Posted 20 hours ago

I Kissed Shara Wheeler

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Tubes of lip gloss line up neatly in almost identical shades of neutral pink, most half-used, labels rubbing off. But when she sticks her head through the open door and scans the Wheelers’ enormous kitchen, Shara’s nowhere. It’s a smart story, and Chloe and Shara both prove to be quite perceptive about everyone except themselves. I think we all know that religion is not an easy subject to touch on in a book and I thought McQuiston did very well.

It’d be a lie—a huge, Willowgrove-Christian-Academy-football-budget-sized lie—to say she’s never envisioned what sort of perfection incubator Shara Wheeler climbs inside when she goes home every day. But for every part that confused me, there were parts like Chloe and Shara rolling around the ground over the letter that was really emotionally charged and just felt so McQuiston to me.Chloe is smart and uptight and cool and self admittedly b-tchy and a little self absorbed and totally obsessed with finding answers and getting to the bottom of this treasure hunt she’s been reluctantly (? Ross Welford introduces Time Travelling with a Tortoise, the sequel to Time Travelling with a Hamster, and a whole new time travel adventure! It takes all the wonderful feelings of being a teenager, McQuiston’s signature humour and characters who leap off the page and combines them with some of the less wonderful parts of being a teenager – especially when living in a small town in the Bible Belt – to create an uplifting and endlessly entertaining coming of age story. After being unexpectedly kissed by her only rival for valedictorian, Alabama High School Senior, Chloe Green's life begins to rapidly unravel.

When the twists and confrontations come in the back half of the book (some more surprising than others), they are both earned and believable. While on the journey to uncover the mystery, Chloe learns a lot more about her classmates, herself, and Shara along the way.The plot, the characters, the romance, and the mind-boggling twists, were all incredibly well-written. Shara leaving clues for the people she’s kissed to track her down, toying with the protagonist (who is completely in the dark).

It’s heartwarming knowing that kids will feel seen and understood, and I don’t want to say ‘normal’ -because “normal” is a bs societal construct- but that there isn’t anything wrong with them, and they most certainly aren’t alone. We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others. Chloe hovers at the doorway; this isn’t her objective, but there’s a flower-patterned silk scrunchie next to the sink that she’s never seen before, no matter how many AP classes she’s spent glaring at the back of Shara’s head. Okay, so when I got approved for an arc of the latest Casey McQuiston book, I was, well, shocked at first but then deliriously happy.The last third or so of the book is delightfully heartwarming and uplifting and I needed that in my life. I’m sure many of you have read the modern royalty masterpiece and are fully aware of McQuiston’s stunning prose. A lot of the story revolves around the strict Christian high school these characters attend and its stifling atmosphere of homophobia and racism.

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