She’s Still Got IT: Remembrance by Meg Cabot

In REMEMBRANCE, the seventh installment of the Mediator series, all Susannah Simon wants is to make a good impression at her first job since graduating from college (and becoming engaged to Dr. Jesse de Silva).

But when she stumbles across an ancient murder, old ghosts—and ex-boyfriends—aren’t all that come back to haunt her.

REMEMBRANCE will be the first ever adult installment of the Mediator, published by William Morrow, the adult division of HarperCollins, the company that brought you the YA books in the series.

Source: GoodReads

The Mediator series is sort of my gold standard series for YA.  It has a strong feminist main character who’s bad ass while dressed (tastefully) in Kate Spade and it has one of the best heroes in YA to date.  Plus, a love triangle that doesn’t want me to gouge my eyes out.  How can one not love the Mediator series?

Yeah, thought so.

To say the least, I was excited but a bit weary when I heard that Meg Cabot was publishing a seventh book.  The sixth book, after all, ended on such a wonderful note.  I was really scary what would happen after that.  I mean, how can you top Suze doing a Marty McFly and saving Jesse’s life.

Well, you really can’t.  But never the less, Remembrance was a delightful nostalgic read.

It does have a few quirks, but those quirks were very easy to overlook when reading the book as a whole.

First and foremost, Suze’s voice is still as authentic as ever.  She’s still sassy, not afraid to kick ass, but realistically matured.  I really enjoy that the essence of her character was kept.  One of my problems with Missing You  (the adult-ish sequel to Meg’s 1800-Where-R-U seires was I thought Jess lost a bit of her punch).  Suze, not so much.  There were some choices she made that had me raising my eyebrows a bit-for spoiler purposes I won’t go into them, BUT as a legal professional who worked in family law I was just like really Suze-but it fit with the character enough.

Jesse is swoon worthy as ever, but the character is a little more complex in this installment which is a good thing and very understandable since he’s alive now and dealing with the aftermath of being a NCDP (see, Suze I’m using your term-it’s admitedly catchy).  I liked these added layers.  Also, other characters are further developed such as Suze’s stepbrothers.  I didn’t see some of the twists involving their lives coming (i.e. David), but it was refreshing.

If you’re a huge Paul Slater fan, I don’t know how you’re going to feel about how Paul turned out as an adult.  Personally, I have a love hate relationship with this character.  When I read or wrote fan fic it was usually Paul/Suze, but that hardly means I wanted him to end up with her in cannon or find the character to be redeemable in cannon.  He’s admittedly slimy, but there’s something about him that makes for an interesting character to explore.  And like it or not, Juze shipper or not, you have to admit that Paul and Suze share some great banter.

The banter is still there, though admittedly Paul is dumbed down a bit in this installment.  Where in the previous installments he is decisive in his actions, here he isn’t on his feet as much in the previous novels.  He’s still an antagonist, but not an as worthy one as in past installments.  To be honest, if anything he comes off as borderline pathetic.  And I was more than a little disgusted with him by the end of this book.  Does this mean, I’ll stop reading Pauze fan fics (hardly), but it makes my cannon ship stronger.

It’s sort of sad though, that Paul has destroyed his brain cells.  I like him better when he’s smart evil than quasi dumb evil.  Though, he and Suze still did share some great banter.

The ghost mystery was okay.  Luisa is not my favorite or my least favorite ghost in the series.   I’d say the ghost mystery is comparable to either book two or three.  Better than books one or five, but hardly the zenith of the ghost mystery in book four or the time traveling adventure in book six.  Though, Suze did kick ass.

The wedding scenes and other fluff scenes were also well done.  But really, Jesse.  Really.  I feel sorry for Suze having to…okay, not going to say it for spoilers.  But come on!

Overall, if you’re a fan of The Mediator you should pick this book up.  It’s a nice nostalgia trip down memory lane which is pretty true to the characters.  Unless, you’re a huge Paul fangirl I think you’ll enjoy this one.

Overall Rating: A solid A.

Remembrance will be released on February 2, 2016.


Where Suze Gets a Sparkly Diamond on Her Finger: The Proposal by Meg Cabot

The last place Suze Simon expects to find herself during Valentine’s Day is a cemetery. But that’s what happens when you’re a mediator – cursed with the “gift” of communicating with the dead.

That’s how Suze has ended up at the graves of a pair of NCDPs – Non-Compliant Deceased Persons – whose drama didn’t end with death. It’s Suze’s job to make sure they move on—for good.

But the NCDPs aren’t the only ones with problems. The reason Suze is spending her Valentine’s Day with the undead instead of her boyfriend, Jesse, is because he’s having so much trouble adjusting to life after death . . . not surprising, considering the fact that he used to be an NCDP himself, and now his girlfriend busts his former kind for a living, while he tries to cure his kind of what used to ail him.

Can Suze use her mediating skills to propose a mutual resolution, and bring all these young lovers together – including Jesse and herself – especially on the night Saint Valentine declared sacred to romance?

Or will she end up alone—and possibly undead—herself?

Source: GoodReads


Honestly, I have to say after reading Remembrance, The Proposal was a bit of a disappointed.  It wasn’t bad.  It was a good novella, but it suffered from the pitfalls that many novellas suffer from.

I.E. it focused on having too much of a novel plot, and became overwhelmed by the size it was given (roughly 100 or so pages-though for some reason it felt a lot shorter).

Honestly, the whole ghost mystery plot wasn’t my favorite in this one.  It seemed like a rehash of book three really.   Except, the ghost wasn’t as homicidal as the Angels and Jesse was alive.  Oh, and Suze wasn’t as stupid as she was in that book.  But…

The relationship between Suze and Jesse, works as it always does but they really took a back seat to the ghost mystery and that’s a shame because the ghost mystery really wasn’t my favorite-again, revamp of book three.

Did that mean I hated this novella, hell no.

It gave me another must need Mediator fix and I probably would’ve enjoyed it better if I hadn’t already read Remembrance.  But it was definitely flawed.

And I’m not talking about in that four year degree community college with dorms type way.  Okay, really, maybe it’s just the part of the states I lived in but community colleges are usually two year or trade school programs and I only know one community college offering campus housing.   Most of them don’t.  Hence, the word community.

But hey, I’m not going to be picky because I’m just going to remain calm and Mediator it on.

Because that’s what Suze would do if she wasn’t throwing a punch at a ghostie baddie.

Surprisingly in this book, Suze is a lot more weaker than she was in Remembrance.  Again, this shouldn’t bother me as much as it did, but I just had a hard time seeing Suze in the predicament she got herself in.

But whatever.

God, I am really bitching in this review, aren’t I?

Blame bar prep.

I will say though this was a nice and very time etiquette break.  As much as I’m complaining there were a few nice scenes between Jesse and Suze and I really enjoyed the story behind the ring it’s just….

I feel this novella’s story was greater than it’s page count and it suffered for it.

Overall Rating: A generous B+.  I really should give it a lower rating, but come on, it is The Mediator.

The Only Twilight Worth Acknowledging: Twilight by Meg Cabot

This time it’s life or death.

Suze has gotten used to ghosts. She’s a mediator, after all, and communicating with the dead is all in a day’s work. So she certainly never expected to fall in love with one: Jesse, a nineteenth-century hottie. But when she discovers that she has the power to determine who becomes a ghost in the first place, Suze begins to freak. It means she can alter the course of history… and prevent Jesse’s murder, keeping him from ever becoming a ghost – and from ever meeting Suze.

Will Jesse choose to live without her, or die to love her?

Source: GoodReads

What I Remember: 

I tore into this book on a Mediator binge read back when this book was released.  I think it might’ve been the first time I’ve binge read a series.  I rapidly tore through the pages wanting to read what was next.  And the result it made me laugh, cry, and just have so many feels.

Upon Reread:

I am still getting the feels from this book roughly eleven years after the last one was published-God, I don’t like thinking that this book is that old.

It still holds up pretty well though.  In some ways, it’s holds up better than a lot of Cabot’s older titles.  I think it’s because rather than relying on a lot of pop culture references and jokes that other Cabot titles rely on, it really focuses on the story.

And the story is really aw-ing, although there are some plot holes that I noticed on reread.  But I try not to think of them.  Because we all know time travel is a very strange thing thanks to the Doctor, and it’s better to NOT try to make it logical.

Twilight ties up the series very nicely.  So nicely in fact, that when I heard there was going to be a new book, I was a little nervous.

Because Twilight ends just perfectly.

That last chapter, every single time I read it I just tear up.  It makes some one a little weary seeing how things are going to progress with these characters.

Especially since there was a point in time where Meg said that no one would want her to write a sequel, since bad things would happen to the characters.

Who knows though?

All I know is that Twilight is pretty much the perfect book.  While I wouldn’t say it’s as action packed as Darkest Hour, there is a lot of action in it AND more importantly it’s a very emotional book.  Things are nicely tied up in this installment and can’t help but make you cry with tears of happiness.

Overall Rating: An A+

The Book That Tricked Many Into Thinking It Was the First in the Series: Haunted by Meg Cabot

Is it possible to be haunted by someone who isn’t even dead?

Suze is used to trouble, but this time she’s in deep: Ghostly Jesse has her heart, but Paul Slater, a real flesh-and-blood guy, is warm for her form. And mediator Paul knows how to send Jesse to the Great Beyond. For good.

Paul claims he won’t do anything to Jesse as long as Suze will go out with him. Fearing she’ll lose Jesse forever, Suze agrees. But even if Suze can get Jesse to admit his true feelings for her, what kind of future can she have with a guy who’s already dead?

Source: GoodReads

First, Mediator news.  Apparently, Meg is posting a little short story that called The Proposal in the Mediator universe in January.  Obviously, I have already preordered it-though I don’t know if I’ll get to it in January since I’ll be bar studying (we’ll see).

What I Remember:

I really thought this was the first book in the series when I first read it.  And I liked Paul.  I thought he’d be the end game, only because I didn’t know how Suze and Jesse would get together even though I shipped Juze to the end.  Paul wasn’t quite offensive in this book as he is in book four and six.  And you sort of do think he’d be a worthy rival once he grew up a little (spoiler alert: he never did).


Okay, so Haunted is a bit of a downer after Darkest Hour.  Darkest Hour is like a book full of adrenaline, in Haunted the action is much more subdued.  It’s not a bad book (I give it a high rating), but rather than focusing on the action it’s more of the let’s focus on building the love triangle book.

Luckily, Meg Cabot doesn’t fall into a lot of the same pitfalls that a lot of offers do in love triangle center books.  I think it’s mainly because Suze has made up her mind, and more or less this love triangle is about do you settle for something you can have or hold out for something that is feasibly impossible.

It’s actually an interesting approach to a love triangle, especially since Suze’s mind is pretty much made up.

But it is still a love triangle, and love triangles pretty much suck.

The ghost episodic feel of the book is kind of a downer.  You just have a grossly immature ghost who isn’t really that big of an issue.

This is also the first book where Suze calls her stepbrothers by their names.  Honestly, I wish she would’ve kept on calling Dopey Dopey.  I can get why she calls Sleepy and Doc by their names, but Dopey deserved to be called Dopey.

Just saying,

More mediator or should I say shifter mythos is explored which is nice because we needed that.  However, while Jesse was definitely in the last book, I felt like he was missing a bit from this one.

While there are a lot of things about Haunted that are filler, it’s that filler that’s needed.  I really wish the series was allowed to go like it was originally planned to, because I feel like it would’ve made it stronger in some points.  And I think it might’ve somewhat jilted Haunted, but whatever.

Overall Rating: A B+  I could’ve dealt with more, but it’ll do.

The Great Mediator Reread: Shadowland by Meg Cabot

A few months ago I reread all of the Princess Diaries series in anticipation of the adult installment that was released back in June.  I decided to do the same thing with The Mediator series-which I actually prefer to Diaries.  The seventh book will be released in February 2016.  Between now and then, I’ll be reading one book of the series a month (well, reviewing, there will probably be a point in time where I’ll binge read the rest of the series because that’s just how I do things).

There’s a hot guy in Susannah Simon’s bedroom. Too bad he’s a ghost.

Suze is a mediator – a liaison between the living and the dead. In other words, she sees dead people. And they won’t leave her alone until she helps them resolve their unfinished business with the living. But Jesse, the hot ghost haunting her bedroom, doesn’t seem to need her help. Which is a relief, because Suze has just moved to sunny California and plans to start fresh, with trips to the mall instead of the cemetery, and surfing instead of spectral visitations.

But the very first day at her new school, Suze realizes it’s not that easy. There’s a ghost with revenge on her mind… and Suze happens to be in the way.

Source: GoodReads

Original Reading Experience: 

I actually first read this book after I read the fifth one.  Long story short, the publication of this series was a little weird.  So I only started picking them up after they were published under Meg Cabot’s name, and I thought Haunted was a standalone.  I am glad to say it’s not though-a stand alone.  However, when you first read this book after the fifth one things can feel a little disjointed.


It was enjoyable.  I’ll admit that this book did feel a bit watered down to some YA books I’ve read.  The prose seemed relatively simple to what I’ve been reading lately.  And it’s short, not even three hundred pages.  But it still worked.

As far as Meg Cabot books go, this one wasn’t terribly dated.  Often when I reread her stuff-especially The Princess Diaries series-I cringe when I read some of the outdated pop culture references.  Shadowland had a few, but not near as many as other books.

Some of the jokes are way stale though.  And I really find Brad, the homophobe, offensive.  Grant it, at the time of publication his offensiveness was more common than it is now.  And at least Suze tells him off for it, but still Dopey is an ass.

Suze is still fantastic as she was all those years ago.  I still want her life.  Her boots.  And most importantly Jesse.  I really enjoy how the romance isn’t in your face in the first installment.  It’s amusing how Suze is not head over heals in love with him.

Or the fact that Jesse doesn’t overwhelm the plot.  That in itself is refreshing. And I love how Cabot just depicts him altogether.  A lot of the time out of time heros come off as being a little stiff at best (at worst borderline offensive), but Jesse just works.

But what I found to be the most interesting thing upon reread is how short books can work.  Too often in today’s YA world we’re dealt with omnibus tomes that can just go on and on forever.  Doing something short and concise is no easy feat and Cabot does it.

As for the ghost: Oh, Heather.  As far as ghosts go she’s one of least memorable ghosts in this series, but she does set a nice introduction to the art of mediation.  She is a bit of a cliche though.  But I can deal with that since it’s the first book.

Overall, a nice reread and fairly strong start to my favorite YA series.

Overall Reread Score: A-

The Bastardization of the Mediator Series: Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto

From the New York Times bestselling author of Halo comes the start of a beautiful and powerful new series.

After the loss of her mother, Chloe Kennedy starts seeing the ghosts that haunted her as a young girl again. Spending time at her grandmother’s country estate in the south of England is her chance to get away from her grief and the spirits that haunt her. Until she meets a mysterious stranger…

Alexander Reade is 157 years dead, with secrets darker than the lake surrounding Grange Hall and a lifelike presence that draws Chloe more strongly than any ghost before. But the bond between them awakens the vengeful spirit of Alexander’s past love, Isobel. And she will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who threatens to take him from her.

To stop Isobel, Chloe must push her developing abilities to their most dangerous limits, even if it means losing Alex forever… and giving the hungry dead a chance to claim her for their own.

Source: GoodReads

MJ: I think this is the year to fuck up with Meg Cabot series.  First the Princess Diaries series got fucked over by Royally Lost and now Alexandra Adornetto is bastardizing The Mediator series.

Why?  Alexandra Adornetto of all people?

What was Harlequin Teen thinking?  Maybe they recommend the series to Adornetto so that she could get a feeling of what a strong female character but…

You know what, I’ve done enough talking.  I think it’s time to take this review to today’s guest host.  I don’t own property rights to her or her handsome costar since I’m not the great Meg Cabot, but I do envy her sassy sense of dressing, her non-jerky not so dead boyfriend, and her penchant for headbutting ghost.  Give a hand to Ms. Susannah Simon.

Suze Simon: I thought this was suppose to be a lecture on how to ghost bust?

MJ: It’s actually more of a tutorial session.  I mean, you’re going to be teaching someone how to ghost bust.  Someone grossly incompetent.

Suze: I’m assuming that’s not you.

MJ: Obviously, not.  I’ve watched enough episodes of Ghost Adventures to know it’s a bad idea to provoke ghosts and run around like a girl.  And oh, static is so a spirit on the other side trying to talk to you.

Suze (rolls eyes): Reality television.  So, if I’m not here to teach you then who am I teaching?

MJ: Well, Chloe from Ghost House of course.

Suze: Oh, fuck.

MJ: Jesse wouldn’t approve.

Suze: Oh, Jesse can deal.  I don’t want to teach her.

Chloe: Why not?

Suze: Because it’s obvious that you read my story and didn’t listen to any of my advice.

Chloe: I found a boy in my haunted bedroom, didn’t I?  He has an accent and is British.  So, obviously that’s more exciting then your lame-o hot Spanish ghost in your bedroom.

Suze:  Um, my ghost lame.  No.  Resounding no.  Your boyfriend on the other hand, what a chauvinist pig.

Chloe: He’s old fashion.

Suze: There’s a difference between being old fashioned and chauvinist.  And your boyfriend (or insta crush since all you do is notice how good looking he is) is a pig.  Seriously, he says your friends are skanks and you’re totally okay with it?  Do you know what I’d do to Jesse if he did that?

Chloe: Um, not be friends with them anymore.

Suze: No, I’d tell him that he needed to get over it or we weren’t going to be together anymore.  And Jesse would get over it.  Because he’s just that type of guy.

Chloe: But…what sort of relationship is that when you argue and make compromise?

Suze: Argue?  I’m just asking him to respect my friends it’s what a decent person would do.  And I for one would never trash my friends behind their backs.

Chloe: Well, they are silly.

Suze: MJ, why am I here again?

MJ: To teach Chloe the trade of the ghost busting business so she won’t get killed.  Consider it community service.

Suze: Why can’t Slater do it?  He needs to do some community service.  I mean, he almost sent my boyfriend to hell multiple times.

MJ: Fine, Paul get your ass over here.

Chloe (giggly): He’s handsome.  Now, I’m in an actual love triangle.

Slater: Simon…

Suze: Unformed character who thinks pretty people=love.  Let’s talk Paul, what do we do when we have a rowdy ghost?  Do we moan and let other ghosts try to solve our problems?

Slater: Hell, no.  We exorcise the son of a bitch.

Chloe: Exorcise?

Slater: And you call yourself a shifter.

Suze: Mediator.

MJ: Actually, in this book guys it’s called medium.  Which is actually a fairly common term.  But you’re right in the fact that there seemed to be little to no rules when it came to the world building.  I mean, Chloe can just randomly do things like go back in time. Of course, she has a seizure during this which makes little to no sense but…

Slater: Going back to time is difficult.  It took us six books.  And it just didn’t happen random.  There’s a science behind it.

MJ: I’m just saying.

Slater: I’m sure you are, babe.

MJ: You’re too young for me.

Slater: Actually, I’m being aged up in a sequel so if you want my contact info…

MJ (blushes at her one bad boy literary crush): Um, yeah.  I mean, no.  I mean, yeah.  Just to do an interview of course.  Got to keep a blogger professionalism going.

Suze: Don’t fall for it.

MJ: I never said I was.  Though he’s going to be legal though and he is unattached.

Suze: Jesse was always legal.

Chloe: And Alex is legal.  And he’s perfect.  I knew as soon as I saw that golden hair, those blue eyes, that it was meant to be.  And he always saves me.  And doctors me up in his own old fashion…

Suze: What did you just say?

Chloe: I said he fixed my injuries..

Suze: You so got that out of my book.

Chloe: I bet Jesse didn’t ask you questions about why women read Cosmo?

Suze: Actually, he did.

Chloe: Danced when no one could see you?

Suze: Did.

Chloe: Had weird thoughts about having sex with a ghost?

Suze: Regrettably, yes.

Slater: Ew, Suze, ew.  And as for you, did you too do anything original?  I mean, Simon and Rico Suave and pretty vanilla when it comes to the romance department, but they did have a bit of a werido relationship that’s only theirs to create.  I mean, couldn’t you do something like…go on a picnic on the moors?

Chloe: But what would we eat?

Slater: Picnics aren’t all about food, Chloe, if you know what I mean.  Hey, MJ, picnic?

Suze: You leave her alone.

Slater: No, way Simon. But you know, you really could’ve done more to show off England.  I get it rains all the time and according to you the food sucks, and it’s all about Prince Harry.  But there’s really more to that country.

Chloe: Like what, bangers and mash?

Suze: Like a thousand plus years of history.  You could do a better job showing said history. Have some anglo-Saxon ghosts.  But of course you get your boring Heathcliff wannabe.  Well, he’s probably not a Heathcliff wannabe since he doesn’t kill puppies.

Slater: Was that really necessary, Simon?

Suze: You can’t ignore details when it comes to ghosts, Paul.  You know that.

Slater: True.  But they were living the moment.

Suze: Yeah, until his ‘evil’ ex girlfriend or dead girlfriend since they didn’t actually break up was in there.

Slater: Don’t be too hard on her, Maria was a bitch too.  Remember?

Suze: But that was different, I didn’t blame Maria for all her mistakes.  Diego  was just as responsible for putting Jesse in the ground.  Isabelle did nothing but  cheat on her husband with Alex.  But instead of Alex getting any of the blame, it’s all Isabelle’s fault that every thing went to shit.  Also, I love how she appears this decomposing monster and he looks like a supermodel.

Slater: I personally, thought de Silva had a maggot in his nose.  The evil ones are always ugly.

Suze: Yes, just look at yourself in the mirror.  But seriously, there’s nothing in the world that tells why Isabelle looks the way she does while Alex looks perfect.

Chloe: Because he’s good.

Suze: Whatever. And your medium powers.  Just randomly come up.   Aided by supposed paranormal investigators who have no respect for your privacy.

Slater: I so would’ve exorcised them.

Suze: A headbutt would’ve done just fine.

Chloe: They were just trying to help.

Suze: They almost killed you.  You lack common sense.

Chloe: So, what am I suppose to do then?  I mean, really?

MJ: That’s a hard one for me to answer.  I mean, I really don’t have much control over your future Chloe.  And neither do Suze and Paul.

Chloe: Then why are we staging this intervention?  It was just for you to hook up with a fictional character, wasn’t it?

MJ: Um, no.  But that was a perk.  Actually, it was to point out the flaws of this book.  And how eerily similar it was to The Mediator series.  Which you’d think would be a great thing, since that series is probably one of the best paranormal YA series out there.  The thing is, even though it’s a blatant ripoff, it still reeks of Alexandra Adornetto’s signature faux pas regarding misogynic  views  and insta love.  Though, I will give Ally’s new editors this, they cut a lot of the purple prose out.  Oh, it’s still there.  But it’s much more bearable now.

Chloe: So, this has no purpose?  Other than to show what a flop of a character I am.

MJ: Well, yeah.

Slater: OOh, burn.  MJ, totally taking you out to dinner  for that.

Suze: This flirting is just getting sick now.

MJ: It’s my fantasy.  It’s not sick to me.  Though, I do get why you’d be sick of it.  He’s Slater after all.

Suze: Yeah, well, good luck, Chloe.  You’re going to need it.  You seem incompetent about ghosts, in a world that’s building is pretty much a house of cards.  Also, if you stay with the chauvinist your never going to grow as a person.  Especially since he’s dead.

Chloe: Well, you got with a dead guy.

Suze: Used to be dead.  And on that note, I got to go seventh book and all and I really don’t want to be around those two-wait, did they already leave( looks out the window and sees MJ and Slater getting into Slater’s Porsche obviously to do something non-book related).   Ew!

Chloe: This is going to be me sitting here all by myself isn’t it?

No one answers.  Then suddenly a ghostly voice starts calling Chloe’s name.  Cue “spooky” music.

Chloe: Who’s there.

Ghost: Your future.

Chloe( frowns as the ghost gets clearer): NO!  NO!  NO! I don’t want to end up you.  I don’t want to have sex for the first time with alligators and be obsessed with a boy with nut color hair.

Bethany: But don’t you love Alex.  Aren’t his eyes so blue.

Chloe: Well, yeah, but what I feel for Alex..he’s so.  Damn, it.  I’m just like you am I.

Bethany: Pretty much.

Chloe: Do they have any vodka around here?

Bethany (looks at Chloe aghast): You’re underage that would make us a drunk harlot.

Chloe (grabs MJ’s vodka): Oh, screw you.  If I’m going to be like you at least I can be drunk throughout the entire process. And it’s totally legal in the UK, dumb bunny.  Even I know that and I didn’t realize that 911 was different there.

Overall Rating: I’m giving it a D.  Adornetto has improved technically, I’ll give her that, but her handling of character development and sensitive subject matters still sucks.  While this won’t quite offend so many people as her Halo trilogy did, it’s still going to get people like me drunk and into the convertible of a former YA bad boy who turns out to be quite the good kisser even if he’s a bit slimy.