Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him.
But when school starts up again, Brady changes. What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with? Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this “cowboy” is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina.
Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean giving up her freedom—and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy. Still, she can’t help that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she’s anywhere else.
When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth—and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.
Leslie Connor has written a lyrical, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about family, romance, and the immense power of love
We were told that this is not the saccharine type. Upon knowing, I felt it was necessary to toss away the possible cutesy stuff and expect something…serious? But it wasn’t all that intense. Sure, there was that last part where I wasn’t expecting. Shocking? Not really but it did surprise me. How this book illustrated how the protagonist said goodbye to this man, to this boy, and to her past. It was something…almost profound?
Ignore the vibrant blue cover and don’t focus on the word ‘kiss,’ as I said this not the sweet and fluffy type. But it wasn’t the entirely heavy story that I though it’ll be. Now, now, I know I’m being too hard on books lately but I did appreciate the overall message of this book. Bettina looked to me just a simple girl being in this situation; then fell in love with equally shy boy. One that her dearest Bampas approved of. Things progressed between them as good it can be until it wasn’t anymore. Brady was now different, so unlike the boy she first met. When she run away from her boyfriend, she met a man—a ‘cowboy.’ He wasn’t like Brady, the cowboy made her feel things, good things…until it was too late.
I’ve been racking my brains on how to explain my likes and gripes without giving so much of the story. I think the reason that last part affected me was because I didn’t foresee it. The truth of the matter, I had expected something entirely different. It was good that it was not what I had in mind. The girl’s relationship with Brady and with cowboy offered more of her character’s development than flourishing the romance aspect. Brady made her see what they really stood for, where she stood and how she needed extract from it. Brady, the shy and sweet boyfriend was long gone. The nature of Brady and Bettina’s relationship became deprecating. Now the cowboy on the other hand was different. I admit the summary misled me to think this might be another May-December affair but in my opinion, it is definitely not. Yes, she has feelings for him but his company also led her to think and eventually learn. I just didn’t expect what has happened to him and to the possibility of them, as I said it was too late for that. Thinking about it, it’s quite sad to know that it didn’t happen.
Most definitely it is about goodbyes. It was painful for her to let go of this person. Many nights she cried for him. Many nights she ached for him. With that, I was looking at the bigger picture. And while it looked like a romance story at first, it wasn’t what it all that to me. Bettina’s love for this person was actually good for her despite of what has happened.
Format: Advance Reader’s Copy
Preview Quote: “I know that. I’m trying. But you know what I learned this year? I learned that if you don’t acknowledge pain, you’re not really safe.” I collected my next thought. “Pain is…a message. Truefor heart, body, and soul.”.” — Bettina