Khanh the Killjoy

My Last Kiss - Bethany Neal
Aren’t ghosts supposed to have some sort of agenda? I really hope mine isn’t to haunt my boyfriend’s bedroom. That is way too clichéd.

“Why didn’t you stay with your body?” he finally asks.
I meet his eyes and the only thing I want to say is I came back to be with you, I stayed for you.

Sure, you could compare this to The Lovely Bones, in the same way that you could compare Twilight to Bram Stoker's Dracula. It's pretty much the same thing, really, with a few minor differences. The "few minor differences" being:

1. Red tunas. Ok, fine, the technical term for a misleading clue ia a "red herring" but the clues in this book are so fucking obvious and dumb and loud that I've coined a new term for it. Hence, red tuna

2. This ghost is even more of a vapid idiot than the one in The Lovely Bones

3. This ghost gets into one bloody painful mess of a love triangle between the most wonderfulest boyfriend ever who just doesn't geeeeeeeeeet her, maaaaaan and a pothead stoner with a heart of gold

4. Family? Lol. Family? Screw family, it's all about friends, y'all. She has a sister? A brother? A family. Oh, yeah, yeah, she does. She mentions them sometimes. Mostly the fact that her mom is a huge, raging psychotic bitch

5. The dumbest friends ever, in fact, the most vapid group of high schoolers who ever existed

6. There is not a single truly likeable character in the book. I'm dead fucking serious. Her classmates are morons without sympathy. Her family pretty much ignore one another when, if, they're mentioned at all

Really, there's not much introspection. There's no literary value. There is an idiot of a girl who gets to spend time with her boyfriend, while fighting off the feelings for another guy...while she's a ghost. Don't. Just don't.

The Summary:

I think I’m supposed to do something while I’m here. It doesn’t make any sense that I’d be given a free pass to haunt about and chill with my boyfriend.

17-year old Cassidy is dead. How does everyone think she died?

“Well, I heard some guys saying she tried to go skinny-dipping in the river and froze, which is downright ignorant to suggest. Then Kristy London started telling everyone she saw Cassidy throw up at dance once because she was bulimic and that’s why she committed suicide.”

Cassidy was found dead under a bridge, after a night of inebriation. Everyone seems to think her death was a suicide, even her own family. Even the police, since they seem to think she killed herself after, oh, roughyl 5 seconds of investigations. So realistic.

So nobody knows how Cassidy died, since nobody was there. Hell, not even Cassidy knows how she died, because she was drunk as fuck.

I was definitely drinking at the party, but was I drunk enough to forget everything that happened?

But all hope is not lost! Cassidy may be dead, but she's not yet "moved on." She is still here, on earth, as a ghost. Nobody can see her, until, miraculously, her boyfriend, Ethan could! She's been left here on earth with a purpose! How shall Cassidy spent this one wondrous chance?!

I cast away that dangerously hopeful thought and look up at Ethan, deciding to take advantage of what time I have left with him.

Will she use that time to discover how she died? Not exactly.

I’m momentarily distracted by Ethan’s navy blue boxer-briefs. They’re the only thing he’s wearing.

Is she going to spend her remaining time on earth observing her family extensively, seeing that they're her family, who have raised her and loved her for 17 years? Um...

He exhales, long and loud. I lean forward, hoping for a whiff of his breath even if it’s sour, morning scented, but there’s nothing. I frown.

Is she going to spend that time going back to the scene of her death, seeing if there are any clues to be picked up, any memories she can glean from going back to such a pivotal place? Weeeeell...

I’m sure my afterlife mission isn’t to hook up with my boyfriend—especially after what I just remembered about Caleb—but I can’t ignore the allure of his touches.

Ok, fine. This is a teenaged girl, after all. It's only fair that she spends a quarter of the book, or half the book thinking about her boyfriend. But what about the remaining half? How will she spend the rest of her time on earth?! Clearly, she has been put here for a purpose. Ghosts don't just wander around after death pointlessly. Surely there is a bigger picture here.


I bend down right in front of him, meaning to study his face for some proof of guilt, maybe attempt a ghostly trick to will a writing sample out of his obnoxious orange backpack, but the only thing I can think about is his mouth closed around mine. My eyes wander to his lips.

Or, you know, just think about kissing him. Investigation. Kissing. Same thing, if you think about it.

Cassi-die now plz:

I squared my shoulders and inched up my chin as if I was above his affection. I wasn’t, but I was so mad I wanted him to think I was, to feel bad about it.

The word vapid is actually spelled "C-A-S-S-I-D-Y." The definition of her name is Captain Obvious since she has the uncommon knack for stating the fucking obvious.

She sets a pad of monogrammed stationery on top of her notes from last week and adds Mica’s name to a short list of classmates, all of whom attended the party.
“This is your list of people you think might know something about my death, isn’t it?” I ask her.

Her grief is of the woe-is-me everything is about me me me. OK, she's dead. I know that. I should be able to empathize with that, but her sadness...the way it is written, so very much self-centered, just makes me laugh.

Sadness rolls over me, knowing that I’ll never again be the person she turns to for comfort.

She is the equivalent of a mentally-challenged ghost. She knows she can't be heard, yet she insists on talking VERY LOUDLY and ENUNCIATING VERY CLEARLY in the hopes that someone will be able to hear her.

“Aimée,” I say very slowly as if overenunciating will allow her to hear me, “look under that binder.”

It is the equivalent of talking VERY LOUDLY INTO THE EARS OF A DEAF PERSON. It just makes you look like a motherfucking moron.

Her investigation into her death can be best summed up in one hyphenated word: "half-assed". She withholds clues, she ignores clues, she ignores uncomfortable flashbacks, like her memories of flirting and kissing another boy who is not her boyfriend. She lies. She omits information that would help the one person who is able to see her investigate her death.

If I tell him I think I was with Caleb he’ll definitely ask why. I’m not ready to go there with him. It’ll ruin the small piece of us we’ve recaptured, and I can’t bear losing that again.

Almost all her memories are of emotional conflicts between her love triangle. They are frustrating, they are foolish, they give me no respect for Cassidy whatsoever.

The Side Characters:

After he leaves, the cafeteria clears out, but conversations still echo off the walls. She was totally drunk … I heard she froze to death … Who kills herself over a breakup? I mean, really?

Seriously, there is not one single likeable character in the entire fucking book. Her family are portrayed as idiots. Her father is a doormat. Her mother is a psycho with a midlife crisis who pretty much has no reaction over her daughter's death besides for the fact that it might give her something to do. Cassidy has a tremendous amount of contempt for her mom, and her entire family is portrayed so briefly, so poorly, that there is absolutely no sense of familial love whatsoever.

Instead, we are focused on her friends, and man, they are motherfucking idiots. Cassidy may be vapid, but she appears to be a product of her school, because her entire fucking school is filled with brainless teenagers without an ounce of sympathy. Literally nobody gives a fuck about her death but her friend, Aimée. The entire student body doesn't need counseling, they use her death as an opportunity to gossip, to make small-talk, to talk shit about Cassidy now that she's dead. It would have appeared like Cassidy had no friends at all after her death, and it is so strange, considering we don't get a sense of that at all from the flashbacks of her life before death.

Truly, the side characters in this book, the entire fucking cast, doesn't seem realistic at all. There is no emotional connection to anyone, anything.

The Motherfucking Love Triangle:

Aimée rolls her eyes. “I can’t believe he was high at eight-thirty in the morning. I’ll never get what Cassidy saw in him.”

DING DING DING. We have a love triangle here. And it's not an obvious type. It's the I-will-keep-you-guessing-until-the-bitter-fucking-end type.

Ethan is the nicest boy in the world. He was her first kiss. He was her first love. They have been dating for three years.

He took my hand, and I was certain, in that moment, that I would never kiss anyone else for as long as I lived.

Until, inexplicably, she falls for Caleb, a stoner who pops pills under the guise of Tic-Tacs.

Caleb, who is never NOT stoned.

Caleb opens his eyes in a lazy, delayed reaction that tips me off that he’s high. Again.

Caleb, who is a bad boy with a Tragic Past who totally deserves our sympathy, right

" had changed when your parents split up and you started getting high all the time..."

Caleb, who gives her a special Brownie laced with marijuana. Such a fucking gentleman. How could a girl ever resist?

“Speaking of, I made you a little somethin’ somethin’.” He reached into his bright orange backpack and pulled out a brownie wrapped in pink cellophane and about ten different colors of ribbon.
“Caleb, you didn’t have to do this.”
“I wanted to give you something special to celebrate your birth.”

And she cheated on Ethan with THIS loser? No, thank you. Sure, Ethan is so fucking effeminate that he barely even counts as a boyfriend, but he's still a far better catch than Caleb. And we're left wondering until the very end who she will choose.

I do not tolerate cheating. There are books in which cheating is really, really well done, in which I feel a tremendous amount of sympathy for the cheaters.

This is not one of those books.