Book Review: I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

McQuiston, Casey. I Kissed Shara Wheeler. St. Martin’s Press. 2022. $19.99. HC. 320 p. 9781250244451.

It starts with a kiss. Three kisses actually – one for each of them. All from Shara Wheeler. And then she disappears, leaving behind a series of notes and clues to draw Chloe, Smith, and Rory into finding her. Smith and Rory have a romantic history with her – but Chloe? Chloe has been her biggest academic rival, and for Shara to pull focus so close to the end of their senior year and the announcement of Valedictorian seems more than a little calculated. But what is Shara hoping to achieve?

I think it’s commonly accepted by now that McQuiston is the queen of queer romances, and this newest edition to her oeuvre is no exception, proving her a master of her craft. Encompassed in this tale you will find the Enemies-to-Lovers trope, but also the Friends-to-Lovers trope, and the Stuck-Doing-a-Thing-Together trope, and the … well let’s just say it’s your kind of book, whatever that is. While Shara and Smith are the proverbial golden couple at the start of this chase, by the end there won’t be an assumption that hasn’t been overturned or a stereotype that hasn’t been challenged. McQuiston manages to weave a mystery into a romance, with a cast of characters that are as mired in the chaos of teenage emotions as you might expect, while not in the ways you expect; characters who manage not to be caricatures of, but rather symbols of, queer youth.

This is the perfect excuse to ditch that thing you don’t want to do this weekend, because once you start you’re not going to want to put it down. It’s a great YA read of course, but full-blown adults who remember their youth will enjoy it as well.

Nadia M Orozco-Sahi, MLIS


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