Today I am one of the stops kicking off the tour for the latest book by Tess Sharpe.
6 Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did)
Six moments lead us to two girls, one kiss, and three little words that were maybe always true in this gorgeous novel perfect for fans of Nina LaCour and Jenny Han.
Penny and Tate have always clashed. Unfortunately, their mothers are lifelong best friends, so the girls’ bickering has carried them through playdates, tragedy, and more than one rom-com marathon with the Moms. When Penny’s mother decides to become a living donor to Tate’s mom, ending her wait for a liver transplant, things go from clashing to cataclysmic. Because in order to help their families recover physically, emotionally, and financially, the Moms combine their households the summer before senior year.
So Penny and Tate make a pact: They’ll play nice. Be the drama-free daughters their mothers need through this scary and hopeful time. There’s only one little hitch in their plan: Penny and Tate keep almost kissing.
It’s just this confusing thing that keeps happening. You know, from time to time. For basically their entire teenaged existence.
They’ve never talked about it. They’ve always ignored it in the aftermath. But now they’re living across the hall from each other. And some things—like their kisses—can’t be almosts forever.
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I’m not going to lie when I saw the cover and read the description of 6 Times… I thought it sounded just ok, but the last book that I read by Tess Sharpe I loved, so even though this seemed like it was going to be very lighthearted and romantic and very different to the book I had previously read by her, I still wanted to give it a try. I have to say I have never been so glad to have been slightly misled by a blurb, this book is so much more than what I perceived it to be, and precisely the kind of brilliant story that I would expect from this author.
I can openly say that I was an emotional train wreck reading this book, some of the things that happen left me devastated, honestly, there were tears, and then there would be a moment between Penny and Tate and I would be back at the joyful happy place. This story is more than a kind of enemies-to-lovers romance, it is an exploration of the relationships between the girls and their mothers, it deals with trauma and grief and two families struggling with the difficult hands that they have been dealt, but still supporting each other. Don’t get me wrong though whilst there are some heavy topics covered in this story, it is also heart-warming and there was a lot that made me smile.
In the first few chapters, I found it difficult to understand the way Penny and Tate acted toward each other and wasn’t sure if I would be convinced that there was a spark between them. As the story progressed though and we got to jump back to the moments of the almost kisses and get to know both of them a little better, it became clear to see and I definitely got the little butterflies every time they got a little closer. It is a slow-burn romance but in the best way because the build-up was exquisite, we get time to know more about the characters, to see how their feelings develop and to experience all of the awkward tension in between moments and when they have to live together.
Whilst it made me feel very emotional, I really enjoyed reading about the relationships between the mothers and daughters. I liked that they were so different and not always smooth sailing, it added an interesting contrast to the story to see how Anna and Lottie were with each other and how they were around their girls. I loved Marion, Penny’s gran, because she treated Tate like she was also a granddaughter and was like a guiding hand for all of them whilst occasionally being a bit stubborn and sassy.
6 Times We Almost Kissed is beautifully crafted, heart-breaking and mesmerising in equal measure, with characters that I adore, and I would highly recommend reading it.
Born in a mountain cabin to a punk-rocker mother, Tess Sharpe grew up in rural northern California. She lives deep in the backwoods with a pack of dogs and a growing colony of formerly feral cats. She is the author of Barbed Wire Heart, the critically acclaimed YA novel Far From You and the upcoming Jurassic World prequel, The Evolution of Claire.
She is also the co-editor of Toil & Trouble, a feminist anthology about witches. Her short fiction has been featured in All Out, an anthology edited by Saundra Mitchell.
Tess is represented by Jim McCarthy at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret Literary Management. Please send all rights inquiries and blurb requests to Jim.
To see the other hosts and follow the tour, click here.
Reviews of other books by Tess Sharpe
The Girls I’ve Been