How to Kiss a Bad Boy by Amanda Ashby

How to Kiss a Bad Boy Cover

Enjoyable, G-rated, YA, romantic dramedy

How to Kiss a Bad Boy by Amanda Ashby

Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: August 31, 2019
Publisher: 51 Square Press
Pages: 180 pages
Source: ARC from author
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

Frankie Hargreaves is a 16-year-old orphan who has been living with her Aunt Lo in Cricket Bay, a fictional, small, Southern California beach town, for the past eight years since her mother died. Frankie has never been kissed, but she has carefully selected the perfect guy for this crucial rite of passage: a clean-cut, attractive boy named Aaron Tremain who works at a surf shop very near Frankie’s summer job, down by the beach.

For the past few summers, Aunt Lo has put Frankie in charge of running Lo’s food truck, which is whimsically themed as a 1950’s teashop. Lo owns a successful, year-round, local baking business, and the aim of her food truck is to wring additional, much-needed income out of the summer tourist crowd. A teenage assistant, named Kenneth, whom Lo hired last year to work with Frankie on the food truck, proved to be a useless loafer who left all the work to Frankie and was rude to the customers. Frankie dreads having to deal with him again this year, but she almost wishes she had lazy Kenneth back again when she discovers to her dismay that Lo has hired 17-year-old Jackson Lang as his replacement. What could her softhearted aunt be thinking hiring someone with such a bad reputation?

Jackson has been unfairly judged all his life for the crimes of his father, who died in prison a few years ago after committing murder while acting as the enforcer for a local motorcycle gang. For that reason, until Lo took a chance on him, Jackson has had a hard time finding a job. He is desperate to earn money in order to help his struggling, single mother support him and his little sister. Unfortunately, it turns out that sweet-natured Lo will not be his direct supervisor but, instead, her niece, Frankie. If the look of disgust on Frankie’s beautiful face when Jackson shows up for his first day of work is anything to go by, his chances of holding onto his new job are slim to none.

Frankie has no desire to work with Jackson in the very close quarters of the food truck—no matter how handsome he is, or how hard-working and charming to the customers he turns out to be. Worse, it is downright frustrating how much he puts Aaron in the shade by comparison. With every day that passes in Jackson’s company, her desire to kiss Aaron weakens, and her longing to kiss this too-good-to-be-true bad boy grows.

This G-rated, young-adult romance has both comedic and poignant moments, making it what I would call a “dramedy.” The setup of the romance is original and compelling, and a California beach town is an unusual and quite enjoyable setting. It is lovely to read a YA novel whose events occur somewhere besides a generic high school.

Frankie is a cute and quirky heroine, and Jackson is an especially sympathetic hero who is truly heroic. He is responsible, loving and loyal to his family.

It is also a pleasure reading about teenagers with positive family members, including Frankie’s kind and caring aunt, and Jackson’s adorable little sister and his affectionate, supportive mother.

This G-rated romance avoids foul language, drugs, drinking, wild parties and underage sex and, as such, it is suitable for all ages.

Note: I received an ARC of this novel from the author.

I rate this book as follows:

Heroine: 4

Hero: 4

Subcharacters: 4

Setting: 4

Romance Plot: 4

Writing: 4

Overall: 4

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