Review: Kissing in America

Kissing in America by Margo Rabb

Kissing in America

Publication date:  May 26th 2015

Publisher: Harper

Number of pages: 400

Series: N/A

Genre: YA Contemporary

Source: Received in exchange for review. This has not influenced my review.

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Goodreads synopsis:

“Wise, inspiring, and ultimately uplifting—not to be missed.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“A hilarious, thought-provoking, wrenching, and joyful quest.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Authentic and complex…This is a smart teen’s novel.”—Booklist, starred review

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 seems to truly understand 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 of its forms.

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Review:

Cute and fun, Kissing in America makes for a great in-between kind of read. For when you need to break from the hardcore stuff.

I say this because while it was good, it wasn’t great. One of those reads for me. The good and the bad seemed to balance themselves out for me. For example, I really enjoyed the beginning but I wasn’t impressed by the end.

I actually became interested in this book first when I read a sample as part of the Buzz Books 2015 sample collection. I absolutely loved the sample and therefore the beginning. In fact the excerpts from the romance novels the main character read really amused me. Particularly the use of “man-dew”. Just wow.

Speaking of the romance novels bit, I found them to be a win-lose kind of deal. I loved reading about a character who loved those cheap, trashy books I see going ridiculously cheap in bins in department store. I thought it was cute and quirky. And I kind of relate to her in some ways, although I tend to stray from those particular types of books. But I didn’t like their influence on the story. I felt like they almost kind of made her stupid.

I know that’s a harsh thing to say. But the way she obsessed over a boy which to be honest she didn’t even know that well,from what I read in the book anyway. And it’s pretty sad that she went to such extremes to follow a crush to another city. Borderline concerning. The way she treated her best friend in that sense was pretty average.

The book was a pretty quick read for me. Particularly the first half. The second half wasn’t as good. Most of the second half was travelling actually, and that really slowed it down too much.

I don’t feel like there’s much more to say. I would recommend this book, even if it doesn’t sound like it. Maybe borrow rather than buy is what I’m saying.

3/5 comets
The Earth shook. If they thought the Leaning Tower of Pisa was leaning before…

Add Kissing in America to Goodreads

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Goodreads author bio:

Margo RabbShort bio: I love books, chocolate, cats (especially of the Edward Gorey variety), old movies, and more chocolate.

Long bio: I’m the author of the novels Kissing in America and Cures for Heartbreak, and I’ve written essays, articles, book reviews, and short stories for The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, The Atlantic, Slate, The Rumpus, Zoetrope: All-Story, Seventeen, Best New American Voices, New Stories from the South, and One Story, and elsewhere. I grew up in Queens, NY, and recently moved from Austin, TX to Philadelphia, PA. I write about grief a lot (my mom died when I was in my teens and my dad died when I was in my twenties). Here’s a link to an essay I wrote recently, about the death of my cat and the death of my mom (it was published, coincidentally, on the 24th anniversary of my mom’s death):

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/…

Thank you for taking a look at the stuff I’ve written–sending you some virtual chocolate as you read! 🙂

website: www.margorabb.com
Twitter: @margorabb

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Review: Camp Payback

Camp Payback by J. K. Rock

Camp Payback (Camp Boyfriend, #2)

 

Publication date: April 29th 2014

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press

Number of pages: 304

Series: Camp Boyfriend (2# – companion series)

Genre: YA Contemporary

Source: Received in exchange for review. This is my honest opinion.

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Goodreads synopsis:

Alex has big plans for camp this year, starting with making it the best summer ever. Having fun and breaking some rules will get her the payback she wants against her parents and her ex-boyfriend. Because of his disgusting texts, she’s headed to a super strict all-girls school in the fall.

Then she meets Javier and revenge doesn’t seem nearly as important as getting to know the troubled loner determined to keep a low profile at camp. But Alex’s trouble-magnet personality and Javier’s need to stay in the background don’t mix nearly as well as their irresistible chemistry.

With her home life eroding under her feet and her last year of summer camp speeding to a close, Alex wants to make her mark on the world and squeeze every bit of fun out of her time with Javier. Too bad her old plans for revenge turn back on her just in time to ruin everything. Will she lose Javier too?

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Review:

These books totally make my summer.

Actually, that’s not true, since it’s not summer for me. But it apparently makes me feel like it’s summer.

Past Me who finished Camp Boyfriend probably would scoff at Present Me if I was to tell her that I would enjoy Camp Payback more. But whether she believes it or not, I defintiely enjoyed Camp Payback more. Why, you ask?

Because with Alex as a main character came her amazing story. I have always had this strange addiction to reading about reality TV shows and famous people. It’s quite strange really, since I’m not really into that stuff in real life, but I am totally addicted to book versions. The story definitely didn’t let me down. In fact I love how much it was incorporated into the story, pretty much the perfect amount.

But it isn’t all about Alex’s story. We have to talk about her as well. I actually liked her better than Lauren of Camp Boyfriend, which really surprised me because I wasn’t Alex’s number 1# fan in the first book. I probably am now though. She had this great, fun personality that really made the book. Of course we can’t talk about Alex without talking about Javier. Come to think of it, I will not be talking about Javier because I don’t know if I’d ever stop.

I’m actually a little concerned about how much I remember about these characters. It sounds like a good thing but this is totally out of character for me. I have this tendency to forget everything between books. I adore the little “Voted most likely to…” sections at the begginnings of these books. They make me laugh.

My favourite character of all time in this series has got to be Emily. Her happiness is catching, even through electronic pages. She’s just really quirky and fun.

My only issue was that I thought it was a little predictable. Sure, I didn’t predict a certain incident to do with Vijay towards the end but I pretty much predicted everything else. It’s not a major criticsm, however.

If you’re looking for a really fun, cute, Summer read, then look no further. Even though you don’t have to read these books in order, I probably would recommend it. I can definitely see this being a good book to take on your own Summer camp. I can’t wait for the third book!

4.5/5 comets
KABOOM! That only leaves one continent. One little flaw…

Add to Goodreads

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Author bio:

J.K. RockJ. K. Rock is the pseudonym for YA writing partners – and sisters-in-law – Joanne & Karen Rock. After years of comparing notes on their favorites books and films, often dreaming up new endings to suit them, they decided to write their own stories. Their first Young Adult book, CAMP BOYFRIEND, is part of a three-book series. CAMP PAYBACK will be an April 2014 release, and CAMP FORGET-ME-NOT arrives in Fall 2014. Visit the Camp Boyfriend website at http://campboyfriend.net to learn more about the free novellas they are offering readers prior to each full length book. Individually, Joanne Rock is an award winning Harlequin author published in 26 countries and translated into 20 languages. Karen Rock writes critically acclaimed stories for Harlequin Heartwarming including her latest, HIS HOMETOWN GIRL.