Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
'Leila knows more about Tess than anyone else in the world. But not even Leila knows what really happened to Tess . . .
A sheltered young woman raised by a single mother, Leila often struggled to connect with the girls at school. On an internet community for philosophical and ethical debate, she finally comes into her own, and is flattered when the website’s brilliant, charismatic founder invites her to be part of Project Tess. Communicating only through online channels, Leila immerses herself in Tess’s world. She must learn every detail about this other woman’s life: her mother’s birthday, her favorite songs, her best friends, her first kiss. Because soon, Leila will have to become her. And Tess will disappear.'
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!
Although the genre of the book is in the contemporary adult area, I would have said it crosses over in the YA genre, due to the subject nature of the internet and how a young person can connect to Leila. Many young people spend a lot of time on the internet and this book also carries a message about who you are talking to online.
This book covers a lot of different themes, all of which seem to be quite challenging to write about and read about, suicide, eating disorders, confidence issues, identity theft and obsession to name a few. With all those themes in a book you think it would not be a great read but they are covered well and I was thoroughly surprised at how well Lottie Moggach covers them. For a debut novel I thought it was very brave as she was taking a huge risk writing about all these sensitive themes but it is clear she has researched well and has not turned the book into something depressing or unattractive to read.
Leila spends most of her time on the internet, she doesn't have 'real' friends and is a bit of a hermit. She stumbles across a forum called Red Pill, this discusses philosophical ideas and after her mother died from MS she has developed strong views that people should be allowed to choose to die. Not long after joining the creator of the site contacts her with a project he thinks she may be interested in. Leila meets with the creator - Adrian to discuss this project, Tess wants to end her life but doesn't want her friends and family to suffer because of it. She is looking to pay someone to 'pose' as her online for the next 6 months to slip away unnoticed.
Through the book Leila begins communicating with Tess day after day learning more about her life and how to 'be' Tess. Before long time is up and it is time for Tess to leave, Leila has created a whole new life for her and for her friends and family to believe, posing as her on facebook and replying to emails. One day Leila/Tess receive an email from someone she has no information on Connor. Over the next few weeks Leila develops a relationship with him online as Tess.
I felt sorry for Leila, a young woman without friends, without the confidence to find any and recently lost her mother. She spends day in, day out in her room and doesn't leave the house for days, she doesn't even see her house mate. However as the story goes on Leila begins to develop an obsession for Connor an unhealthy obsession and gets so involved in being Tess. She also can be naive in the way she is thinking, if she thinks something it has to be the right thing and doesn't consider others opinions and see the way things are.
I feel the identify theft online is a relevant one, in today's age everyone is online, we take it for face value we are talking to who they say they are, but how do we really know? This leaves a chilling feeling with you as it makes you question if who you are talking to is who you think they are. It also makes you think about all your 'facebook friends' and how well you know them. What if someone was posing as them? You wouldn't know, you trust them to be who you know...
I whizzed through this book, it kept me entertained and wanting to find out what was going to be happening next. I loved the ending, however I felt it could have been a page shorter - I know, only a page but if you read it you may agree. I felt like I didn't need the last page of information. I loved the way it ended other than that, there were some questions unanswered but I enjoyed that aspect of the book.
Overall I feel that this book was an interesting read, like nothing I had read before but written well and kept me engaged. It covered many 'tricky' topics that were written well. I would recommend this book to anyone who goes online as it questions your thoughts. This book has stayed with me long after I finished it. I am looking forward to seeing what Lottie Moggach writes next.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending me this book to read.
Buy your copy here - bookdepository.com