I Kissed Shara Wheeler: A Review


I Kissed Shara Wheeler cover, courtesy of Macmillan Publishers, from goodreads.com

Bee Sackett, Opinion Editor

Casey McQuiston, bestselling author of One Last Stop and Red, White, and Royal Blue, has released a new novel: I Kissed Shara Wheeler. Their first YA book, I Kissed Shara Wheeler follows Chloe Green, one of very few openly queer students at an Alabaman Catholic school, on her quest to find out what happened to Shara Wheeler, her only rival for valedictorian.

McQuiston’s debut YA novel is a lovely little rom-com jaunt into high school drama, with a touch of time travel. In keeping with the themes of their previous novel, One Last Stop, McQuiston explores classic Southern Gothic themes of religious trauma, chosen families, and the darkness of the deep South (fitting for their childhood in southern Louisiana). McQuiston does so while masterfully maintaining a sense of fun and humor.

Casey McQuiston’s signature sense of humor plays into their typically dry, sarcastic characters with the utmost grace. They have always found a way to write utterly original stories without being so completely outrageous as not to be even a little bit believable. Just as they have done consistently before, McQuiston’s characters glide from word to word with elegance, tact, and great humor. By the end of the book, I felt like I knew each character as if they were a real person. I could hold up a conversation with any one of them and perfectly picture their responses.

Overall, I KIssed Shara Wheeler, while it may not be their best book, certainly lives up to its much deserved hype. I would, without hesitation, recommend I Kissed Shara Wheeler as not only a great read, but an excellent place to start with Casey McQuiston’s works.