Tess Sharpe’s newest book is 6 Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did), a story of two queer girls who find themselves under the same roof when their moms (who are best friends) decide they all should move in together. Why? Because one mom is giving her liver to the other.
The two girls we get to know are Tate and Penny. They have never been friends but with them sharing living quarters, they decide to make a pact. They will get along. They won’t fight. And they’ll keep each other’s secrets to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible. For the moms.
It is Penny’s mom that will be giving the liver and Tate’s mom who is receiving it. It will be a life-saving operation but things are a whole lot more complicated than that.
Penny has been living with her grandmother because when her dad died, her mom became a shell of herself and someone who was not safe to be around. But recently, she’s been living with both of them and she’s wondering when her mom will ever really acknowledge her again. When she will love her again? When she will stop blaming Penny for her father’s death?
6 Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did) is an emotional queer love story
Tate was there when Penny’s mom came to live with them and she knows just how bad it was. She knows how badly Penny’s mom still treats Penny. And she’s not afraid to call it out to Penny if for no other reason than to let Penny know that what going on isn’t okay.
Tate is also dealing with the fact that her mom is actually going to live and be healthy. She never thought that was an option.
But beyond all of that, the two girls are also dealing with their very real feelings for each other. Feelings they will never admit to one another. Well…until they do.
I fell in love with Tess Sharpe’s writing when I read The Girls I’ve Been in 2021. The book blew my mind. I had high hopes for this new book and it did not disappoint.
I love a book that is character-driven and emotional and this was everything I could have wanted and more. Tate and Penny could not be more perfect together. As reluctant allies at first, then as friends, and then as something more. Their strengths and flaws complement each other brilliantly.
I also love how much emotional complexity is in this story. Penny has A LOT of emotions and past trauma to work through and she does that with the help of Tate and her friends. She is dealing with some serious emotional abuse but Tate supports her 100% of the way. And Penny supports Tate as well.
There are two specific scenes that were my favorites and showed their support for one another perfectly. Penny uses her organizational tendencies (obsession?) to ensure Tate’s landlord doesn’t take advantage of her. And Tate uses her take-no-prisoners attitude to make sure Penny’s ex doesn’t mess with Penny. Both scenes had me grinning from ear to ear.
I will give a trigger warning for emotional abuse. Penny’s mom is… a lot. And she doesn’t show who she is to Penny to everyone. She’s fine with Tate’s mom. She’s even ok with Tate. But Penny is manipulative and neglectful.
The way the story shows this type of abuse is so important because it’s often not seen as a legitimate type of abuse. Penny’s story will show just how harmful emotional abuse is and how dark it can be.
Also, be careful when reading about how Penny’s father died. It’s very tough to read, but it helps us understand Penny’s fears and her connection to Tate.
But beyond the dark moments, this is a love story and Tate and Penny have so many beautiful moments together. Even beyond the six times they almost kiss and the one time they do, each scene they have together shows another aspect of who they are separately and together.
If you love queer love stories, YA romances, or are as big of a Tess Sharpe fan as me, you need to read 6 Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did). It’s a must!
6 Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did) is available now in ebook, hardcover, and audiobook formats.