Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 5061
Focuses More on Family Than Romance
(Updated: February 18, 2013)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
What I Loved:
As I began reading Kiss Me Again, I was initially highly concerned. I really liked the direction that Charlie was heading in at the end of If We Kiss. She had finally managed to make a step away from her unhealthy crush on boy-flirt Kevin Lazarus, which was really good timing, too, since her mom and his dad just got married. Then, I open the next book and there she is obsessing over kissing Kevin again. Vail does, though, quickly convince me that the story is actually going where it needs to go, and Kiss Me Again turns out to be a touching story more about family dynamics than romance.

Now that they're step-siblings, Charlie and Kevin have a serious conundrum, since they are teens who have kissed one another and would like to do that more. The romance, while perhaps the most obvious element of the story, does not dominate the other aspects by any means. Charlie and Kevin both grow a lot in their dealings with romantic relationships, Kevin learning to be more mindful and less of a flirt, while Charlie refuses to lead on a friend with a crush on her. Their surprisingly mature actions, especially in comparison with the events of If We Kiss really impressed me and made me much more sympathetic than I was previously.

Settling into a new family is difficult. The Lazarus family moves into the house Charlie and her mother have been in. Charlie has to share a bathroom for the first time in her life, and deal with the fact that the soap is now often wet from someone else (which is totally gross, I agree, girl). With her mom, Charlie didn't have many chores, but Joe Lazarus, her new step-father, believes in everyone doing their share. Joe is also much less lenient than her mother.

What's great, though, is that Vail highlights both the struggles and discomforts of these two families blending, and the wonderful parts. Most touching, I think is the affection shown by all towards Samantha, Kevin's younger sister. They all try to be there for her. Never is this better illustrated than when she loses one of her baby teeth. While she's sleeping, Charlie slips a dollar under her pillow. In the morning, Sam happily announces that the tooth fairy left her four dollars this time, and you realize that all four other family members left her a dollar for her tooth. Much as they may all have moments where they wish the marriage hadn't happened, ultimately, they are all making the best of it and taking good care of one another.

One of the trickiest things for Charlie to overcome in this change is that she has less time to spend with her mom. They're still trying to work out a nice balance of mother-daughter time when the book ends, but they are working on it. I mention this because Kiss Me Again has one of the best scenes (meaning incredibly awkward) where a parent tries to discuss sexuality with the child.

What Left Me Wanting (A Slight Bit) More:
Charlie also grows as a person on two more fronts. She gets a job, all through her own motivation and earns her first ever money. In a whole other realm of life, she learns a bit about friendship. Though her backstabbing of Tess in If We Kiss cannot be forgiven, that does not necessarily make Tess a good friend either. In Kiss Me Again, Charlie's starting to realize how imbalanced and unhealthy her relationship with Tess is. I do think that this lets Charlie off the hook a little bit too easily, perhaps an attempt to make her more sympathetic, but it's a good lesson for teens about friendship, and how insidiously terrible for your self-esteem a supposed best friend can be.

The Final Verdict:
Rachel Vail's follow-up to If We Kiss greatly improves on its predecessor. If you were on the fence about reading the second one, I would recommend it. Charlie's voice finds its stride here, and the focus on family makes this a rare, powerful young adult read.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Colors of Habitats
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The brand-new sequel to a well-reviewed bestseller that has been...
Noble Thief (Fantasy and Fairytales Book 6)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A prince of two kingdoms. A woman fighting against the...
10 Truths and a Dare
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
It's Senior Party Week, that magical in-between time after classes...
All These Bodies
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sixteen bloodless bodies. Two teenagers. One impossible explanation. ...
The Beautiful Ones
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
They are the Beautiful Ones, Loisail’s most notable socialites, and...
I Am the Shark
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
What makes the great white shark (one of) the greatest...
Made in Korea
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Frankly in Love meets Shark Tank in this feel-good romantic...
Take Me Home Tonight
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off meets Nick and Nora’s Infinite...
The People We Choose
 
3.3
 
5.0 (1)
When 17-year-old Calliope meets her new neighbor Max, their...
Hurricane Summer
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
In this sweeping debut, Asha Bromfield takes readers to...
Slingshot
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
An exciting debut contemporary young adult novel perfect for...
The Keeper of Night
 
0.0
 
5.0 (1)
Death is her destiny. Half...
The Girls are Never Gone
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Conjuring meets Sadie when seventeen-year-old podcaster Dare takes an...
White Smoke
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Haunting of Hill House meets Get Out in this...
All Kinds of Other
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
In this tender, nuanced coming-of-age love story, two boys—one...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Antipodes is a unique work of fiction, set in present-day...

Latest Member Reviews

Colors of Habitats
 
4.0
"COLORS OF HABITATS is a beautifully illustrated oversized book of inspiration for artists. The book walks through different habitats from..."
10 Truths and a Dare
 
3.7
"10 TRUTHS AND A DARE is a book about family and owning up to your mistakes. Olivia is about to..."
The Beautiful Ones
 
4.0
"It's the start of Grand Season and Nina's chance to join the Beautiful Ones, Loisail's notable socialites, hasn't gone well...."
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin #1)
 
5.0
"This was... one of the best books I've read in a long time. It was one of my absolute favorite..."
Yes No Maybe So
 
5.0
"I should start by saying I don't normally read books involving politics because I read to escape real life. That..."
I Am the Shark
 
4.7
"I AM THE SHARK is a fun and educational picture book about self-confidence. A great white shark is introducing the..."
The Bachmann Family Secret
 
3.0
"This book had some good ideas, especially a young man coming to terms with his sexuality, but it felt somewhat..."
Made in Korea
 
4.7
"MADE IN KOREA is a sweet romantic-comedy about competition, family, and reaching for your dreams. Valerie runs a very successful..."
The Keeper of Night
 
5.0
"HOW I GOT MY HUSBAND BACK WITH THE HELP OF DR.IFADE CONTACT ON WHATS_APP NUMBER +1(551)333-5249. OR HIS EMAIL ..."
Perfectly Parvin
 
5.0
"PERFECTLY PARVIN is a laugh-out-loud, charming YA contemporary fiction read. Parvin is about to begin her freshman year of high..."
Thirty Talks Weird Love
 
5.0
"******PLEASE READ***** URGENT EFFECTIVE LOVE SPELL TO GET YOUR EX BACK FAST AND TO SAVE YOUR..."
Photos Framed: A Fresh Look at the World's Most Memorable Photographs
 
5.0
"******PLEASE READ***** URGENT EFFECTIVE LOVE SPELL TO GET YOUR EX BACK FAST AND TO SAVE YOUR..."
Book Nerd
 
N/A
"******PLEASE READ***** URGENT EFFECTIVE LOVE SPELL TO GET YOUR EX BACK FAST AND TO SAVE YOUR..."
The Love Song of Ivy K. Harlowe
 
3.0
"THE LOVE SONG OF IVY K. HARLOWE is a new adult read about love, pining, and friendship. Andie is 19..."
The People We Choose
 
5.0
"******PLEASE READ***** URGENT EFFECTIVE LOVE SPELL TO GET YOUR EX BACK FAST AND TO SAVE YOUR..."
The Missing: The True Story of My Family in World War II
 
5.0
"My Name Ollis Bator from Tx USA. After 12years of marriage, me and my husband have been into one quarrel..."
Moon & Shadow: A tale of Liamec (Tales of Liamec Book 1)
 
4.3
"Overall, This book was different from anything I've read in a while. It was more like a folktale which was..."
The People We Choose
 
3.3
"THE PEOPLE WE CHOOSE is an intriguing YA contemporary about how we define family. Calliope is nearly 18 years old,..."
The Missing: The True Story of My Family in World War II
 
4.0
"‘The Missing: The True Story of My Family in WWII’ by Michael Rosen shares the story of a family who..."
The Raven and the Dove
 
5.0
"I've honestly had my eye on this book for a while, and finally decided to pick it up. As the..."