#TKBMovie - The Kissing Booth 3 is here and it’s the End of an Era…



In the summer of 2011, in the middle of my GCSE exams, I started writing a book that would change my whole life.


At that point, I was fifteen years old and every teen romance novel I picked up was Twilight-era paranormal and every one of them seemed to involve a love triangle - specifically with a male best friend. Don’t get me wrong, I loved these books, and I read plenty of them - but at some point, I was tired of it. 


I wanted a regular high school romance, where the guy best friend wasn’t a love interest. 


And when I couldn’t find that story to read, I wrote it.


That’s how The Kissing Booth was born.




Now the idea of ‘I’m going to write a book’ didn’t feel like some kind of scary, revolutionary concept to me back then. I’ve loved writing stories for as long as I can remember (I was writing Harry Potter fanfiction when I was seven years old, long before I’d ever hear the term ‘fanfiction’) and when my parents gave me an old laptop to do homework when I was 11, I began using it to write stories.


I didn’t tell anybody that’s what I was doing. I’d say I was doing homework or, later, that I was on Facebook. I’d write at night, learning to touch type in the dark after everyone else in the house was fast asleep, when they thought I was fast asleep too. When I discovered the online story-sharing platform Wattpad in 2010, I lurked on there as a reader for a while before plucking up the courage to anonymously post a story I’d been working on. And again - that didn’t feel like some revolutionary thing. I was on Tumblr during SuperWhoLock era and I was anonymous on there. This was just like that, at the beginning.


Then, a few months later, I start writing this story about a girl with a fun-loving male best friend she’s not going to fall in love with, who’s going to have her first kiss with the best friend’s bad-boy older brother at a school carnival kissing booth.


A few chapters in, I save the file. I call it ‘The Kissing Booth’ so I’ll remember which story it is, and figure I’ll come up with a better title later. I write a few more chapters, realise how much I’m enjoying it and that this is one of my stories that won’t fizzle out ten pages in because these characters are so alive - they’re occupying so much space in my head and my mind is teeming with more and more ideas of big emotional moments or funny one-liners between them that I’m compelled to write their story.


And I think, hey, I’m already on Wattpad. Maybe someone else will enjoy reading this too.


I had a small following of 1,000 people on Wattpad when I posted those first three chapters. ‘I hope you like it!’ I wrote in a note at the end. And I did. I really hoped whoever read it liked it.


If they didn’t?


Meh. So what? For the most part, I’d found Wattpad a community where, if people didn’t like the book, they just stopped reading. They wouldn’t both to leave nasty comments or tell you how rubbish it was. (Something that’s changed more recently given the massive profile TKB has, but that’s okay. It’s still only a small percentage.)


Equally, I knew if people commented ‘love this!’ And ‘OMG, can’t wait for the next chapter!’ - they really meant it. They weren’t being nice, trying to spare my feelings because they were my friend or something. These people didn’t even know my first name. They didn’t know where I was from or how old I was or what I looked like or anything except my nickname - ‘Reekles’ - and that I was writing this story called The Kissing Booth.




It started small, and I’d reply to everyone who followed me on Wattpad. ‘Thanks for being a fan!’ I’d message them. I’d upload a chapter every few days in the evening, before bed, and read the comments before school the next morning, trying to reply to as many as possible.


About halfway through the book, after a chapter ending in a massive cliffhanger where bestie Lee discovered that main character Elle and big brother Noah had been lying to him, I woke up the next morning to hundreds of comments.


At that point, I realised it was getting out of control. That my book was popular. That people - lots of people - really loved my book. That maybe, that pipe dream that had lived in the back of my head since I was a bookish six-year-old of ‘maybe one day it’d be nice to have a book published’, might not be such an outlandish idea anymore. Maybe I might get published.


Obviously, I didn’t think it’d happen quite the way it did.




Skip forward - the book grew in popularity with almost 20 million reads worldwide, I mentioned what I was doing to my family and some people at school, got hired via Wattpad for my first paid piece of writing, keep writing stories and keep posting on Wattpad, send off my university applications and then a week later, get a message on Wattpad from an editor at Penguin Random House saying she wanted to publish my book, six weeks later have the ebook come out just before Christmas - suddenly, I’m a published author.


That was December 2012, and I was seventeen years old. By March, we'd sold the movie rights to a UK production company. By August, my second book was published but people were still eating up the buzz around The Kissing Booth. By September, I’d started my Physics degree at Exeter University and my editor was discussing a deadline for my third book.




For the past ten years, I’ve lived this strange sort of double life. 


I did my exams, got my Physics degree, worked for a while in finance and then in IT logging on for my normal 9-5 office job, settling in to watch Love Island every summer and go to the pub with my friends. I did laundry and housework and homework and watched Gogglebox with my family when I went home to visit and wrote Game of Thrones fanfic in my spare time.


I went to Cape Town to the set of my movie, flew out to Sao Paulo and then Rio for a weekend to do book signings where I was so well known that people queued for hours to get an autograph, I went to New York and Canada with Wattpad - my parents tagging along both times - and spoke on a panel at YALC in 2014 (and again just last week!). I did a TEDx Talk in London, which, for someone whose childhood friends used to tell her she told boring stories, was a moment of real triumph and also complete terror. I wrote and published new stories, becoming a bestselling author.


And as for The Kissing Booth? Well, in the last ten years it’s become a five book series and has three Netflix movie adaptations. It’s been published in around a dozen different languages and now when people find out I’m a writer and say, ‘Oh, have you written anything I might’ve heard of?’ - nine times out of ten, they have heard of it.


I’ve been working on a Kissing Booth book or waiting for the next one to be published for the last ten years. These characters and their story have been a massive part of my life, and the Netflix movies have made it a truly magical and incredible experience, with the story reaching tens of millions worldwide.




When I finished the edits on The Kissing Booth 3: One Last Time, and when I watched the third movie for the first time a couple of weeks ago, I sobbed my heart out. I felt like I was grieving - and I was. This is all ten years in the making, ten years of Elle and Lee and Noah, and now… Now, it’s all come to an end. It’s the final chapter in their story.


It’s the end of an era.


Honestly? I’m not sure how I feel about that. More than ten years of my life when I’m 26 years old is a pretty big chunk of my life. These characters and these books have been with me through so much and have brought me so many life-changing and unforgettable moments. I know I’m going to miss it and I know it’s going to be hard to ‘let go’, but equally, I’m ready - and excited - to embrace what’s next.


As for what’s next? Don’t worry, you’ll find out soon enough. I’ve got plenty of things to tell you about in the next post, in a couple of days.




The Kissing Booth 3 is out now on Netflix, and the novel, The Kissing Booth 3: One Last Time is out in paperback, ebook and audiobook - if you’re not sure where to get it, here’s a master list I compiled of all the links you could possibly need, even for different countries and different languages. 


I think it’s the perfect ending to the series, and I really hope you all agree. You can let me know what you think over on Instagram or Twitter, and keep an eye on my YouTube for more content, too.

It’s the end of an era.

But I’m so, so ready for the beginning of everything else.


1 comment:

  1. I love the kissing booth but I think we need closure sing them to really back together permanently this is so heart wrenching watching them split up I think we need to see a happy or sad please do a fourth for closure

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