Yet despite the leading title, Never Been Kissed isn’t a lip-locking quest but a cautionary tale. A girl who’s never been kissed is suddenly facing charges for sexting — in this case sending a nude photo to a boy. But such a photograph was never taken, let alone sent! Elise must find out who is framing her for this awful, awful crime! (Insert filler, blah, blah, blah, sexting sucks, God rocks, depression, lawyers, prom! more sadness). And the culprit is caught! Will Elise ever forgive this girl who has messed up her life? Under one condition: The girl must go to church with her. And...scene.
Did you catch the religious references above? Because the book is full of them. As main character Elise is e-mailing the cute new boy Asher, she decides to write — and I paraphrase slightly here — “I haven’t told you this yet, but I’m a Christian. What’s your religious background?” Yep, nothing turns a guy on more than talking ‘bout Jesus! The rest of the book includes similar religion placement, including Elise’s prom date giving her a picture of Jesus’s hand on the crucifix. Now THAT’S how to get a girl. The next cute Jew I meet is getting a schmear o’ lamb blood!
Now, to be clear, I have no problem whatsoever with the free and complete practice of Christianity, nor with Christian fiction as a genre. But as for the latter, I’d like to see religion incorporated in a well-written way, and I’d like to know that it is Christian fiction. Never Been Kissed isn’t noted as such anywhere but in fine print on the publisher’s page. So imagine my surprise, wondering why religion is playing such a big role in my book about the dangers of sexting. And hello? The “never been kissed” concept was dropped as soon as the drama began, and was hastily tied in again at the end: “And even though I still haven’t been officially kissed, I’m thinking that maybe I need to just wait... What I’m actually saying is that I need to just wait on God. Because I know now that his timing and his ways are a whole lot better than mine!” Not good.
So there you have it, folks. I’m hoping to get back to writing more frequently now that Dracula is over...
MotherReader breaking in: TeenReader — along with her fellow “vixens” — got a Cappies nomination for ensemble! Peer reviews consistently noted the group with thoughts like, “A captivating and chilling ensemble, Brides of Dracula were always just the right touch in every scene, sinister cackles and bone chilling screeches seemed carefully choreographed.” Congratulations!
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