As is expected, this book of Carlson's is jam packed with drama. The protagonist Elise is about to turn sixteen and--as the cover implies--has never been kissed. The book is not about some plan to get kissed. Rather, the plot follows Elise, her friends, and the people she interacts with at her new school. When she gets the attention of a "taken" guy, things get complicated when he starts to email her. Later, stakes rise when the notion of sending raunchy photos arises. Sure, Elise only goes so far as to send a swimsuit picture (still bad), but she is humiliated when everyone in school is forwarded an pic of her naked. The pictures is not of her but looks like her. People turn on Elise as many believe she has sent this picture that everyone believes is her. While the drama can be over the top and the ending is somewhat predictable (I was still surprised with twists, but I figured out half of the mystery of who was really framing Elise), important themes arise. They are that teens should know that not everyone is who they seem online. They also learn how sending or even suggesting sending others raunchy photos can come back to bite them. What I think is missing is more of a notion that even sending the swimsuit photo was bad; sure, it's implied, but not enough. Also, while Elise eventually gets her name cleared (surprise, surprise), in real life, this does not always happen. When girls start to go down bad paths, there isn't always a way out, even if they are innocent of what they are being accused of. Still, the book will keep young readers engaged and educate them in serious matters while still keeping a bit of a focus on God, forgiveness, and redemption. There's even a contrast between boys and what true love really means. There is a bit of an epiphany / monologue from Elise at the end.
Available January 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.