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Six Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did) – Tess Sharpe

Thank you very much to the publishers and Netgalley for sending me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review! I later purchased my own copy of the book.

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.

Six Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did) is already on my list for best reads of 2023 and will no doubt be staying there. It is a wonderful young adult slow-burn romance story with LGBTQ+ characters and heavy-hitting themes. It is one of those books that I will not be forgetting about any time soon.

Penny and Tate have always clashed. Unfortunately for them, their mothers are lifelong best friends. So, the girls’ bickering has carried them throughout their lives. When Penny’s mother decides to become a living donor to Tate’s mother, ending her wait for a liver transplant, things go from clashing to cataclysmic. That’s because, in order to help their families recover emotionally, physically and financially, they combine their households the summer before senior year. So, Penny and Tate make a pact to play nice. To be the drama-free daughters their mother need through this hopeful and scary time. There is one little hitch in their plan, Penny and Tate keep almost kissing.

I adored this book. It is such a refreshing read and is bold and honest in its storytelling. The story itself is touching, heart-breaking and hopeful. I was not expecting this one to be as emotional as it was but I loved that it shocked me in that way. Penny and Tate are dealing with so many other things outside of their relationship. Penny is dealing with the death of a parent and Tate is dealing with her mother being sick for most of life. The discussion that stem from both of the characters surrounding these things are honest, raw and beautiful. It is certainly a thought-provoking story!

I loved all the characters in this book. Penny and Tate are extraordinary main characters. We watch both of them grow so much throughout the book as they come to learn more about themselves. I adored both of the girls’ friends and the part they play in the story too. The mothers are amazing and their friendship is one that we all strive to have. A special mention to Penny’s grandmother who is a star.

The story flows beautifully and completely engrosses the reader. One second I’d read one chapter and the next I’d completely devoured an almost 400 page book, as if it was nothing. Tess Sharpe has done a stunning job of making this an amazing slow-burn romance whilst discussing themes such as trauma, mental health, grief and complex family relationships in a delicate and truthful way. Tess Sharpe is an author who I feel I can now always rely on for an exceptional book.

Overall, I would highly recommend Six Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did)! It is an incredible slow-burn YA romance that discusses heavier themes and keeps the reader hooked. I adored it and cannot recommend it enough.

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