I have to be honest right from the start and say I absolutely loved Ali Harris’ second novel. Her debut, Miracle on Regent Street was a ‘keeper’ for me so The First Last Kiss had a lot to live up to. It surpassed her debut for me. This review is going to be hard to write!
To begin with I loved the structure. We start on 5 January 2012 … moving day for Molly. This on its own is a very poignant scene. She’s watching a DVD and this connects with the structure as we’re taken through the journey of Molly and Ryan’s love by rewinding, fast forwarding and play. Timelines like this are full of intrigue as sometimes we know the outcome but not how the characters arrived at that place and Harris uses this structure to drop subtle clues as to what may be coming. I made assumptions too … 29th May 2007 springs to mind … and I was totally wrong. This is a very ambiguous part of the story at the time it is read but actually, when it’s fitted into the whole, you realise what and why the scene is a part of. Items being packed up during the move cause flashbacks and the different ways we use kisses are interjected at relevant points (for example The Welcome Kiss, The Snatched Kiss).
The characters are fabulous. Molly’s best friends Mia and Casey and her own family and Ryan’s give the story much colour and depth. Molly’s career, and the way she uses the camera are also an integral part of the story. It’s obvious to the reader that Harris is knowledgeable about the way a magazine operates.
Molly and Ryan’s love affair is not perfect and therefore mirrors real life. The reader spends time with them together and time with them apart. We get to experience life in London, Leigh-on-Sea, New York and Australia. Different parenting styles, childhood perceptions plus teenage angst are all a part of this story as well.
I’ve experienced the most high of emotions reading this … and the lowest. At times I was reluctant to pick up the book and carry on because I knew what was coming but it’s a compulsion, you have to pick it up because the story becomes a part of your life. That’s how real it all feels.
It’s hard to say too much otherwise I will be giving the plot away! Harris deals with the situations with so much realism that you can’t help but be affected by them. This truly is a love story that will live with you for a long time after you’ve turned that final page. This book should come with a warning * tissues required *
The First Last Kiss would make an amazing movie!
I would like to thank the publishers for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.