Posted 20 hours ago

Six Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did)

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Penny and Tate’s POVs were incredibly distinctive, and the flashbacks granted me an inside into why Penny and Tate were feeling what they were feeling. There is a lot of grief and loss to wade through, especially as it manifests so differently for so many people; and these characters are no exception. Penny and Tate are both very full characters with rich histories and complicated relationships with each other, with their mothers, and with their circumstances. I definitely recommend checking this one out if you’re looking for a sapphic YA romance that also deals with family trauma.

Sharpe alludes to it in her author's note, but structurally having the narrative hop around based on reliving the "6 Times" was at times difficult to follow and made the timeline feel a bit messy. It's a rare book indeed that manages to instill so much compassion and nuance into its exploration of weighty topics like grief and trauma while also creating an incredibly dreamy romance for the ages. Ones that aren't mentioned: underage drinking, reference to cheating (past, happened to an MC but it wasn't too heavy - an ex cheats on her).although it would be incredibly easy to cast certain characters as either wholly good or wholly bad, this is not what six times we almost kissed does.

Times We Almost Kissed will take you to emotional and really hard places and, to my utter frustration and elation, will make you wait forever to give you any real satisfaction.Penny and Tate have every right to fear love, but ultimately, readers will be rooting for that kiss to finally come because no two protagonists have ever quite deserved that elusive kiss as much as they do. Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did)” by Tess Sharpe is just about as perfect as you can get for a queer young adult romance. Unlike anything I’ve read before… immediate, gripping, incredibly tense, heart-breaking, heart-warming and FUN! Lottie, her mum, got lost in grief when Penny needed her the most, and as such, they have a terrible relationship. There's Penny, who is coping after having lost her beloved father in a terrible way--and then losing her mother to grief as well.

It's a gorgeous yet oft-heartbreaking examination of grief, trauma, mental health, healthcare, friendship, parenting, and more. The message is clear: If a mere child can step up and be an adult when their family needs it, there is no excuse, even grief, that gives a parent a right to check out on their duties. I added this book to my wish list the second I possibly could, and now that I have read it, I will be hyping this up as much as I can. YMMV on this one, but for me, the attempt to have it read like a fanfic, with typical fanfic style writing (lots of asides in brackets, lots of short sentences, each afforded a whole new line) got frustrating after a bit. Fortunately, Tate and Penny are blessed with two absolutely amazing and kind-hearted friends, Remi and Meghan, who step in to help without even being asked.As a result, they both often pressure themselves to play the role their fathers should have in this situation—caring for their mothers and taking care of finances and the household. But when an almost-kiss goes from almost to I am now wearing your lip gloss, Penny and Tate have no choice but to finally face the music … right? Penny and Tate's (first name Gillian, both of their names are awful, haha) mums (Lottie and Anna, respectively) are best friends. The YA genre is off to a strong start in 2023, with Tess Sharpe dropping a heartfelt and adorable love story for the ages.

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