The Art of French Kissing

Brianna Shrum
The Art of French Kissing
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Sky Pony
Release Date
June 2019
Contemporary Romance, Young Adult Romance

Seventeen-year-old Carter Lane has wanted to be a chef since she was old enough to ignore her mom's warnings to stay away from the hot stove. And now she has the chance of a lifetime: a prestigious scholarship competition in Savannah, where students compete all summer in Chopped style challenges for a full-ride to one of the best culinary schools in the country. The only impossible challenge ingredient in her basket: Reid Yamada.

After Reid, her cute but unbearably cocky opponent, goes out of his way to screw her over on day one, Carter vows revenge, and soon they are involved in a full-fledged culinary war. Just as the tension between them reaches its boiling point, Carter and Reid are forced to work together if they want to win, and Carter begins to wonder if Reid's constant presence in her brain is about more than rivalry. And if maybe her desire to smack his mouth doesn't necessarily cancel out her desire to kiss it.

Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Jun 20, 2019   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
26 people found the following review helpful
The blurb got me interested--two rival teens in a cooking competition? Sounds fun. The banter between Carter and Reid certainly was, the mean tricks they played on each other certainly typical of immature teens, and it was interesting to read about a cooking competition vs watching it on TV. (Hey, I'm always more of a book girl than a TV girl.) Plus, I love the friendships Carter made during her time in Savannah.

Several things though that made this a 3-star rather than 4-star:

1. Carter Lane. I don't expect to love all the heroines I read about, but frankly, she's irritating. Still, I told myself to put it aside so I can read on because Reid sounds wonderful and the competition is interesting and of course, I want to know how it all ends. But there, after the semi-finals, in her scene with Reid, I really wanted to put down the book. I don't get how she started it, it's her fault in the first place and she gets to blame Reid for it and Reid thinks he's to blame too. Ugh. She twists things around to justify herself to the readers, and that makes her even more irritating.

2. There was a scene where Reid confessed that he's kissed a total of 5 people--3 girls, 1 boy (implied) and 1 who's nonbinary. I don't see how this should lead Carter to conclude that Reid identifies as queer. Perhaps some of you would agree with Carter, but for me, Reid is a teenage boy. Boys that age are still searching for their identity, what they like and don't like. I see that as experimenting and not enough to label someone as queer.

One thing I have to applaud the author for is the sex scene. Frankly, I don't like reading about sex in YA books, but in this case, I have to make an exception because of the conversation before the sex. I like the message it sends to readers--that sex isn't expected, anyone can call a halt at any time, and no one should be mad if there's a halt. That it came from Reid (a boy) should make the impact more profound, and can you see why I like Reid so much? I truly feel he's shortchanged with Carter for his heroine.
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January 27, 2020 06:02 PM ( EST )