ARC Book Review: Never Been Kissed by Timothy Janovsky

Never Been Kissed
Author: Timothy Janovsky
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: M/M Romance 
Released: 05/03/2022
Review Source: ARC | Netgalley

Dear (never-been-quite-over-you) Crush, It's been a few years since we were together, but I can't stop thinking about the time we almost...

Wren Roland has never been kissed, but he wants that movie-perfect ending more than anything. Feeling nostalgic on the eve of his birthday, he sends emails to all the boys he (ahem) loved before he came out. Morning brings the inevitable Oh God What Did I Do?, but he brushes that panic aside. Why stress about it? None of his could-have-beens are actually going to read the emails, much less respond. Right?

Enter Derick Haverford, Wren's #1 pre-coming-out-crush and his drive-in theater's new social media intern. Everyone claims he's coasting on cinematic good looks and his father's connections, but Wren has always known there's much more to Derick than meets the eye. Too bad he doesn't feel the same way about the infamous almost-kiss that once rocked Wren's world.

Whatever. Wren's no longer a closeted teenager; he can survive this. But as their hazy summer becomes consumed with a special project that may just save the struggling drive-in for good, Wren and Derick are drawn ever-closer...and maybe, finally, Wren's dream of a perfect-kiss-before-the-credits is within reach.

A feel-good summer LGBTQIA+ New Adult RomCom, perfect for fans of Red White & Royal Blue, Boyfriend Material, and What If It's Us.

I instantly got “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” vibes from this, except a gay version and there are no letters to past loves, but emails to four guys Wren almost kissed. Never Been Kissed is a light-hearted, fun read where we meet Wren, a twenty-two year old who’s been waiting for a special moment to give away his first kiss. Enters Derick - former best friend who he crushed on hard, but also the friend who ghosted Wren when they went off to college.

Admittedly, I was a Derick fan from the start. Why? I’m not quite sure. He ghosted his best friend and didn't reciprocate any mutual feelings to Wren but I saw great things and I was not wrong. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. In addition to the cutesy romance, Wren struggles with an identity crisis throughout the novel and being labelled gay. Wren isn’t sure if this suits him and his sexuality best - but he’s relatively fresh out the closet and he just isn’t sure. I love how this was executed and represented.

A little side note: I received an eARC of Never Been Kissed however I struggled to get into the book so I listened to the audiobook instead. Mark Sanderlin did a wonderful job with narration - I've never listened to his work before and I enjoyed the uniqueness of his voice.

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