Today is my turn to weigh in on the newest title from Entangled Teen Crush: Don’t Kiss the Messenger!! I’m so excited to share my thoughts with you… if you’d like to read about what other bloggers think, click the banner below to find the blog tour details…
When Emmett and Bryn start attending Edgelake High their senior year they re-enact their own modern Cyrano de Bergerac love story with CeCe smack in the middle. CeCe, while a leader on the volleyball court takes a back seat in love due to the large scar on her face. Emmett, the new football quarterback is blindsided by the gorgeous looks of fellow new student Bryn but falls in love with her emails and texts sent by her secret messenger CeCe. Will they sort out this love tangle?
Don’t Kiss the Messenger
Edge Lake High School, #1
by Katie Ray
Publication Date: April 10, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen Crush
Right off the bat I really enjoyed how all of these teens were athletes. They had other interests too so they weren’t two dimensional meatheads but this isn’t a book about the stereotypical nerds (not that there’s anything wrong with nerds 🙂 ) that we read about all the time in contemporary books. Their lives did revolve around their games and competitions though and that added another element to the classic high school story. In fact it honestly felt more like a college book at times which isn’t a bad thing necessarily but definitely focused on those sorts of concerns (sex, drinking and partying). Watford and the Shakespeare class was a good side element.
The setup was really strong and made me root for all the characters even Bryn. Smart choices were made by the author that sucked you into the story: Shakespeare, playlists, science, just to give you a few clues! Part of what caused me to enjoy the book so much was how individual each character felt. CeCe was a sum total of dealing with the stares caused by her scar. Even her family life was affected by that accident and this was the time she had to deal with it before she went into the larger world. Emmett’s ticket to college will be his sport’s scholarship but he is the person he is due to the music he shared with his father. Will a football groupie really make a satisfying relationship? Bryn has always relied on her body and appearance to make a connection in her relationships and to do otherwise makes her feel very insecure. This depth really informed the plot so that by the end I wasn’t surprised at all by any of the character’s actions or conclusions. This is the kind of writing that I love: well thought out, developed storytelling!
I also loved the ideas she presented as the characters took these journeys of self-discovery. Like this from Emmett:
“Some of our best memories were made inside here, driving at night and dissecting music under a broken sky of stars. Some things I refused to let go. Some memories were worth the weight of carrying.”
And this perspective on sports by CeCe:
“I loved that sports gave women a reason to be unpretty, in the traditional sense. It made stamina, strength, endurance, and mental toughness attractive. Flushed cheeks were your makeup, muscles your accessory, and sweat your glitter.”
Honestly I could quote many passages in this book… I can see where CeCe gets caught up relating so well to Emmett online and how freeing it is that he doesn’t know they are her words. She has no pressure from him at all and can be herself. On the other side of it are the feelings she is starting to have when she is with him… This is definitely CeCe’s book but there were moments where Emmett could be protective but in a modern way where her femininity remained intact.
A little past 60% I was quite surprised where the story went, it wasn’t bad and the moments were just as stellar post-50% as pre-50% but I was hoping that the pretending would end and the story would develop past the lies before the book ended. CeCe gets in way too deep… and I loved how that happened with the chemistry experiments, skinny dipping and the SPIDER (which I hoped would end things…!) But to be frank this is where the story shows to be about high school and not college.
I did really enjoy how this helped CeCe to break through the walls she’d built between her and her mother… Their conversation was poignant and beautiful even though she wasn’t hearing what she wanted to hear. And I wasn’t surprised when she makes a left turn with Tucker… it worked to me and I was so relieved it wasn’t worse! I enjoyed how music helped Emmett adjust to the idea two woman had been in his life (rarely do we get such a well done dual story!)
Love how Bryn broke it off with the truth… I really loved that she was never made out to be a villain she was just a girl with her own hangups even though she was gorgeous looking. Oh and I loved Tuba’s pep talk! What a friend! We all have things we are rejected for or are insecure about… CeCe is such a regular girl, an athlete too but just as needy and insecure as everyone else! All girls need to learn how to self love themselves before others can too and this book gives a great rendition of how we do that…
BOTTOM LINE: Modern athlete version of the Cyrano de Bergerac love story! 5 stars.
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway…
Signed Copy of Don’t Kiss the Messenger
S y n o p s i s
For most of her teenage life, CeCe Edmonds has been dealing with the stares and the not-so- polite whispers that follow her around Edgelake High. So she has a large scar on her face—Harry Potter had one on his forehead and people still liked him.
CeCe never cared about her looks—until Emmett Brady, transfer student and football darling, becomes her literature critique partner. The only problem? Emmett is blindsided by Bryn DeNeuville, CeCe’s gorgeous and suddenly shy volleyball teammate.
Bryn asks CeCe to help her compose messages that’ll charm Emmett. CeCe isn’t sure there’s anything in his head worth charming but agrees anyway—she’s a sucker for a good romance. Unfortunately, the more messages she sends and the more they run into each other, the more she realizes there’s plenty in his head, from food to literature. Too bad Emmett seems to be falling for the wrong girl…
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book involves one fiercely scarred girl who wants the new guy in town, the new guy who thinks he wants the new girl, and the new girl who really isn’t sure what she wants, and the misunderstanding that brings them all together. You’ll laugh, you’ll swoon, you’ll fall in love.
Katie Ray (also known by her previous author name, Katie Kacvinsky) writes teen and new adult fiction novels. Her books have been nominated for YALSA awards, and First Comes Love was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Her screenplay, A High Note, was a semifinalist in the Austin Screenplay Competition in 2015. She currently lives in Ashland, Wisconsin with her husband, two children, and a slightly insane dog.
Thanks to Chapter-by-Chapter and Entangled Teen for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.