Before And After: First Kiss – A Guest Post With Jennifer Castle

Today Jennifer Castle, author of The Beginning of After, is here on the blog to talk about her first kiss and that definitive “before and after” moment. I so related to this one as I was one who was among the last of my group of friends to have my first kiss. I finally thought I had “arrived”….although Jennifer’s  first kiss was much more interesting than mine!

In middle school, my friends and I watched “General Hospital” and scored the kisses, grossed out yet totally captivated. A few years later, most of the girls I knew had gone to first base, or at least claimed to, and us virgin-lips were left to watch the end of “Sixteen Candles” 400 times and simply imagine.

By 11th grade, it still hadn’t happened for me. My never-been-kissed status burned like a scarlet NK on my chest and I was sure it showed. The worst part was the wondering: Why couldn’t I have what everyone else does? Could guys see what I’ve always feared…that there was something kind of just a little bit wrong with me?

That year, my high school did a bi-annual exchange trip with a school outside of Paris. Thirty of us went over for three weeks, and on one of our last nights in France, there was a big farewell party. I hoped, like I always did, that something exciting might happen, so I put on my best something-could-happen outfit: neon turquoise top, black-and-turquoise pinstriped Sassoon jeans, and turquoise legwarmers. I mean, with a rig like that, how could something not?

And, actually, miraculously, something did.

Out of nowhere, one of the French guys — I knew who he was, but had dismissed him as way too hot for me — pulled me off the dance floor. We chatted haltingly in two languages and after a few minutes, a slow song came on and he led me back to the dance floor and…well, let’s just say that I found out quickly why a certain kind of kissing is named after a whole nation of people. When the song was done, he asked if we could go somewhere alone together. In my Day-Glo awesomeness, I ran for my life.

I wish I could spin this into the stuff of swoonable YA novels. But alas…my school group left France two days later and when the French kids came to visit us in New York, I was too consumed with embarrassment/excitement/fear to ever talk to him again. (Alexi, if by some bizarre chance you’re reading this, I’m sorry for being a freak. That could have been a fun few weeks.)

Still, my world had shifted. Of course, the rumors flew and I became known for a while as the Girl Who Hooked Up With A Smokin’ French Dude, and that looked much better on me than turquoise legwarmers. But the real change was this: Before that night, life just seemed like a movie starring everyone I knew — a movie I could only sit back and watch. Before that boy grabbed my hand so unexpectedly, I didn’t know what I had to offer and if anyone would ever in a million years want it.

After, I had my very own proof that random moments of magic do happen in life. That fantasy and fiction can indeed become reality. That my hand was worth taking somewhere. And once I knew that, it all started for me. Anything became possible, simply because I knew it was.

About The Beginning Of After:

The Beginning of AfterLaurel’s world changes instantly when her parents and brother are killed in a terrible car accident. Behind the wheel is the father of her bad-boy neighbor, David Kaufman, whose mother is also killed. Now, Laurel must navigate a new world in which she and her best friend grow apart, boys may or may not be approaching her out of pity, overpowering memories lurk everywhere, and Mr. Kaufman is comatose but still very much alive. Through it all, there is David, who swoops in and out of Laurel’s life and to whom she finds herself attracted against her better judgment. She will forever be connected to him by their mutual loss, a connection that will change them both in unexpected ways.

So guys, now that Jennifer has dished….tell me your first kiss stories!! 

Check out Book Labyrinth on August 31 for the next stop on the tour.

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. Love that story! And it was with a Frenchman, no less. Though I can feel the awkwardness that came later, it's still a great "first kiss" story.

    I was also one of the last in my group of friends to be kissed and just wanted to get it over with, more or less. My first smooch was with my "boyfriend" (you know, the guy I talked to on the phone and held hands with in the hallway at school) when I was 15. It was a quick peck on the lips just after Christmas, and I count it even though it happened very quickly and is sort of embarrassing to look back on now!

    I flipped out afterward and told everyone, "He kissed me!" I literally danced around like a Disney character and even made that proclamation to my dad. Awk-ward.

  2. Great story! Really enjoyed it. Haven't had my first kiss yet but looking forward to it.

  3. Great guest post! 😀 I love her story and it's so much more interesting than mine too!

  4. Chrisbails says:

    Great post. The book looks great and would love to win. This is a new author for me and am always looking for new reads.
    My first kiss was with my older cousins best friend. His name was Wayne and I thought I was in love. A couple of months later I found out he kissed my other best friend cousin. I was not happy. That same cousin also ended up going out with another guy that I had dated. At the time I was so mad at her, but I love her to death and everyone makes mistakes.
    Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win.

  5. Chris — There isn't a giveaway for this one unfortunately. 🙁 I checked over the post to see if I put anything in there about a giveaway but I didn't see that I put anything. However, I will gladly send you my ARC if you email me with your address! 🙂

  6. Jacinda (The Reading Housewives) says:

    Such a cute first kiss story 🙂 Even though it can't be turned into a YA novel, lol.

    My first french kiss:
    I was in 6th or 7th grade (not 100% sure) and it happened on a trampoline with other people watching…not very romantic. I also later on that day, tried to dye my hair purple with kool-aid.

  7. Safari Poet says:

    Great guest post! Mine isn't worth telling.

    New follower!

  8. Lynn Marie says:

    LOVE this story. This Post idea. ALL OF IT. Awesome job!

    My first kiss came at my cousins birthday party. She had it at the Moose Lodge (odd, I know) and her friend Billy and I quickly became friends. We slow danced and talked and then he asked me outside for "air". I was SO excited I even told my mom I was going out "For air" and she gave me a thumbs up. Yeah, my moms a rockstar. lol! After several minutes we came back in to find my cousin in tears. Apparently she was "in love" with him. Much to all of our surprise. After the lodge asked us to pray for the "moose children" I was more than ready to sneak another kiss with Billy and head home! (Yes, I know this makes me sound evil…but boys didn't like me 🙁 So this was kind of a big deal!)

  9. thatcovergirl says:

    My first kiss was awful. It's so awful I can't even remember the guy's name (not that I was like some sort of lip slut or anything). Mr. Kiss and I shared homeroom together during the 7th grade, and he constantly teased and harassed me in that fun-loving, "I really like you" kind of way.

    On the last day of school before we were let out for the summer, the tension kind of bubbled up and we ended up making out right outside of homeroom. He just went for it, smashed me up against a wall, and you guessed it — drooled all over my face. He had one of those slobbery tongues but thank goodness he wasn't handsy. It was really, really gross.