Check out my book review of Timothy Janovsky’s debut novel, Never Been Kissed.
This MM romance with a friends to lovers story released in May 2022. See what I thought of this new adult romance below.
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Never Been Kissed
by Timothy Janovsky
Category: Contemporary Romance, Gay Romance
Tags: MM, Gay, LGBTQ+, Friends to Lovers
Published May 2022
Amazon | Goodreads
Wren Roland has never been kissed, but he wants that movie-perfect ending more than anything. Feeling nostalgic on the eve of his birthday, he sends emails to all the boys he (ahem) loved before he came out. Morning brings the inevitable Oh God What Did I Do?, but he brushes that panic aside. Why stress about it? None of his could-have-beens are actually going to read the emails, much less respond. Right?
Enter Derick Haverford, Wren’s #1 pre-coming-out-crush and his drive-in theater’s new social media intern. Too bad he doesn’t feel the same way about the infamous almost-kiss that once rocked Wren’s world.
But as their hazy summer becomes consumed with a special project that may just save the struggling drive-in for good, Wren and Derick are drawn ever-closer…and maybe, finally, Wren’s dream of a perfect-kiss-before-the-credits is within reach.
A sweet, friends to lovers romance that’s great for summer!
I’ll admit that this book had me at drive-in. I adored going to the drive-in as a kid, so I loved how Janovsky used one as the backdrop to this new adult, LGBTQ+ rom-com.
This is why it made my list of hottest summer reads of 2022 in romance!
Coming from an avid romance reader, it feels odd to admit that I came to be more interested in the side stories of this romance, including the fate of the drive-in, than I was in Wren and Derick’s will they/won’t they romance.
The story centers around Wren, a twenty-something, recent college grad who is spending the summer as a manager at the drive-in where he essentially grew up.
But before starting his job, he accidentally drunk-sends a few emails to his “almost kiss” crushes one night after a few too many lamenting how he’s yet to have his first kiss.
I honestly was set and ready for a book that followed Wren awkwardly reconnecting with his former beaus given the book synopsis but it really just focused on one “what could have been” – Derick.
Throw in a mishmash of his queer besties, a queer director who’s become a hermit and a young adult trying to find his way and his identity and you have a story.
To me, the growth of Wren as a character was the standout of the book. I enjoyed learning about his struggles with his identity, his struggles to figure out “what’s next” with his career and his bond with a now elderly woman who’s feature film from eons ago he’s determined to view and premiere at the drive-in.
I found the initial point of the story, his lack of a first kiss at age 22, just sort of faded into the background for me as I wasn’t really invested in his relationship or rather rekindled friendship with Derick.
Plus, I found his friendships with Mateo and Avery just a distraction.
Overall, this was a great debut novel with wonderful writing an engaging story that I think many will enjoy.
If you enjoy sweet, rom-coms (and very clean MM romances) then check it out.
*Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced reader copy. All opinions are my own.
Lists with this Book:
- Summer Reads 2022: The Hottest Romance Books
- Most Anticipated Romance Books of 2022
- New Romance Book Releases for May 2022