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Kiss Me First

Kiss Me First [Kindle Edition]

Lottie Moggach
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)

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"'Brilliant, one of those books you read till 3am. A coming-of-age story, a mystery, a psychological thriller, a satire - and a fantastic read.' (Grazia)"

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Leila has never met Tess, but she now knows more about Tess than anyone in the world. She’s read all of her emails, researched her past and asked Tess for every detail about her friends and family. Tess has never met Leila. But if she wants to slip away from the world unnoticed, she needs to trust Leila with her life. At first, Leila finds it easy to assume Tess’s identity, and no one has any reason to distrust her. But as Leila is soon to discover, there is much more to a person than the facts and there are things about life you can learn only by living it . . .

For fans of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson and Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller, Lottie Moggach’s Kiss Me First is an electrifying and unputdownable debut from a phenomenally gifted storyteller.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting premise that lost me by the end 17 Oct 2013
By purpleheart TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
'It was a Friday night, about nine weeks into the project.'

Lottie Moggach's debut novel starts with the 'final conversation' her narrator Leila has with Tess. The novel then timeshifts forward to August 2011 where Leila is in Spanish commune searching for Tess. In the earlier narrative thread we learn Leila lost her mother to MS and through an internet forum takes on the absurdist task of continuing the online life of someone who wants to commit suicide. That person is Tess. We know from the 2011 narrative that police are involved and that Leila is searching for Tess who she thought had committed suicide. The success of the novel then depends on Moggach being able to keep juggling those emerging and seemingly conflicting stories and in keeping us interested in the outcome.

The novel was clearly seen as hitting the zeitgeist by the publishing community and was the focus of a bidding war. The prize of finding the next pyschological thriller to catch the public imagination must be large, but to my mind this isn't it. The sense of danger of a thriller needs isn't really there and the psychological aspects are not fully convincing. Much of the pull of the novel is expected to come from the reader being able to interpret differently what our unreliable narrator is telling in the manner of Notes on a Scandal but I found this patchy. We presume Leila is on the autistic spectrum from her awkward lists of questions for Tess and from her inability to read social situations, yet she is able to adopt Tess's flirty online tone with ease and her flatmate Jonty, himself a cipher helps her social integration later.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intense Reading 6 July 2013
Although a fairly short novel at just under 300 pages (in the proof copy), it took me longer than usual to read. There is an intensity about the story, the characters and the writing that at times felt almost suffocating. The reader is thrust into the isolated, fairly strange world of Leila. Leila is our narrator and although she does realise that there is more than one side to every story, we readers only hear her side to this particular tale.

Growing up the only child of a single mother, Leila has led a sheltered existence. The slow decline in her mother's health and her eventual death have left her with a sense of worthlessness and she immerses herself in an alternative world via the internet, playing games and interacting with people in various chat rooms. One web site in particular; Red Pill and it's charismatic founder Adrian attracts her more than most and it is through Adrian that she hears about Tess. Tess wants to commit suicide, but doesn't want to cause hurt to her family and friends. Tess plans to tell everyone that she is moving away, to 'start over' when really she plans to kill herself. Leila will take on Tess's identity online.

Leila is relating her side of the story a year later when she has travelled abroad to the place that Tess 'moved away to'. Slowly and surely she relates just how she became Tess, her feelings for the other woman, her lifestyle and her friends.

This is an incredibly unique, unusual and sometimes terrifying story. Terrifying in the way that it really makes the reader consider just what they do and say online. These days, most of us use at least one form of social media. Every day I see friends and family who post the most intimate details of their daily lives.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting idea but flawed execution 1 Jun 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book has a very interesting premise and some good, engrossing episodes but as a whole I found it rather unsatisfactory.

The plot revolves around the narrator (Leila) being asked to take on the identity of another person (Tess) and to pretend to be her and to keep up her internet "life" while the real Tess disappears. I won't give away more plot details than that because things develop slowly and further revelation would have acted as a spoiler for much of the book for me. The characters of Leila and Tess are interesting and Leila has a very well realised and convincing narrative voice. She is a solitary, asocial, slightly autistic young woman while Tess is an older, devil-may-care "free spirit". I found both characters convincing; Leila's social ineptiude and naiveté were well done as was Tess's unpredictability, and the depiction of the relationship between them was a strength of the book.

There is lots of interaction between the two of them as Leila tries to get to grips with the minutiae which she will need of Tess's life, and then the story of how things go once Leila has taken over. This was one of my problems with the book; it's an interesting idea but - oh dear! - there's a lot of it. I ended up skimming pages and pages of stuff regarding questions about who Victor was, where Tess worked at certain times and so on and so on, none of which had any real relevance to the plot or central idea. I know that Lottie Moggach is trying to convey the immense intricacy and detail needed, but it's not really a spectator sport. Things picked up a bit after page 150, but there were still considerable longeurs and I thought the book could have done with being at least 100 pages shorter.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A chilling debut novel
I had seen this been out and about for a long time and kept hearing things about it. When I received it from the publisher I was doing back flips! I couldn't wait to begin it! Read more
Published 1 day ago by mrsb2011
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Written
This is an excellent debut novel and I hope the
author keeps up the same high standard. Felt really
sorry for the main character, but also will make sure
I know who... Read more
Published 8 days ago by avid reader
4.0 out of 5 stars This is an excellent book
The subject is definitely unusual, but in my opinion that's a bonus. I will be reading more by this author as soon as it's available
Published 14 days ago by S. wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
If I could recommend one book I've read so far this year it would be this one. It's well written and has a story that keeps you interested all the way through. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Ms. R. Mcmurdo
2.0 out of 5 stars Another overhyped book
The more this progressed, the more outlandish the plot became, not to mention the unsatisfactory ending - beyond absurd is putting it mildly! Read more
Published 20 days ago by musiclover
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but left me asking questions...(possible spoiler)
This was a really interesting concept for a book, and on the whole I think it works well...Leila is just about on the right side of annoying to want to hear her story but I did... Read more
Published 21 days ago by Jadi
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
An unusual and gripping story about a young woman who agrees to take over another woman's life so she can commit suicide without hurting her family. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Claire E
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Arresting prose, unusual story, readable and engrossing. This is really worth a go from this new writer who is a chip off the old block and more.
Published 1 month ago by Stormdog
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!!
Kiss Me First - this is Lottie Moggach's first book and her critics don't do her justice. This book addresses two very sensitive issues, suicide and autism. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Caza
3.0 out of 5 stars Three starts for the novel idea
I completed the book in order to find out what happens at the end-and it was a new story with a twist. The sad thing is that in today's Society it could well be going on now. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Susie N.
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