Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach, published January 2014 by Picador.
Read: July 2015
Get It Now: Wordery
Goodreads Synopsis: On the internet, we can be anyone we choose. No one knows who we really are. Sheltered and obsessive, Leila spends more time online than out in the real world. So she seems the ideal person to take over the virtual identity of the vivacious and fragile Tess, who wants to disappear. But even with all the facts at her fingertips, there are things that Leila can’t possibly know about Tess – or herself – until it is too late…
So, this wasn’t what I was expecting. I knew nothing about this book when I picked it up, and from the title I was expecting a dramatic and romantic storyline. That is not this book. Kiss Me First is one of the only books I’ve read that scarily, yet somehow eerily accurately, depicts the dangers of the Internet… especially when in the wrong (AKA slightly deranged) hands. There are seriously sinister undertones throughout this novel, and yet the main character, Leila, is still relate-able at times, and humanised by the author. A very clever move.
I want to mention that I seem to have a pattern of rating mysteries and thrillers 3.5/5. Maybe I haven’t found one that has totally blown my socks off yet, or maybe the genre just isn’t my literary love, but I want to throw it in here because I don’t want anyone reading this to think 3.5/5 is in any way a negative, or even a particularly mediocre review. If you are a thriller/mystery fan, I would encourage you to pick this one up. I enjoyed it.
Leila is an unreliable first-person narrator, and although she’s painted as an un-likeable character, there are definite sympathetic and vulnerable elements to her character, that somehow made me connect with her in a way that I was almost uncomfortable with. Tess on the other hand is the popular girl-about-town, who is dealing with mental health issues that make her an erratic fireball of a character. Oddly, I struggled with her a little more than I did Leila.
Overall, the plot was very well executed, if a little slow at times, but I was entertained right until the end as the mystery unravelled.
“And people got divorced, didn’t they? If they fell in love with someone else? And that other person was available? These weren’t the kinds of questions that could be answered by Google.”
“I pretended that it wasn’t such a big deal, that I knew we weren’t suited, that I agreed with what-ever bullshit rationale you used – ‘we don’t make each other the best possible versions of ourselves’ or what-ever. But you did make me the best ‘me’.”