A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Actual Rating: No.


*Note: This review contains an enormous dose of sarcasm. Read at your own risk.*

This is, quite possibly, one of the worst books I’ve ever read.

Let’s start with the synopsis anyways. When they were little, Rune Kristiansen and Poppy Litchfield became best friends and lovers. Then Rune is forced to move away, and what he had with Poppy is torn apart – but they each hold on to one another, because everyone knows that love overcomes all odds. And yet, Poppy suddenly cuts Rune out of her life, and everything he’s ever believed in is destroyed. But the truth comes out, and nothing can prepare Rune for the heartache he must endure.

The official synopsis describes this book as “a stand-alone young adult tearjerker romance”. My dear friends, I heartily disagree. I shed a total of negative twelve tears. In fact, all I felt was exasperation and irritation throughout this entire novel.

Why? Allow me to retell the story in my own words.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD.

Fetus Rune moves into the neighborhood and meets Fetus Poppy. They’re adorable.
Poppy’s “Mamaw” dies and leaves her with a jar, where Poppy is supposed to write down one thousand of her precious kisses.
Poppy is sad over the death, and Rune comforts her, which results in the smooching of two eight-year-olds.

Now, at this point, I thought Rune and Poppy were a little cheesy, but still cute, considering how young and innocent they were. This is about to change very soon.

At age fifteen, Rune and Poppy are still going strong and couldn’t be more in love.
Oh no! Rune must move away and everyone is heartbroken. Rune yells at his parents about how much he hates them for ruining his life and ripping him away from Poppy, who is obviously the only thing worth living for.
Rune is also violent and throws a lamp across the room.
Rune and Poppy do “it” because they are so in love.
Rune leaves and everybody cries.

Now, the real issue is about to begin.
Rune and Poppy are doing fine – until she vanishes from his life completely.

BOOM! Two years later and Rune is coming back. Everyone panics.
Rune is a different person. He now smokes, doesn’t smile or talk, and is a bad ass.
But Rune and Poppy still have hidden undying love for one another (of course).
Drama ensues.

Oh my goodness!
Poppy has cancer. Rune is devastated.
They want to make the most of their last moments.
Romance, romance, and romance.

Blah, blah, blah. She dies.
And she leaves Rune with a jar of his own.

Whew, that was quite a mouthful.
Anyways, I know I’m being super duper sarcastic in all this, but I simply cannot wrap my head around how absolutely ridiculous this story is. In terms of plot, I’m sure you’ve all seen how I feel about it, but just to provide some more commentary: this book uses all the cliches there are: dead family, bad boys, drama, cancer, childhood friends, romantic dates, broken promises, and of course, pre-marital sex. It feels like a gazillion plot devices bunched up into one mess.

And although I’m talking about plot here, I can’t help but feel like it was just a bunch of scenes thoughtlessly thrown together – the book felt like scene after scene of either cheesy lines or teen angst.

A good story needs all its ups and downs, and for me, A Thousand Boy Kisses was a book that constantly tried to be exciting and heartbreaking and ended up failing at both.

And as for the characters, there was definitely a lack of development as well. While I have seen this arc done before: Character is broken, never wants to open up again – but it was just not well done in this story. All the characters felt detached and shallow, and it seemed like the only thing we ever learn about them was that they were practically overflowing with love.

I feel as though the writing style contributed to this as well. While the writing wasn’t awful, it wasn’t good, and I felt like a lot of it was telling, not showing.

Not to mention the amount of purple prose.
Now, I have absolutely nothing against this flamboyant style – in fact, I try to write in a kind of purpley tone myself. But I do think that there needs to be a balance, and when every other paragraph contains sappy dialogue and quotes about love and life, the story stops being romantic and memorable, and it starts being annoying and tiring.

Alright then. I can’t help but feel like I haven’t said everything and that I have so much more to say. But if I keep going I’ll go on another few rants, so I better stop myself right here.


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