Never Been Kissed by Melody Carlson will be the first book to make my best fiction of 2011 list. It was a fabulous novel, very well-written, and if I could give it ten stars I honestly would. Not just because it deals with relevant and important topics for young people today, but because it exposes the danger that can come from seemingly small lies. And the pain caused from being harassed by peers.
I loved that the author brought everything full circulate and wrapped up the story with a very satisfying ending. Of course, I can't tell you what happened or it would be a spoiler. I can say that I'd love to see another story about Elise that explores her senior year in high school, since for her the eleventh grade started out as a train wreck.
I loved how the spiritual thread was neatly woven into the story, and it was not overpowering, contrived, or sappy sounding. I loved how realistic the main character's thought were, especially the ones rationalizing her behavior and contemplating ways to get away from the painful situation. The secondary characters were awesome as well. They were very well developed for such a short book.
This is one of the best YA books I've ever read. It seems like the last three YA novels written by Melody Carlson and published by Revell have been fabulous. The other titles were Anything But Normal and Just Another Girl. The author nailed teen thoughts and emotions very well in all three books. While I have to say that I truly adored the other two stories, this one is probably my favorite.
The bottom line for me - Elise was more realistically portrayed than most YA fiction. I loved that the point of view for this story was written in the first person present tense. I empathized with her as a young person and understood her feelings better as a result. Her mother's reaction was harsh, but totally believable. I could see it happening just the way it played out. Honestly, I didn't want to do anything except read this book, which for me isn't good right now due to my own deadlines. But I kept reading. It was that enthralling. I can't wait to see what Melody comes up with for Revell next. I am totally hooked.