The Kissing Booth

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The Kissing Booth Book Poster Image
Romance fans will swoon over teen author's ebook sensation.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Romance meant to entertain.

Positive Messages

Not every relationship lasts forever, and that's OK. If heartbreak comes, you can deal with it, but you can at least try to make a relationship work and hope for the best. Expect some stereotypical behavior like girls behaving flirtatiously to attract boys, and how boys are almost always the pursuers/instigators.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Elle is a good person who learns from her mistakes. She's involved in school social activities but mostly hangs out with her best friend Lee. Noah has a "bad boy" reputation, is quick to anger, and gets in a lot of fights. He's also jealous and possessive of Elle before they're in a relationship. Noah's behavior has a lot of red flags. He gets in a lot of fights (but would never hit Elle). He's also extremely jealous and possessive, but only because he wants to protect Elle from getting hurt by all the other guys out there.  Elle thinks that by age 16 she should have been on dates and kissed a boy already.Elle's father is loving but he really only checks in with her briefly once in awhile, mentioning things like don't drink at parties without actively following through on anything. Best friend Lee is loyal, supportive, and always there for Elle when she needs him.

Violence

Noah frequently gets into fights. Shoving, getting knocked down, and a few punches are narrated. One punch causes a split and bleeding lip. Elle tries to punch a guy but misses. Elle is harassed at school by male classmates (she endures wolf whistles and is slapped on the behind) after some suggestive behavior at a party.

Sex

Lots of kissing and light making out. Nothing's described graphically, but a few scenes mention tongues. Most of the descriptions are about feelings and physical sensations like tingling and losing track of everything around. It's not narrated, but teens have sex and wake up in bed together the next morning. STD and pregnancy risks aren't mentioned at all, but Elle receives condoms as a gag gift and her friend tells her he wants her to be safe. Mention that everyone's making out or hooking up at a party. A boy is called "whipped" because he's willing to wait until his girlfriend is ready for sex and because he told her he loved her.

Language

"Screw," "sucks," "crap," "butt," "badass," "jackass," "hell," "ass" (body part and name calling), "bitch," "s--t," "damn," and "slut."

Consumerism

Food, beverage, tech, and music products occasionally mentioned for mood or character.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink both alcohol and sodas at parties. Elle gets drunk once, throws up, and is harassed in school the next day for her suggestive behavior. Some drunken behavior (like bad karaoke) mentioned as funny. Stoners mentioned. Noah has a cigarette in his mouth once, and another time he smells like smoke. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Beth Reekles' The Kissing Booth started as a wildly popular ebook romance. It was first self-published on Wattpad when the author was 15 and has gotten millions of views and tens of thousands of comments on the social reading site. Strictly for romance fans, it has lots of kissing and light making out. Teens have sex but it's not narrated, and nothing's mentioned about safety or pregnancy prevention. Strong language is occasional and includes "s--t," ass," "damn," "hell," and "crap." Noah, the main love interest, is quick to anger, gets in lots of fights, and extremely jealous and possessive of narrator Elle. Some fights briefly mention punching and shoving, and one causes a bleeding lip. The mixed messages and role models make it a romance to escape into. It could also provide a reason to talk, especially to younger teens and tweens, about their hopes and dreams for their own romances. The book had been adapted for a movie planned for release in 2018. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byRaquel C. May 23, 2018

Almost a cute movie!

I watched this movie on Netflix. I couldn’t even finish it. It starts out with a fun and loving relationship with Elle and her best friend Lee and Elle having a... Continue reading
Adult Written byTyra L. May 31, 2018

Peek into the chaos of a teenagers life

This book/movie is light hearted with a balance of the hard decisions of reality. Following a girls choice between sacrificing her happiness for the happiness o... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bynini_bob June 3, 2018
Teen, 14 years old Written byrose145 June 12, 2018
It's OK but i would say 13 and up

What's the story?

When Elle, 16, takes a turn in THE KISSING BOOTH, next in line is none other than smokin' hot bad-boy Noah. Sparks fly when Elle and Noah kiss, of course. Elle soon finds herself irresistibly drawn to the one guy every girl wants. Trouble is, Noah just happens to be the older brother of Elle's best friend, Lee. Elle can't put her friendship with Lee at risk, so she and Noah start seeing each other in secret. Is there a happy ending for something that starts with lies and betrayal?

Is it any good?

This teen romance is an amazing achievement for such a young author, who was 15 when she published it herself as an ebook, but it's for romance fans only. Bad-boy Noah and pretty, popular, every-girl Elle make a swoon-worthy couple. Narrator Elle is easy to relate to. Her friends and family are all believable, too. In real life, Noah's quick temper and extreme jealousy would be serious red flags, but here they just add to his bad-boy allure.

Some of the British words used in the California setting seem odd, and keep it from feeling like it happens in a real place. There are no outside concerns for any of the characters beyond themselves and their California, upper-middle-class, high school world. Best for teens who just want to escape into a sigh-worthy romance.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why romances like The Kissing Booth are so popular. What do we love about them?

  • Noah talked a lot about trying to change for Elle. Have you ever tried to change for someone, like a family member, friend, or special someone)? Have you wished someone would change for you? What happened?

  • What kind of future do you see for Elle and Noah?

Book details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love romance

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate