ARC Review: How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You by Tara Eglington

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I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You
Author: Tara Eglington
Publisher: St. Martins
Publication Date: October 25, 2016
Stars: 2.5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): Executor of the Find a Prince Program™ and future author, sixteen-year-old Aurora Skye is dedicated to helping others navigate the minefield that is teenage dating. Counsellor-in-residence at home, where her post-divorce ad-agency father has transformed into a NAD (New Age Dad) intent on stripping his life bare of ‘the illusionary’ (i.e. the removal of home furnishings to the point where all after-hours work must be done in lotus position on a hemp cushion) Aurora literally lives and breathes Self-Help.

When the beginning of the school year heralds the arrival of two Potential Princes™ who seem perfect for her best friends Cassie (lighthouse beacon for emotionally fragile boys suffering from traumatic breakups) and Jelena (eye-catching, elegant and intent on implementing systems of serfdom at their school) it seems as if Aurora’s fast on her way to becoming the next Dr Phil.

As Aurora discovers, however, Self-Help is far from simple. Aurora’s mother arrives home from her extended ‘holiday’ (four years solo in Spain following the infamous ‘Answering Machine Incident’) throwing the NAD into further existential crisis. With Valentine’s Day drawing closer and the new Potential Princes not stepping up to the mark, Aurora is literally forced to take to the stage to throw two couples together. However, being cast opposite Hayden Paris (boy next door and bane-of-Aurora’s life) in the school production of Much Ado about Nothing brings challenges of its own. Not only does Hayden doubt that Cupid is understaffed and thus in dire need of Aurora’s help, but playing Beatrice to his Benedict throws her carefully preserved first kiss for a Prince into jeopardy. As Aurora races to save love’s first kiss and put a stop to the NAD’s increasingly intimate relationship with her Interpretive dance teacher (guilty of putting Aurora on detention for a ‘black aura’) she is left wondering who can a self help guru turn to for help? Can she practice what she preaches? And can long-assumed frogs become Potential Princes?

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I had really high hopes for How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You, which is probably why it was such a let-down. This is a book about acting, which I always seem to enjoy. Even so, I found the main character to be really whiny and annoying, and the plot was too predictable to be enjoyable.

How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You is an acting book and what I would consider a Shakespeare retelling. The characters in the book perform a 50s version of Much Ado About Nothing, which I found to be an interesting twist on the original play. What I especially enjoyed about this book was the fact that the story really goes into depth describing play rehearsals. The story really had so much potential, but there were multiple aspects that really annoyed me.

The main character, Aurora, really got on my nerves. She believes that she should save her first kiss for her true love and does everything she can to preserve it. I think that this is a sweet thing to do, but it actually becomes really annoying. Aurora just takes things too far, even arguing with the play director more than once when she is stuck kissing her enemy in the production. She is such a whiny character who creates a lot of unnecessary drama, so she really impacted my enjoyment of the book.

My biggest issue with How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You is how predictable the plot is. Aurora’s “secret admirer” was obvious from the beginning and she is so clueless that she can’t figure it out from all the hints. The story also has pretty much the same plot as Much Ado About Nothing, adding to the predictability for those that have a basic understanding of the play. Even at the beginning of certain scenes, you can tell right away what’s going to happen. When reading a book, I like plot twists and surprises, which this book unfortunately couldn’t offer me.

How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You is a Shakespeare retelling that seemed so promising. The main character is whiny and dramatic and the plot is way too predictable. However, if you are more of a fan of cheesy and clichéd romances, you might enjoy this book.

10 thoughts on “ARC Review: How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You by Tara Eglington

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