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Kiss Me First: TV Tie-In Edition Kindle Edition
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Both the (seemingly autistic, certainly very socially awkward and isolated) imposter and the (bi-polar and suicidal) real women were difficult to identify with, and while I felt some sympathy towards both of them, I couldn't bring myself to like them. I also feel as though autism as plot device is becoming far too much of a cliché and an easy plot device. Most of the supporting cast also combined being unlikeable with having depressing lives. I'm generally a fairly cheerful person, but each time I picked this up, by the time I put it down again, I felt quite down myself. I'd definitely avoid this if you're at all depressed.
I could have forgiven the characters and the air of gloom if the plot had had some drama and twists and turns. Surely there had to be more to this bizarre plan than met the eye, some sort of conspiracy or murder mystery or clever twist. But no, with a few bumps along the way, the premise is the entire plot, and it eventually trails off with no real denouement. It's presented as a thriller, but there are few thrills to be had.
Leila isn't the most likeable character, although I found it quite easy to sympathise with her. Kiss Me First begins with almost the ending (if that makes any sense), as Leila finds herself in a commune in Spain, with a photograph of a woman in hand, asking the regulars if they had seen her the year before. Leila's life hasn't been easy - raised only by her mother, she struggles to fit in socially, and after moving out of the family home, she settles in a small flat above an Indian takeaway in a suburb of London, far away from anyone she knows.
It doesn't take long for Leila to retreat further into her own shell, finding work as a software tester, and spending hours playing online games and surfing the internet, she eventually comes across Red Pill. Red Pill isn't the type of website that I would visit, but I can see how it appealed to Leila's nature and how she found the interactions to be pretty addictive.
There's a huge amount to the plot that the synopsis doesn't reveal, but what I can say is that this book spirals - as Leila becomes more and more involved in Red Pill, she also starts to develop inappropriate behaviours and fixations and it's like watching a car crash - I couldn't look away.
Ending a book like this was always going to be a big ask, and although the intensity is pitch-perfect, everything felt a little bit too neat - especially considering everything that had happened to Leila during the course of the book, and it felt to me a little bit like she was being let off the hook for the things she had done.
As a debut, Kiss Me First is pretty damn impressive - it's tense, the plot is unique and unpredicatable, and the characters, although not likeable, are startlingly real. It was only the ending that left me a little bit unsatisfied, but it could definitely work for other readers.
It started so slowly, but I persevered until I was halfway through, when I decided it had wasted enough of my time.
The plot was not really believable.
All I was left with, was thinking :-
(a) how foolishly gullible some people are with strangers on internet sites, and
(b) how ridiculous some people are with the information they freely give out on social networking sites.
I found the main character unlikeable, and the "victim" Tess even more unlikeable.
I was glad to finally decide to shut the book and throw it into the recycle bin.
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I expected 3 separate deliveries and packages as this is what I paid for.