Title: Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me (and One Time I Kissed Him First)
Author: Anna Martin
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 20, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
When you realize you want to marry your best friend at age six, life should follow a pretty predictable path, right? Maybe not.
As a kid, Evan King thought Scott Sparrow was the most amazing person he’d ever met. At seventeen, his crush runs a little deeper, and nothing seems simple anymore. Scott is more interested in football and girls than playing superheroes, and Evan’s attention is focused on getting into art school. A late-night drunken kiss is something to be forgotten, not obsessed over for the next ten years.
When life suddenly brings them back together, it doesn’t take much for the flame Evan carried for Scott nearly all his life to come roaring back, and Evan discovers that life sometimes has a strange way of coming full circle.
In her author’s note, Anna Martin explains how Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me (and One Time I Kissed Him First) is her homage to fan fiction, which often uses a 5+1 writing structure, which she notes is a concept along the lines of “five times someone did something and one time they did the opposite”.
Martin utilizes 5+1 to tell the love story of Evan and his best friend Scott by pulling five moments (plus an extended epilogue) from their lives over a 25 year period, starting with their second kiss in 2002 (the summer before their senior year high school), their fourth kiss in 2012, then back to 1992, a third kiss in 2004 and finally their fifth kiss in January of 2013, with the epilogue taking place in 2018.
And yup, that first kiss in 1992 when they were second-graders is all kinds of cute. Evan and Scott hold a mock marriage in the back yard in this cool tent they built together because “Ms. Hopkinson says people get married when they like each other best of all, and I like you best of all, so we should get married.”
But on the whole, the nonlinear flow of the story makes the book seem disjointed and too long (even at a slim 200 pages). Just when I started getting into the circumstances surrounding a kiss (and trying to figure out what happened previously with miscommunication or misunderstandings), the scene ends and we are onto another period in time. Because of this, the chemistry between Evan and Scott felt “fuzzy” until the epilogue (where the two incinerated the sheets).
Now I’m perfectly willing to concede that “your mileage may vary” and the nonlinear aspect of the story may not bother you at all. There is an appealing sweetness to this love story and the epilogue is one lengthy very happy HEA. I encourage you to give this book a read!
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