Happy Valentine's Day! Looking for a Valentine read? Here's one . . .
If We Kiss
April 26, 2006
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Waiting for it to be special, to mean something, Charlie won't just give her first kiss up to anyone. Not even nice George who everyone insists likes her very much.
But when her first kiss does come, it's not what she expected at all.
One day before school, Kevin -- a boy she thinks of as a jerk -- unexpectedly leads her behind the school and kisses her. From that moment, all Charlie can do is think about Kevin. She may even be falling in love with him.
Then a week later, at her party, he kisses Tess. Whom she hasn't told about her own kiss with Kevin.
Soon, Tess and Kevin are dating, Charlie still can't get him out of her head, Tess doesn't know Kevin kissed Charlie and its causing complications all around. Complications that only get worse when her mother and his father start dating.
If We Kiss is a cute, fun, and very quick read. At the beginning of the book the characters are just in the beginning of ninth grade and it allows for them to still seem young and to be figuring things out. Author Rachel Vail also keeps her characters young. Many YA books -- and authors have any high school characters acting the same as any other high school character, no matter their age, but these characters still act fourteen. Maybe, almost, a young fourteen (at least YA-wise).
They're still dating, having parties and there's some drinking but their behavior allows If We Kiss to be a Middle Grade-slash-Young Adult crossover book. Older Middle Grade readers could absolutely read and enjoy this one.
The idea of just one kiss changing Charlie's life so drastically -- and not in the way she would have anticipated -- is fun. It's more true that little things, and their fallout, effect us more a lot of the time than huge ones and here we get to see it. The kiss, that second where Charlie doesn't tell Tess, etc.
I liked that Tess and Charlie's friendship was shown and that Tess wasn't made out to be either a saint or some evil, slutty friend so that Charlie should feel fine lusting after her boyfriend. The character, their relationships and the way they interacted did make the story feel real.
However, I was hoping for more resolution and for more things to come together at the end. What I felt was one of the big questions or at least a, "Huh?" was just forgotten (save for being mentioned, not explained). Or the characters are better than me and moved on? There is a sequel and I'll see if things are resolved there. (I'll try for that review later.)