Review: The Kissing Booth

Natalie Bartelt, staff writer

The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles was definitely an interesting read. It tells about a girl named Elle who runs a kissing booth with her best friend, Lee, at their school’s Spring Carnival. She ends up kissing Lee’s older brother, Noah, and decides they have to hide their unofficial relationship from Lee in order to protect his feelings. As they explore whatever is between them, they deal with many obstacles as Elle often gets upset with Noah due to his possessive and angry nature, something I myself found toxic and annoying. The book was written pretty poorly but I can’t say I hated it and, although there are many things that could’ve been better, I liked it. 

If you were to read this novel after watching the Netflix movie that is based on it like I did, you’d probably be a little confused. Almost all of the events in the movie are mixed up and occur at different times than in the book and there are many characters in the novel that are introduced without explanation then never brought up again. The movie hardly sticks to the storyline of the book and adds a lot of its own unique details. This on its own doesn’t make either version bad, but it can be somewhat hard to keep up with at first. 

Something that really bugged me throughout the story was Noah’s possessiveness over Elle. I understand liking the overprotective type, but this was just plain toxic. Noah got mad when other guys did so much as look in Elle’s direction. For example, when Elle went on her first date, Noah was there. The book says, “His eyes flitted past me to Noah, who was giving him the coldest look I’d ever seen. Scary. Threatening.” Things like this were completely unnecessary, especially since it was revealed that Noah had been warning about every guy in the school not to ask her out when they weren’t even together. The story tends to romanticize controlling and jealous partners.

Although I would describe the book as poorly written, the author was fifteen when she wrote it and it was originally uploaded to the story-sharing app Wattpad, therefore it is not fair to judge it as if she had written it as an experienced writer. I think the rewrites by professionals were obvious at times and conversation was always cheesy, but it doesn’t change the fact that it was fun to read and how it portrayed that complicated love story readers love.

In all honesty, I’d found myself cringing after every other chapter but I still got stuck in the book and would definitely recommend it to romance-loving readers. It was a cute story overall, I would just say don’t expect it to be the best novel you’ve ever read.