The Nostalgic Book Review Tag is a new and fun tag created by CW @ Read, Think, Ponder. I was also tagged by her (thank you so much!). The idea of the tag is that you review a book from memory that you read over 3 years ago, because it’s not always the details of the plot that you remember. It’s the feelings that the book evoked that stick with you for a long time.
Here is my summary of the guidelines (you can check out the original guidelines and prompts here):
- Summary: Provide a summary of the book, including approximately when you read it, without consulting Google or the book itself.
- Thoughts: Share your thoughts on the book, from memory
- Epilogue: Look up a summary of the book and share your thoughts on what you did or didn’t remember/current feelings about the book.
- Please link back to Read, Think, Ponder’s post, so that the original rules are always accessible to anyone who is curious and wants to participate!
- Do not look up the book when writing its summary and your thoughts.
- Acknowledge the person who tagged you in your post.
- Tag your friends and fellow bloggers – it’s up to you how many!
French Kiss by Sarra Manning
French Kiss is the first book in the Diary of a Crush trilogy. I first discovered this book and Sarra Manning when I was 13 years old, wandering around the YA section of my library. It was the first YA book that I remember reading so I wanted to feature it today. I was so obsessed with this whole series that I borrowed and renewed it about 10 times, before finally caving and buying my own copies (I saved my pocket money for a very long time for these books).
Because I read this such a long time ago, and I haven’t reread it in the last… 6-7 years, I don’t really remember much. I also remember the other two books a bit more vividly than this first one. I’ll post the official blurb of the book down below in the epilogue section.
French Kiss follows a 16 year old girl named Edie as she falls in love with an older guy called Dylan. Edie is kind of your average girl who is trying to figure out who she is. She starts taking a photography class at the local college and in that class she meets Dylan who is an art student. She pretty much falls in love with him at first sight. They somehow get paired up to do a photography assignment together and end up kissing. However, Dylan is the moody type so they end up making out one minute and hating each other the next. Things get more complicated when Edie gets a boyfriend (I think his name is Paul?) but continues her weird, volatile relationship with Dylan. I think Dylan also has a girlfriend. There is also a trip to Paris involved (I can’t remember why) and there’s more making out.
As the name of the trilogy suggests, the book is formatted as a series of diary entries. These entries don’t contain any unnecessary information about Edie’s life. It pretty much only focuses on Dylan-related things.
When I first read this book, I absolutely loved it. It was one of my favourite books to read. I remember really loving the romance and wanting my own Dylan. I think I was at that age where I was just properly discovering romance so I wanted my own relationship that was just like Edie and Dylan’s. Thinking about it now, their relationship is definitely not ideal. I want to be respected and not be involved in such a hot and cold relationship, where I’d just feel kind of used. But back then, I thought it was super romantic. If I read it now, I might’ve still liked Dylan. I don’t know… it’s hard to think objectively when I spent so many of my early teenage years wanting someone just like Dylan. (Of course, these thoughts are all based on my memories of the book and it’s highly likely that these memories are false).
If I had read this book for the first time now, as a 20-something year old, I definitely wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much. I’ve since read a lot of really moving contemporaries that deal with serious themes, and I don’t think French Kiss would quite compare. I would probably still read it if I was in the mood for an easy, fluffy romance, but I might be a little bit old for it now.
Having said that, this book was very important in my reading history because it really made me want to go out and discover more books. It opened the door to YA for me. Before that, I was reading the Mary-Kate and Ashley books… After reading the Diary of a Crush books, I discovered a lot of amazing YA books in my local library and it fostered my love of reading.
New town, new college, new people – Edie’s feeling overwhelmed. What if nobody wants to be her friend? But on her second day something happens that turns her life upside down: Edie spots Dylan. Messy-haired, pouty, frustratingly elusive Dylan. It’s love at first sight!
Fast forward to the college trip to Paris, and things are really hotting up. In between the shopping, the clubbing, the kissing and the making up, something happens that changes both their lives for ever…But do toxic boys like Dylan ever play for keeps?
I think my summary of the book was mostly accurate. Except Edie’s boyfriend is Josh, not Paul. I probably forgot his name because I never wanted him to be with Edie. The Paris trip actually took up more than half of the book, but I remembered it to be a lot less than that. I also forgot about a friend that Edie makes in the book. I think I was so focused on the romance when I was a 13 year old that I kind of overlooked the friendship elements in the book.
From my quick skim over the book, I underestimated the amount of character development in it. Again, I think I was so focused on the romance and the story that I wasn’t really paying attention to what the characters were learning. I think I can definitely appreciate it more now.
I don’t know if I would like it as much if I read it now but I would still think about it favourably. It would be too hard for me to distance myself from all the feelings I had as a little girl. I’m actually quite keen to reread all three of the Diary of a Crush books. I’d be able to appreciate the story and character development more. There are probably bits of humour in it that I would better understand now too.
Sorry this is so rambly. Maybe I’ll update this post after I’ve reread the book.