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Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach

Kiss Me First

by Lottie Moggach

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2401972,848 (3.46)10



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English (17)  German (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
3.5 stars, really, but I can't bring myself to round up.

This book was pleasant enough for an afternoon's read, but I felt myself let down after I'd finished it. I really feel like this book could have been a lot darker and more dangerous, and while Moggach often skirted along the idea of worse things happening, nothing ever came to fruition. It's a shame, because Lelia is such a dark character -- antisocial, brainwashed, no capacity for regret or empathy, obsessive, and she's an "angel of mercy", due to murdering her mother (who was suffering from MS), so that also makes her a hypocrite, after all of those times she says people should have agency over their own bodies.

Lelia's character had the opportunity to go to some really dark places -- as did the character of Tess and their combined story -- but it just sort of fizzled out in the end. ( )
  majesdane | Aug 8, 2017 |
Kiss Me First, a debut novel by Lottie Moggach, is a creative and surprising story with a wonderfully original plot about two, very different women:

Leila, young, intelligent, yet fiercely logical, and somewhat sheltered in her experiences that she not only considers herself a social outcast, but is attracted to and driven to the isolation and comfort of the online forums hosted by an addictive, philosophical website called Red Pill.

And Tess, a vibrant, charismatic woman whose hunger for attention only temporarily masks her need for solitude and anonymity, who experiences the severity of both mood-changing symptoms as a result of the extremity found in those with bipolar disorder.

While one woman’s life is too emotionally buoyant that she decides the only way to cope is to commit suicide, another woman’s life is so isolated that she not only considers herself insignificant, but she also seriously considers taking on another person’s identity entirely.

The two women literally connect through the Internet to devise a plan, which suits both their different needs, and in doing so, test the boundaries of what is considered to be morally correct.

The first-person narrative easily reveals the dichotomy of the two women while its readability makes the mysterious plot not only believable, but also well-paced and engaging.

Readers engage the narrative as their own, fully immersing themselves in the characters’ neurosis, empathizing with the realism in which the work is written.

For a debut novel, the writing is convincing: both distinct voices reveal the neurosis the characters inhabit, it reveals the inner workings of bipolar disorder, and the danger of the role technology continues to play in our lives, in how people can prefer to hide or create virtual realities for themselves instead of fully participating in the real world.

While the characters are interesting enough, it’s the creative plot that will reel its readers in—and then twist them about in surprise, from its trip to disease and hospital, to an apartment above an Indian restaurant, to a freestyle commune, the virtual philosophies of Red Pill, to the head space of an online, intimate, and secret romance.

* To read the rest of the book review, you're more than welcome to visit my book blog, The Bibliotaphe Closet:


Zara ( )
  ZaraD.Garcia-Alvarez | Jun 6, 2017 |
A socially awkward young women is approached by the charismatic founder of an internet discussion forum she frequents with an unusual proposition: that she take on the job of impersonating online another woman who wants to commit suicide, but doesn't want her friends and family to know she's dead.

Basically, this is the story of a bunch of dysfunctional people, all of whom are doing things that are so clearly not a good idea that you just want to reach through the pages and shake them. Especially the protagonist, Leila, who is a painful -- but, I think, believable -- combination of intelligent, clueless, sympathetic, and creepy. Watching the story play out is very much like watching a slow-motion train wreck, with the same can't-look-away fascination. One could argue that the ending doesn't provide nearly enough closure, but I think it worked for me just fine. ( )
1 vote bragan | Aug 26, 2016 |
An interesting and intriguing concept marred by slow pacing - the first and last thirds of the book hold all the interest and momentum. It didn’t slow so much that I stopped reading in the middle, but I did notice the difference. A lot of it is the minute detail of Tess’s fake life; Leila’s fantasy life - there’s far too much of it and it wasn’t terribly interesting. Ostensibly, Leila disapproves of Tess, mental illness or no, but there’s jealousy at the core.

The book is told after the impersonation ends, and through Leila’s references to the police, you know it doesn’t end well. It puzzled me why she was searching for Tess’s body though and it isn’t explained until the end. Leila herself is puzzling. She’s a weird mix of modern and Victorian. She’s sheltered, yet savvy in some ways. She is ignorant of stuff like the meaning of the phrase “three sheets to the wind” and other stuff that is pretty common knowledge, even if you’re young. She’s oddly backwards, referring to women’s breast as bosoms, and is continually surprised by the hostility she receives once her role is revealed. Her whole infatuation with Connor was cringe-worthy. Luckily the book was interesting and I didn’t mind that she was mildly repulsive.

Adrian is a mystery that is never adequately solved and I was immediately suspicious of him, but for different reasons that what we find out about him later. Also never solved is Tess’s ultimate fate. There are hints and possibilities, both of them as plausible as the other, but it’s open-ended. Not a total downer though and there’s hope for Leila, but somehow I don’t know if it will take. ( )
1 vote Bookmarque | Oct 17, 2015 |
Great debut for Moggach - lots of twists. ( )
  olegalCA | Dec 9, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385537476, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:03 -0400)

Leila, a sheltered young misfit, discovers an online chat forum where she feels accepted and falls under the spell of the website's charismatic founder, who entices her into assuming the stolen identity of a glamorous but desperate woman.

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