I Kissed Shara Wheeler

Title: I Kissed Shara Wheeler

Author: Casey McQuiston

Series: N/A

Publication Date: May 3, 2022

Format: E-Book

Genre: Young Adult

Sub Genre(s): Romance, LGBTQ+, Mystery


Summary: Chloe Green is so close to winning. After her moms moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, she’s spent the past four years dodging gossipy classmates and a puritanical administration at Willowgrove Christian Academy. The thing that’s kept her going: winning valedictorian. Her only rival: prom queen Shara Wheeler, the principal’s perfect progeny.

But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes.

On a furious hunt for answers, Chloe discovers she’s not the only one Shara kissed. There’s also Smith, Shara’s longtime quarterback sweetheart, and Rory, Shara’s bad boy neighbor with a crush. The three have nothing in common except Shara and the annoyingly cryptic notes she left behind, but together they must untangle Shara’s trail of clues and find her. It’ll be worth it, if Chloe can drag Shara back before graduation to beat her fair-and-square.

Thrown into an unlikely alliance, chasing a ghost through parties, break-ins, puzzles, and secrets revealed on monogrammed stationery, Chloe starts to suspect there might be more to this small town than she thought. And maybe—probably not, but maybe—more to Shara, too.-From Goodreads


What I Liked: It appears Casey McQuiston can’t miss. This is her third release in as many years (although this is her first for young adults) and each one has been unique, complex, and entertaining. While I am not the intended audience for this book, the emotions in the story are universal and will appeal to anyone, especially those that are questioning their identity or their place in the world. I don’t know if this is a trend, or I happen to have picked up a few of these stores in a row but I am HERE for books featuring mean girls (or are they?) and showing different sides of their personalities. And showing that they deserve love too! Perfect protagonists are getting old, and McQuiston has created intriguing, realistic, imperfect characters. Like her previous books, one of the best aspects of this story is the theme of found family and the relationship between Chloe, Smith, and Rory is such a beautiful part of this book. Honestly, the main story could have been about anything and I would have read it as long as their relationship stayed the same.

What I Didn’t Like: All of McQuiston’s books seem to drop the reader right into the action, which can sometimes feel disorientating. It took me some time to familiarize myself with what was going on and who the characters were and who they were to each other. I also found the mystery itself to be a bit confusing and not in a good way. I didn’t see the point behind Shara’s letters because I didn’t understand the connections between the characters until further into the story.

Who Should Read It: Any teen or young adult will find something to like about this book, but adults will enjoy this one as well. Fans of McQuiston’s previous books will not be disappointed.

Review Wrap Up: I had high expectations for this one based on McQuiston’s previous books, and I was not let down. This story isn’t just about identity, it’s about ambition, internalized hate, and religious trauma. It’s a story about finding love in unexpected places and opening your heart to someone even though it can be scary. It’s a story about how people can let you down and how people can surprise you. It’s a story about being unapologetically yourself. This book filled my heart with joy and I love that these are the kinds of stories teens and young adults are reading and having access to.

Favorite Quote: “It’s not much—Chloe knows this. It’s just car windows rolled down, the blue-and-white glow of a Walmart in the distance, the smell of wet pavement under the tires, the hum of neon from a passing Dairy Queen, the same radio station as always blasting a rotation of the same fifteen songs. But she thinks she’s starting to understand what it means to be from here, because she could swear the bright red burn of artificial cherry is the best thing she’s ever tasted. She leans out into the wind and tips her head back, opening her eyes to the stars, and thinks maybe everything in the world really can fit inside False Beach city limits. Shara has that effect.”


thespinsterlibrarian

*Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for and ARC in exchange for an honest review*

One Last Stop

For those that read Casey McQuiston’s first book “Red, White, and Royal Blue” and loved it just like me, you may have been worried that her follow up wouldn’t capture the charm and joy and romance of that story. Fear not.  If anything, “One Last Stop” manages to take everything I loved about that first book and take it one step further, showing McQuiston’s growth as an author and her understanding of people’s relationships with romantic partners as well as friends and family.  I read this book with a smile on my face the entire time and I think everyone will enjoy this one.

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I first heard of this book from a book club friend whose tastes and recommendations I trust so I added it to my TBR pile where it was destined to sit for weeks and months like every other unfortunate book that winds up there.  But then I was looking for a quick, fun, read to get me out of a reading slump so I started scrolling through my Goodreads to see which book would help me.  This book was the perfect slump buster, a terrific blend of mystery, puzzles, and overall entertainment I was looking for and I cannot wait to read the second in the series.  Don’t let the young adult tag deter you, this is a delightful book that adults with imagination will enjoy.

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The Dime

During pride month, I was working on a list of mysteries and thrillers with LGBTQ+ protagonists for my library. I was pleased to find that more and more authors are choosing to tell stories with diverse characters but there is still a lack of mysteries with gay characters. While I meant to read this book in June, I’m glad I decided to give it a try as I ended up liking it and I am looking forward to reading the second in the series.

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A Lesson in Thorns

I said in a previous post that Sierra Simone is quickly becoming my go to author for erotica but my issues with the last series of hers that I read almost stopped me from picking this book up.  It is the first book in a series that is still being published so I decided to take my chances.  Like the first book in the “New Camelot Trilogy,” this book is a great start…I just hope the quality continues.

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Where The Crawdads Sing

This book has been EVERYWHERE recently and its popularity seems to have come out of nowhere.  It has appeared on a bunch of best of lists and has been the pick for numerous book clubs.  My library currently has 30 people waiting to get their hands on this book so the hype isn’t going anywhere.  I usually steer clear of books that are popular just because they are but I had heard good things about this one.  I am so glad I read this book because it was a beautiful, haunting read and I can’t recommend it enough.

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The Lost Girls of Paris

Historical fiction is a genre that I don’t normally read.  I have found that I prefer reading about the actual history event as opposed to a fictionalized telling of it.  There are exceptions to this of course but I struggle to find historical fiction books that I love.  This book hasn’t changed my mind on the genre but I did enjoy the mystery of the story and the writing was well done.

Continue reading “The Lost Girls of Paris”

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