Kissed by Kimberly Loth
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Synopsis (via Goodreads)
Trapped in a dark cult, sixteen-year-old Naomi Aren has lived a quiet, albeit unhappy, life nestled deep in the hills of the Ozarks. With uncut hair, denim skirts, and only roses for friends, Naomi seldom questions why her life is different from other kids at school. Until the day her abusive father, who is also the cult’s leader, announces her wedding. Naomi must marry Dwayne Yerdin, a bully who reeks of sweat and manure and is the only one person who scares her worse than her father.
Then she meets Kai, the mysterious boy who brings her exotic new roses and stolen midnight kisses. Kisses that bring her a supernatural strength she never knew she had. As the big day approaches, Naomi unearths more secrets about her father’s cult. She learns she has power of her own and while Kai may have awakened that power, Naomi must find a way to use it to escape Dwayne and her father—without destroying herself.
This book! I wanted to like it, but it didn't make it easy. The story was contrite and confusing to say the least and it felt like it didn't know whether it was coming or going. It wasn't until the last third of the book that it developed some form of context and I actually became interested! I'm all for dropping in clues, in fact it's kind of important. There's nothing better than that moment where the reader puts it all together - it's really something kind of special! But by the second third of this book I was so confused I need someone to tell me what the fudge was happening. It was almost as if the author didn't even know where she was taking it until she got there and 'there' came about 100 pages too late.
So this is the story - and I am going to drop a couple of spoilers because quite frankly, I wish someone had told me what was going on. Naomi is a sixteen-year-old girl with a love for roses. Her roses keep her sane in the cruel and dangerous world she lives in. The story is set in present day America - which you don't realise until about chapter 4. Naomi and her family are part of a white fundamentalist cult (I think) where the smallest of things will get you beaten or worse.
Then one day something changes. A stranger begins to come into her room at night. She never opens her eyes but she knows he's there and every night he kisses her. His name? Kai. His kisses give her the strength to fight back and that's when her world starts to crumble. She gets taken away from her family but will she be able to stay safe? Or will they find her?
I think the first thing you need to know is that this is a paranormal/fantasy book. I didn't realise this until about half way through. Maybe I was just being a little dense but in truth I honestly don't think it was that clear. The first half and the second half felt like two completely different books - I wouldn't read the first ever again. You might be able to convince me with the second - although there was nothing I hadn't read before.
The only redeeming quality of this book was Naomi. In the beginning she's the fragile creation of her parents torment but as the book develops she gains this strength and is able to find her own identity - even if that identity does have green hair and will let complete strangers kiss her in the middle of the night. She isn't perfect but she doesn't hold back and she did the best with what she had, even if some of those things were a little awkward.
Actually scratch that! Naomi wasn't the only good thing about this book. I did like how Loth didn't hold back when it came to the harder aspects of the book. It was gritty and heartbreaking at times. It painted a picture of a life-style I hope not too many people have to live through. Loth can create a vivid picture, I just wish it was a coherent one.
Overall it was an okay book. I might pick up the second one when it comes out because as I said, it picked up towards the end and I would be interested to know where the stories going. But at the same time I would be worried that it would be just as randomly put together as this one. I guess I'll have to wait and see.
**I received this book as an ARC from the author and YA Bound Book Tours to read and review. This is a 100% honest review**