For What It's Worth

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

ARC Review: Kiss Crush Collide by Christina Meredith

Leah has the life most high school girls would kill for—popularity, glowing grades, a rich, athletic boyfriend. So why does she feel like she can’t breathe? And why can’t she stop thinking about the boy from the country club? The one who isn’t her boyfriend, the one that her mother would never, ever approve of, the one that her perfect older sisters would never, ever look at twice. The one who is always looking back at her. Irresistible attraction, smoldering glances, the bad boy and the good girl—Kiss Crush Collide has everything that a steamy forbidden romance should, and then some.

With graceful and honest writing and an electric love story, this is a book about growing into your own skin. For fans of Perfect Chemistry, Sarah Dessen, and John Green. (YA)

I was pretty excited to receive Kiss Crush Collide for review. The cover is very sexy and the book is recommended for "romance fans of Perfect Chemistry". That would be me.

I admit I had certain expectations going in that weren't met. I also think it's a disservice to the reader to compare this book to PC. The only things they have in common are a poor guy from the wrong side of the tracks and a wealthy blond haired girl with big boobs (this is something she repeatedly points out about herself - not me being sarcastic).

The similarities end there. Rather than a hot forbidden romance novel this is about a girl living in the shadow of her perfect sisters, harsh task master of a mother and sweet but passive father.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that - it's just that a reader has certain expectations based on the summary/cover.

Now that I have that out of the way I'll address the actual story.

Leah has a seemingly picture perfect life. The perfect family and the perfect boyfriend, Shane, however Leah always feels like she's living a carbon copy of her sister's lives. She is expected to be the valedictorian and marry her boyfriend right after high school. Just like her sisters. Only Leah feels she can't live up to their standards. She's not as pretty, not as smart and not sure she loves Shane.

As the pressure mounts for Leah to meet her families expectations she feels the need to rebel. When she meets a boy that sets her on fire in a way that Shane never did she starts meeting him secretly.

I really wanted to sympathize with Leah and feel that passion leap off the page when she and Duffy are together but it just didn't happen for me. One problem for me was that Kiss Crush Collide is told exclusively from Leah's POV. Without knowing why Duffy is with her and Leah barely explaining their encounters, it felt like a random hookup to me. There was a point where they got in a fight about lies they've told each other and I was kind of stunned at how upset they were. They hadn't even exchanged phone numbers yet.

As for Leah herself, I just could not connect with her. I did at first but as the story continued I felt less and less sympathetic towards her. She is treated incredibly harshly by her mother and her sisters are indifferent at best so when she has the opportunity to befriend a sweet girl from school it was shocking how badly she treated the girl.

There are very interesting family dynamics in this book but by dividing the story between Leah's family and the romance, neither plot got the full attention it deserved. Instead, I just ended up disliking everyone except Duffy. Unfortunately I didn't get to know him enough to form an opinion but he seemed nice enough in that rebellious but sweet sort of way. I felt the story had unfulfilled potential. 

Rating: 1.5 out of 4 The summary isn't entirely accurate. Kiss Crush Collide is less about forbidden romance than about a girl coming to terms with her family and future. I was never able to connect with Leah and there just wasn't enough of Duffy.

Author: Website | Facebook
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: ARC courtesy of the publisher for my honest review
Buy the book! Kiss Crush Collide Publication date - December 27th, 2011


  1. Oh no! And this sounds so cute and romantic. I'm the same if I can't connect with a character I tend to not really enjoy the book. Great review Karen!

    Xpresso Reads

  2. I think when you compare any book to perfect chemisty...its never going to be like that book at all. Great honest review

  3. Great honest review!! ooh bummr

  4. It's terrible when a book isn't what you expected it to be especially if the summary and the book cover are misleading. Thanks to yours and Lena's reviews I am saved from reading this.


  5. Dang! I've pretty much only seen less-than-stellar reviews of this book. What a bummer! It's surprising to hear that the summary was misleading, too: I was definitely expecting a romance more than a family-centric story. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
    - Lauren

  6. Yeah....I really need to connect, at least om some level or else I will just end up like you with this book

  7. LOL, I knew you were going to say something about her big boobs. They were always spilling out of her top!

    I agree. When you compare something to PC and John Green, high expectations are to be had. And considering the book itself didn't offer you what you wanted, it's no wonder why you were disappointed.

    Thanks for the honest review, Kar-Kar!

  8. Maybe I'm a cynic, but I tend to approach books advertised as mainly romance very, very carefully. I find that frequently, writers have a hard time convincing me of the "love" they're trying to get across. Like you felt with this book, I often feel like it's more of a random hookup. Anyway, I think I'll pass on this one for now. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Karen!

  9. I wanted an ARC of this, but now I'm glad I didn't get one. I hate when a synopsis is completely misleading. I haven't come across one positive review of KCC.
    Great review!

  10. Yep, WAAAAY to much boobage in this book! lol

    Also, i didn't really like the way the book was told. How Leah would being telling a story about something that happened in the past but then jump back to the present, there wasn't much of a separation so sometimes i got kinda confused.

    And DUDE! Duffy wasn't even poor!! Like he worked at the Club, but his dad was rich as ass!! Also, i just kept calling him Porter, b/c that name is hotter than Duffy...just sayin'.

    I agree with everything you said, wife. Great review! <3

  11. Hmmm, pointing out you have big boobs repeatedly. I'm just not getting it. This book sounds frustrating all around. I think I need to read Perfect Chemistry though. Not a book I'd typically read, but I've heard such good things about it.

  12. Aw, that's too bad. This doesn't sound like the book for me either...thanks for the great review, Karen.

  13. Had this one on my to-read list for the longest time (because of the PC-related marketing). Thankfully, I read several reviews and ended up NOT buying it. Connecting w/ the main characters is a must for me.
    But because I was in the mood for some cute YA, I gave J. Echols a try. Good thing haha. Love her writing. Helped me get over the disappointment regarding Kiss Crush Collide. Such a bummer! Great review. Honest and thoughtful. Thanks!
    Right now, I'm in the middle of my "thriller-phase" (antihero).
    _yay_ @

    1. Jennifer Echols is great. What book did you read? My favorite is Going too Far.

      I think Kiss Crush Collide would have been better if it didn't have the burden of living up to PC, John Green etc. It's nothing like those books but may have found it's niche with more realistic marketing.