Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Book Review: Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach

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Description from Good Reads
A chilling and intense first novel, the story of a solitary young woman drawn into an online world run by a charismatic web guru who entices her into impersonating a glamorous but desperate woman.

When Leila discovers the Web site Red Pill, she feels she has finally found people who understand her. A sheltered young woman raised by her mother, Leila has often struggled to connect with the girls at school; but on Red Pill, a chat forum for ethical debate, Leila comes into her own, impressing the Web site's founder, a brilliant and elusive man named Adrian. Leila is thrilled when Adrian asks to meet her, flattered when he invites her to be part of "Project Tess." Tess is a woman Leila might never have met in real life. She is beautiful, urbane, witty, and damaged. As they e-mail, chat, and Skype, Leila becomes enveloped in the world of Tess, learning every single thing she can about this other woman—because soon, Leila will have to become her. An ingeniously plotted novel of stolen identity, Kiss Me First is brilliantly frightening about the lies we tell—to ourselves, to others, for good, and for ill.

My Review
I really liked the premise of this book- "loner" girl finds a connection with an online community, then the owner of said community provide her the opportunity to "take over" another's life. I think that's where the misunderstanding began- I thought by taking over her life, she would literally be becoming her, but that's not at all what happened.

Leila's mother passes away after a long battle with MS. She is then on her own, doing web work for a relative when she stumbles across the site Red Pill. Red Pill is full of other members much like Leila, and is full of lively debates. She feels at home there. Then, the owner of the site, Adrian, reaches out to Leila to discuss Project Tess. 
Project Tess is not becoming Tess, but rather, allowing this woman to run off and kill herself in peace, while Leila impersonates her online so as not to alert her family to the fact that she is missing. She is offered an amount of money that it will take her to live on, just barely, as this will quickly become her only job. 

Tess is not a likeable person. I am not sure if I was supposed to feel sorry for her, since she wanted to kill herself, but I didn't. It's not that she's  a horrible person, I just felt no remorse for her knowing that she would be offing herself. 
To be truthful, I thought Adrian was a scumbag, even before the discoveries of who he is later in the book. I really didn't even like Leila, but she is one of those "unlikeable" characters. Much like Lisabeth Lysander from the Girl with a Dragon Tattoo novels, but with no real moral compass, and nothing to empathize with her about. Sure, I felt sorry for her for having to handle her mother's illness, but overall, I just thought of her as sad, and lonely. 

The book is written in a way that suggests Leila is writing to someone, but unless I missed something, it is never really clear who she is writing to. And when everything Adrian did comes to fruition  and Leila is in danger, I never once felt scared for her. I stopped turning pages at the precise moment I should've been trying to get through the book faster to find resolution. And it took me quite a while to finish this book, because I didn't really care where it concluded.

This is a book without any real resolution to it- you're left to make your own assumptions and draw your own conclusions on the lives of Adrian, Tess, and Leila herself.

I gave this book three stars on Good Reads. For the first 100 pages or so, I was flying through this book because the set up was so exciting. But the execution was lacking. 

You can purchase a physical copy of this book here , and a Kindle copy of the book here .

FTC: I borrowed this book from my local library. 
This book does contain affiliate links for Amazon.com. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

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