Timothy Janovsky | Never Been Kissed

The Book: 

Never Been Kissed by Timothy Janovsky
Published May 3rd 2022 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date read: April 28, 2022

The Characters: 

Wren and Derick

Buy it on Bookshop.org | Amazon

The Plot (from Goodreads):

Wren Roland has never been kissed, but he wants that movie-perfect ending more than anything. Feeling nostalgic on the eve of his birthday, he sends emails to all the boys he (ahem) loved before he came out. Morning brings the inevitable Oh God What Did I Do?, but he brushes that panic aside. Why stress about it? None of his could-have-beens are actually going to read the emails, much less respond. Right?

Enter Derick Haverford, Wren’s #1 pre-coming-out-crush and his drive-in theater’s new social media intern. Everyone claims he’s coasting on cinematic good looks and his father’s connections, but Wren has always known there’s much more to Derick than meets the eye. Too bad he doesn’t feel the same way about the infamous almost-kiss that once rocked Wren’s world.

Whatever. Wren’s no longer a closeted teenager; he can survive this. But as their hazy summer becomes consumed with a special project that may just save the struggling drive-in for good, Wren and Derick are drawn ever-closer…and maybe, finally, Wren’s dream of a perfect-kiss-before-the-credits is within reach.

The Review: 

Never Been Kissed is a queer take on To All The Boys, and also reminded me somewhat of Felix Ever After. The characters are a little older, and I liked that it felt more adult than YA but still had a nostalgic, young-summer-love feel.

The best part of this book is the lovable characters that you can’t help but root for. Wren was so sweet and funny. I particularly enjoyed his internal discussion as he figured out and grew into his sexuality–this is the part that reminded me of Felix. There was great ace spectrum/demisexual representation and discussion.

The side characters were amazing too–I always love a snarky older person to bring some humor to the page.

There was one thing I thought was missing: didn’t Wren send these emails to more people than Derrick and Matteo? We never saw any other reactions besides theirs, and even Matteo’s was extremely understated. If I sent a love letter to my best friend, there would at least be some extensive teasing about it!

As this is a debut, I am extremely excited to see what else this author writes in the future.

Audio Review: Fun and easy to fly through! Mark Sanderlin is the narrator, and he did a great job of drawing the listener into the story.

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