Friday, 19 September 2014

Review: Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez

Title: Kiss Kill Vanish
Author: Jessica Martinez
Release date: October 7th 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Thriller
Format: eARC
Pages: 280

Source: Edelweiss

Valentina Cruz no longer exists.

One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.

She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.

She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.

Kiss Kill Vanish definitely isn't what I expected. Well, not that the synopsis tells you all that much, but there are a lot of surprises along the way and so many twists everywhere. The premise is definitely interesting, and the plot is well-paced. It's just the characters I had a problem with.

Valentina comes from a pretty luxurious life. Her father deals art, and makes a lot of money selling valuable paintings. Valentina was happy with her life, especially with Emilio, her boyfriend who also works for her father. That's how they met, actually. But when Valentina witnesses Emilio killing a man her father told him to, she can't stay there any longer. She runs away with practically nothing, and tries to make a new life. But as her old life begins blending in with her new one, Valentina realizes just how messed up everything around her used to be; she just never knew it at the time.

The first half of this book is very different from the second. I really loved the second, but the first annoyed me most of the time, and my rating would have been lower if the plot hadn't changed and picked up later on. If only it were amazing from the start! Then this would have made an awesome book. Basically, get through everything that happens in the first half (this is just an estimate, I'm not sure if it's actually half or not), and immerse yourself into the rest of the book. It's totally worth it!

The protagonist, Valentina, annoyed the hell out of me. She's a complete idiot. I mean, she's what, seventeen? How can she run away to another freaking country carrying only her passport and a stupid musical instrument she stole from her boyfriend. No money, no clothes, no nothing. She has to resort to almost begging on the streets of Montreal before an 'artist' finds her and gives her a job. And she's so unbearably naive, it's insane. Stop being so dependent on your asshole boyfriend, gosh. It's obvious Emilio isn't being honest with her, and she still sticks by him loyally. Ugh, I really hated Emilio... There's really nothing to like about him and it's impossible for me to imagine what Valentina sees in him.

Then there's Lucien, a.k.a. the 'artist' who gives Valentina a job. He's sleazy and weird and Valentina really doesn't like him, but he pays her a shitload of money to pose for his paintings. No nude ones, don't worry. Just Valentina (or Jane, as she is known in her new life) dressed up in weird costumes. Valentina has no friends in Montreal, not even her three roommates. She talks to Lucien of course, and to Lucien's younger brother, Marcel. Who is a druggie and almost as sleazy as Lucien.

So the first half passes by kind of uneventfully. Until something big happens, and then BAM everything starts to change. I loved seeing how Valentina develops a friendship with Marcel. He changes a lot - he stops using, he's a lot more alive, and he quits the weird sleaziness. Marcel and Valentina's conversations are hilarious most of the time, and some lines really did have me laughing out loud. I loved the banter! And of course I loved it when their friendship became something more. That takes quite a while, though.

Like I said, there are a lot of twists so I really can't say anything else about the plot. Just that it's intense and dangerous and I loved seeing where it was going. Valentina becomes less of an idiot, which I was thankful for. Thinking about the book now reminds me once again of how different the first and second parts are! I like to thing of it as a before and after, though of course I won't mention the event that splits the book into those categories.

Kiss Kill Vanish is a standalone, so it ends well with no loose ends. I liked that, because open endings really bug me. There's an awesome climax/fight scene kind of thing near the end, which totally had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Jessica Martinez's writing is amazing! I loved her dialogues especially, and I would totally go back and read all the scenes with Marcel and Valentina, primarily the road trip ones. The writing also really drew me in. I just wish the beginning/middle hadn't bored me that much, otherwise I would've love this book. I'd definitely say give it a try, though! It's thrilling and humourous and sweet and dangerous all at once.

*Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 3/5


  1. Talk about a book with a split personality. I'm oddly curious though.

  2. It sounds like this is has a great plot that does everything right in that area, but then gets dragged down because of the characters. One thing for sure, that is an amazing cover right there ^^ The contrast of colours work well.

    Check out my post about seizing the day:


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