I don't regret having read it�?�¢?�?�¦ quite surprised, in fact! There is still romance in this novel �?�¢??Claire is risking her forever friendship with Megan to keep her relationship with Luke a secret�?�¢?? but that isn't truly the focus of the plot�?�¢?�?�¦ there's something else that makes this book interesting and worth reading: family dynamics, loss, frenemies and wrong guys, waiting for the right one. I love complicated friendship - love and rivalry - and flawed main characters forever making mistakes to grow up, but I do not appreciate backstabbing and ****-shaming. It�?�¢??s a melting pot of cute moments and annoying ones; amazing, original flashbacks to all of Claire's �?�¢??first�?�¢?? kisses and popular, mean girls. Flowing and nice book, all in all, recommended for those who enjoy quick reads about the complexities of friendship, the struggles of self-discovery, and teenage drama. As for me, I would have liked to have much more of romance and maybe a little less of girl-on-girl hate!show more
by Kimmy Lol
Full review: 17 First Kisses is why I enjoy YA literature so much - it's a story that appears to be a typical cute YA romance at first, but ends up being so much more. Debut author Rachael Allen introduces us to Claire and Megan: two best friends who have each gone through their share of romances, without finding the right boyfriend, even though it always feels like Megan wins out in the end. However, they both end up falling for the same guy this time around, and that's when things get complicated… I've read plenty of coming-of-age novels in the past several years, but none which have struck me quite so much as 17 First Kisses. From the very first page, Allen masterfully showcases the complexities of growing up and trying to find your version of a happily-ever-after, even as you realize that not everything you believed - whether it's happy families or cute boys - is as perfect or ideal as you have initially believed. Part of that is accomplished through Allen's clever decision to have part of Claire's story be revealed in vignettes that run parallel to the main storyline. Readers learn how Claire and Megan's lives have evolved over time, including family drama, jerky boyfriends, and evolving personal interests, all of which have continued to shape their views of what they want in their lives and their futures. The main storyline of the triangle between Claire, Megan and Luke is nicely done as well. Allen isn't afraid to shy away from the petty jealousies and slight jabs that will occur even between friends when a cute boy appears on the scene, but also gently reminds readers that it's friendship that will always be the most important thing. There's a definite reminder that relationships will come and go, but friendships will be forever - including friendships in unexpected places - which is a strong lesson for all readers Of special note for parents and educators: as Blythe points out in her review, some readers may find issue with the fact that the there is a certain degree of ****-shaming in the book. However, I personally believe that Allen's inclusion of those scenes is not only highly realistic, but also handled in a way that is intelligent and well-reasoned, and will make readers think about similar events within their lives. Allen does the same with the family dynamics which she explores in the book. She's profoundly honest with the stark realities and time involved with family drama and loss, but also optimistic and realistic as things begin to change for the better. Finally, without giving any spoilers away: the ending is also perfect. Allen truly knows what it means to write that perfect ending which fully showcases a character's arc while also staying absolutely true their characterization and growth. Final verdict: I went into 17 First Kisses expecting a standard cute YA romance. But what I got was a thoughtful, beautifully-written debut novel on first loves, the importance of family, and most importantly, finding strength in your friendships and in yourself, as you begin to work through the weird, marvelous journey that is life. I highly recommend this book for fans of contemporary fiction of all ages. Readers will love both Claire and Megan, cheering for them as they begin to follow their passions, while also remaining true to their friendship. I recommend this book for fans of Sarah Ockler and Huntley Fitzpatrick.show more
by Jessamyn Y Huang
I wanted to read this one because I wanted to know what the tragedy with her family as well as find the dirt on the 17 kisses as well as her current crush. I immediately felt for Claire. I was always the girl that had a hard time with boys, especially at first. She had a great narrative voice and it was so easy to read from her perspective and laugh with her, worry about her mom with her, and reminisce about those kisses and how they went wrong. It was such a shame that the new guy to school, Luke, in the present, was in the middle with her and Megan, Claire's best friend who is gorgeous and who all the guys seem to fall for, even ones that Claire has liked and kissed. But Megan liked Luke too and it became a strain on their relationship because neither of them really wanted to step down. It is hard seeing a friendship tested like that, but an important dynamic to explore since hot sweet guys can make us as women's heads a little fuzzy, us hormonal and make some questionable decisions. Some interesting twists came up with Luke besides the fact that he was leading on two girls. Some of it I saw coming others I really didn't. But while he added drama to the story, I think that the main message is about so much more than kissing. I liked the emphasis on friendship and showing the many ways they can be damaged, repaired, stretched, formed and all other sorts of things. There was also a big focus on Claire's family. They weren't the most functional because of their tragedy, but who could blame them. I was so glad to see them all start to grow and let life run its course without letting it drag them down out of it. The parents were dynamic characters in the story too, and I liked that none of the issues were gift wrapped, it showed that it took time, patience and lots of hard work to get through tragedy. Parts of the story is told in flashback and it gives a unique look not only in Claire's string of kisses and failed relationships with guys, but also a more emotional view of the past tragedy within the family so that I felt it and was more emotionally invested rather than it just being mentioned. At first it was a little hard to keep all of the characters (guys especially) straight from one another, but they all played a role on how Claire sees guys, her and Megan's friendship. Seeing them when they were first best friends makes the tension between them over Luke harder to read. I can see both sides of it, but it just seems like the closeness they have, everything they have done to be there for each other should take precedence. I know it was a hard road, but I did appreciate how in the end it worked for them despite their issues, even if maybe not quite as easy as could have been if they'd made different choices. One thing that I really wanted as I read this first part of the book was to see more growth in Claire in that she didn't let the popular crowd and peer pressure make her own decision for you. I get that some of these kisses were in elementary school and really don't count, or from spin the bottle, which I also wouldn't say adds to reputation... However, there were some where she ended up there because she didn't want to lose approval. Now, I understand that is a driving factor, but I just wanted her to realize her own value and use her own mind. 17 First Kisses was wonderfully paced, there was just enough drama, boys, friendship and family that it had my constant attention, seeing how it grew, shaped and changed Claire. The ending was nice, and while it leaves us with the start of a new chapter for Claire, I do like the way it tied up the main plots, but also gave room for lots of choices for the future for Claire because of the way some of her dreams and hopes worked themselves out. Maybe even a sequel... I definitely would not complain. Bottom Line: Quick and enjoyable bookshow more
by Brandi Kosiner (Brandi Breathes Books)
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