Featured Review: Kiss Collector (Wendy Higgins)
About This Book:
When seventeen-year-old Zae Monroe gets cheated on by the only guy she’s ever loved, then watches her parents' marriage crumble, she decides to forget about relationships and turn the tables on the boys of the world. It’s time to take what she wants, and what she wants are kisses. Athletes, musicians, poets, and bad boys—their lips are all on her agenda, and it's time to collect.
Zae proposes a contest with her friends to see who can kiss the most boys during spring break. But what starts as a harmless competition leads to a downward spiral she can’t seem to break free of. As family, academic, friend, and guy drama come to a head, Zae is forced to face the reasons behind her boy angst, and starts to wonder if she was wrong about the male race...or at least some of them.
*Review Contributed By Kim Baccellia Staff Reviewer*
Seventeen-year-old Zae Monroe's not thinking too highly of romance. Her parents are having marital problems and then she catches her boyfriend cheating. She's had it with serious relationships. So she comes up with a contest to see who can collect the most kisses. There are no strings attached. Just a good kiss. What at first seems as a way to get back at those who wronged her, becomes a series of dramas.
What worked: This is a fun, light romance. I really liked the premise of girls just having fun and not being tied down in a relationship. Zae's way to get over the hurt of guys who wronged her involves having a 'kiss list'. Then she shares this with her friends to see who can get the most kisses without getting serious. Only things kind of backfire. Zae's journey starts with opening up to some guys she might have avoided. She finds that maybe not all guys are the 'bad' one.
One of the big strengths of this novel has to be the snappy dialogue and realistic high school backdrop. Not all agree with Zae's idea of girls just having fun. There is one scene where a guy misinterprets her attention and how someone else stops what might have turned ugly. Higgins has strong characters that aren't two dimensional.
Another strength has to be the chemistry that does build between Zae and Joel. Joel comes off at first as the 'bad' boy of the school, but readers learn that it's more complicated than that. I really liked the exchanges between Zae and Joel. There is a slow burn between them that ends with a satisfying conclusion.
Sweet romance and how what started off as a quest for boy revenge turns into a heroine taking charge of her own life.