How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!
A chilling and intense first novel, the story of a solitary young woman drawn into an online world run by a charismatic web guru who entices her into impersonating a glamorous but desperate woman.
When Leila discovers the Web site Red Pill, she feels she has finally found people who understand her. A sheltered young woman raised by her mother, Leila has often struggled to connect with the girls at school; but on Red Pill, a chat forum for ethical debate, Leila comes into her own, impressing the Web site’s founder, a brilliant and elusive man named Adrian. Leila is thrilled when Adrian asks to meet her, flattered when he invites her to be part of “Project Tess.” Tess is a woman Leila might never have met in real life. She is beautiful, urbane, witty, and damaged. As they e-mail, chat, and Skype, Leila becomes enveloped in the world of Tess, learning every single thing she can about this other woman—because soon, Leila will have to become her. An ingeniously plotted novel of stolen identity, Kiss Me First is brilliantly frightening about the lies we tell—to ourselves, to others, for good, and for ill.
I don’t usually read two thrillers in a row, particularly ones that are quite modern. It just so happens that Kiss Me First was also about the danger of the internet. Kiss Me First focuses more on how the internet makes it so easy to be anyone we want to be. Creepy, really.
Kiss Me First centres around Leila. An only child, who has grown up with a single parent. Her mother suffered from MS. Leila nursed her mother until the very end. Now alone, Leila isolates herself even more. She immerses herself in the internet to escape the real world (oh, how familiar that is to many!) Leila uses chatrooms, she plays games, but then she discovers a philosophical website called Red Pill. It discusses moral dilemmas and the members of the forum debate the issues. Leila is attracted to the charismatic website owner Adrian. It is through Adrian that Leila meets Tess. Tess wants to commit suicide, but she doesn’t want to hurt her family and friends. It is decided that Leila will take on the identity of Tess. Tess tells everyone that she’s moving away to start a new life, but really Tess is going to find a way to kill herself. Leila will take on the online identity of Tess, updating her emails and posting Facebook updates.
I found Kiss Me First to be incredibly gripping, but very hard to read because of its intensity. I can understand why some readers didn’t get on with Leila as a narrator. She’s incredibly isolated and so introverted. I found Leila quite endearing, she was incredibly naïve. She seems so innocent and didn’t realise taking on another person’s identity would be such a challenge. Leila really does become Tess.
I didn’t think this book was perfect though, which is why I’m giving it 3.5 stars. I felt that it started really promising, but then I started to feel like it lost its way. I’d still read another book by Lottie Moggach. I liked her descriptive writing style. I was just let down by the ending.
Would I recommend it?:
Yes- 3.5 stars!