Despite the cute cover and the fanfic-y title, there’s nothing romcom-y or light about this story. It’s all about grief and resilience, about love that should be a given and love that seems unfathomable, about PTSD and character growth, about standing up for yourself and showing up. It’s honest and brave and hard and painful and so so satisfying.
Since their moms are best friends, Tate has always been in Penny’s life but it’s only rather recently that Penny’s feelings for the other girl seem to have shifted from driving her crazy to wanting to kiss her. Both families have had more than their share of pain and grief and the moms have always been there for each other. So it’s not surprising that Penny’s mom would be willing to give part of her liver to Tate’s but the decision carries with it all sorts of contradictory feelings and life-changing arrangements for the two teenagers. Try being seventeen, grieving for the loss of your dad and the distance that put between your mom and you, processing almost kissing someone several times, all while having to live in the same house, across the hall, from the girl you’re obsessed with.
First of all, the audiobook is narrated by the author and my previous experiences of authors narrating their own books weren’t great but this one was excellent. I loved all the characters, how their inner complexities are unveiled progressively, how relatable they all feel. At seventeen, both MCs have already gone through a lot of drama yet are so sweet and full of life and plans for the future. The moms are very different but their ride-or-die friendship makes a lot of sense. Penny’s mom is hardened by the pain weighing her down and it makes her hard to love but it also makes her relatable, and I love the way the author wrote her relationships with both her daughter and her mother-in-law. The grandmother is awesome, but again, not in a too-good-to-be-true way. Same for the MCs’ best friends.
Prepare yourself for a very emotional ride with this book that will make the happy ending feel even better.
Listen to 6 Times We Almost Kissed:
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