Hi Everyone and happy May!
This month seems to be absolutely packed with new releases and I couldn't be more excited. This book though has definitely been one of my most anticipated reads of the year and I'm so grateful to get the chance to read an ARC of it. I've absolutely loved Casey's first two books and this YA debut is no exception to the others. I may have even shed a couple tears at some point. So before I continue rambling too much here's my review of I Kissed Shara Wheeler!
I feel like I can’t even begin to put into words how much I loved this book.
There’s something about the way Casey writes her stories and her characters that makes me feels so connected to them and makes me feel seen in a way I don’t always feel with other books. I think that’s what makes RW&RB so special to me, because I can see parts of myself in the characters and often easily relate to things they go through, and it’s exactly the same with the IKSW characters.
I had so much fun reading everything that Chloe, Smith and Rory got into while trying to figure out why Shara mysteriously disappeared after kissing both Chloe and Rory. It was so entertaining to see just how invested Chloe got in finding Shara, even after Smith and Rory stopped being as involved. And I thought the mystery aspect was so much fun. I loved the obviousness that finding Shara was never just about who was going to be valedictorian to Chloe. Nobody works that hard to find a missing person just so the chances of winning valedictorian were truly fair, right?
I thought Casey did an excellent job at finding the right balance of deeper and more emotional content as well as the fun lighthearted content. It made the story flow really nicely and kept me interested the entire time.
I can’t do this review without mentioning two of my most favourite moments from the book. The first one was mid-book when one of the character asks another character about being nonbinary which sparks a whole conversation about it between the two, and I absolutely LOVE the way the character explains being nonbinary. I also loved seeing the shift in one of the characters as they began to process things they hadn’t let themselves think about before.
The other moment was the speech that Chloe’s mom gives one of the characters about it being okay to leave your hometown and that the place you grow up isn’t the whole world. She explains that it’s okay to leave if you have to be something besides who you really want to be. “You’re allowed to exist” is honestly one of my favourite quotes ever.
I couldn’t have asked for a better YA debut from Casey, and I’m honestly just so glad this book exist.
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for the arc
Until Next Time,