Kissing in America

 
3.0
 
2.7 (1)
950 0
Kissing in America
Author(s)
Age Range
14+
Release Date
May 26, 2015
ISBN
0062322370
Buy This Book
      
Acclaimed writer Margo Rabb's Kissing in America is "a wonderful novel about friendship, love, travel, life, hope, poetry, intelligence, and the inner lives of girls," raves internationally bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love). In the two years since her father died, sixteen-year-old Eva has found comfort in reading romance novels—118 of them, to be exact—to dull the pain of her loss that's still so present. Her romantic fantasies become a reality when she meets Will, who understands Eva's grief. Unfortunately, after Eva falls head over heels for him, he picks up and moves to California without any warning. Not wanting to lose the only person who has been able to pull her out of sadness—and, perhaps, her shot at real love—Eva and her best friend, Annie, concoct a plan to travel to the West Coast to see Will again. As they road trip across America, Eva and Annie confront the complex truth about love. In this honest and emotional journey that National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr calls "gorgeous, funny, and joyous," readers will experience the highs of infatuation and the lows of heartache as Eva contends with love in all its forms.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

First Love...?
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
YA Contemporary, KISSING IN AMERICA explores Eva's adventure/road trip into a lot of things. It has all the makings of a pretty romance novel. Will meets Eva. Boy meets girl. Will disappears and leaves for the opposite coast without a distinctive goodbye, and Eva begins to make her plans to chase him across the map. She cleverly manages to get her best friend into this scheme to get Will back, and in the meantime, she writes letters and letters to Will. But will she get him? That's where it gets interesting.

The story starts off with a stuffed exposition and a heavy explanation of Eva's love for romance novels. We dive into Eva's relationship with her mother, who is a feminist and teaches women's studies. We learn about Eva and what happened to her father, who died in an airplane crash and whose body is lost beneath the waves of the ocean. And then disaster really strikes when Eva meets Will, and the plot truly kicks off.

Eva has her head in romance novels. And they aren't particularly any good. In fact, they are very embarrassingly horrible (and none of us would be caught dead reading one). But still, I can understand Eva very well and I sympathize for her. She's a dynamic character, who changes and changes to the very end.

The romance is such a fresh breath of air with realistic qualities. It's unique, and it's different than the other romances in contemporary novels I see most of the time. Though the romance seems to be the first and foremost part of the book (remember: chasing the loved one across America), it's really about Eva herself and the message. It's about friendship. It's about family. It's about mother and daughter relationship. Not about romantic love, though the book does dive a little bit into it and dabbles.

The ending satisfies the entire plot and wraps everything up very neatly. It's nice, and it's simple. And it doesn't bother with the loose ends.

Overall, KISSING IN AMERICA is the story that tells a much different tale than the one someone might see on the cover. This is definitely for those who are looking for a unique tale that doesn't stake everything on romance and first love. This is for those who are looking for something that talks about grief, first love, and most importantly of all, family and friends.

Rating: Three out of Five
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User reviews

1 reviews

Overall rating 
 
2.7
Plot 
 
3.0  (1)
Characters 
 
2.0  (1)
Writing Style 
 
3.0  (1)
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Not my thing
Overall rating 
 
2.7
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
2.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Eva reads a lot of romance novels. 118 to be exact. It’s her comfort, her distraction, and no one has really gotten her. At least until Will, a boy she starts tutoring who she connects with, both of them having lost someone and still dealing with their grief. Eva’s in love. Then Will announces that he’s moving. To California. Eva can’t deal with him leaving before anything ever actually happened between then so she convinces her best friend Annie to apply to be on a reality game show that happens to film close to Will’s new home. To get there, the girls embark on an epic road trip full of strange people, family members, quiz show prep and, of course, boys.

I was really excited to read this book. From the description, it seemed like it would be a great ‘friends on a fun road trip with a little romance’ type of story. I am always up for road trip books, especially when they feature great friendships. It turned out to be more focused on Eva and her supposed epic insta-love than on the girls’ friendship.

Eva wasn’t my favourite character but I didn’t dislike her for the most part. She was very young and impressionable. A lot of times I thought she came across as being a lot younger than she really was. I could understand her being drawn to Will since they did have a connection, and with her romance novel obsession I could even buy into her confusing her feeling for love so quickly, but to plan a trip across the country after kissing once? That was a bit ridiculous. She was a little, maybe more than a little, over the top in love with Will and she was prone to very bad decision making, but there was something about her that also felt real. She was flawed, she made stupid mistakes over a boy, but she learned from them.

Eva’s best friend Annie was actually my favourite character. She let herself get roped into Eva’s idea but she seemed a lot more mature and I felt bad for her, knowing Eva was on the trip because of a boy and supporting Annie came second.

I had a hard time buying into the romance. Eva and Will definitely did bond and they could have been great friends but there was never a real indication of real feelings from either side. Will seemed more like a player and Eva jumped right to the love stage. It never feeling genuine made it hard to get into Eva’s excitement about seeing Will again, which was a huge part of the plot.

What was shown of the road trip, the places they went and the people they met, that was fun. I also liked the different reactions people had to Eva’s love of romance books. Some were accepting and encouraging but others looked down on it and it reminded me of the way some people look down on readers of YA or romance or really any genre they think is less than the genre they read. I loved that Eva stuck to reading what she liked no matter what.

There was also an underlying issue of dealing with grief through the whole book. Eva lost her father in a plane crash a few years ago and the plan had never been recovered. There were constant messages on a board for family of the victims with new information and the way the families all felt about it. Eva and her mother had such different views on it and different ways of coping. The way their grieving was handled and Annie were definite highlights of the book.

Overall, it was a quick read and I’m sure I would have liked it more if there had been more focus on Eva and Annie’s friendship instead of a romance I never bought into from the start.
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