Book Review: Never Been Kissed by Timothy Janovsky

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.

*Disclosure: This post may include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Check out the book review from She Reads Romance Books of Never Been Kissed by Timothy Janovsky, a new romance book release for May 2022.

Never Been Kissed
by Timothy Janovsky

Category: Contemporary Romance, Gay Romance
Tags: MM, Gay, LGBTQ+, Friends to Lovers
Published May 2022
Amazon Goodreads
Rating: ★★★
Boyfriend Rating: 💍💍💍

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.

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Check out She Reads Romance Books' book review of Never Been Kissed by TImothy Janovsky.
Leslie Murphy is the owner and writer of She Reads Romance Books.

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Leslie is the founder, writer, and producer of She Reads Romance Books (and the She Reads Romance Books Podcast), an online book community focused on romance books and the readers who love them because life is better with a love story.

Leslie reads 150 romance books a year and has been called a "book expert" by CNN. Reading romance is her passion and she cultivates her book lists with the best books worth reading in the genre. Leslie graduated magna cum laude from Davidson College where she honed her writing skills and also holds two Master's degrees. Join her community in the She Reads Romance Books Reader Lounge.

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