Book Review: "Never Been Kissed" by Melody Carlson

Summary from All Elise wants is to have her first kiss before she turns sixteen. Is that so bad? But when a friend's poor advice and the powers of electronic technology combine, Elise heads down a dangerous road. She is accused of "sexting" and gets kicked out of school. But is she really the one to blame?

This powerful and realistic story from beloved author Melody Carlson shows teen girls the impact of their choices when it comes to respecting themselves and their integrity. Honest and relevant, Never Been Kissed will make girls laugh, cry . . . and think.

This book took me by surprise. While the description above mentions the main plot of the story, the back of the book doesn't mention it at all. Therefore I was expecting a rather bland story of a girl who's never been kissed and gets her first kiss in high school and how magical and wonderful it was. I should have known better. Melody Carlson is known for pushing those racy and usually unmentionable topics in other Christian fiction books into her stories. In fact as far as I know, this is the first CF book I've read that even mentions sexting at all.

The beginning of the story has new girl Elise entering her junior year at a new high school. She wants to create a new identity and start her year off right. Almost immediately she catches the eye of one of the hottest guys in the school. When Elise and Asher start emailing each other, I was really embarassed for Elise because of her emails. I kept thinking "OMG girl, stop giving it all away up front!" I want to note as I said earlier, I didn't realize where the story was headed and just kept thinking about how naive Elise was being. Then when sexting comes into play, it started making more sense and I felt I was on a roller coaster ride, not knowing what was going to happen next. I don't want to spoil the ending but what gets me is that there are some people who do things with no thought about how they might hurt others and frankly they just don't care.

Elise's grandmother is a wonderful parental figure, giving her guidance and helping her during the rough time. I was a bit sad that her own mother chose not to believe her especially without hard core evidence or allowing Elise to defend herself. This is especially appalling since there's no mention at all that she's ever given her mother reason to doubt her in the past. She handled it a lot better than I ever could, I don't think I would want to face anyone in public.

I'm not a big fan of the cover. I feel that it does nothing for the story and is by all accounts very bland. Other than this, this was an excellent book. It's a topic that is VERY relevant to teens out there, and yes even Christian teens as so portrayed in the story. I'm just saying that don't think that because a teen is a Christian doesn't mean they won't come across a situation like this. I feel that this book (like many of Carlson's other YA books) can reach both audiences and discuss a topic that needs more attention.

Never Been Kissed by Melody Carlson is published by Revell (2011)

This review copy was provided by the publisher


  1. I forgot about how much I liked Elise's grandmother. Good thing to point out!

  2. I totally agree about the cover, but besides that, the book does sound like such a winner :)


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