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…

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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: Flirting in Italian

Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson

Flirting in Italian (Flirting in Italian #1)

Publication date: June 12th 2012

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Number of pages: 323

Series: Flirting in Italian (1#)

Genre: YA Contemporary

Source: Borrowed. This is my honest review.

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 Goodreads synopsis:

Four girls. One magical, and possibly dangerous Italian summer. Family mysteries, ancient castles, long hot nights of dancing under the stars . . . and, of course, plenty of gorgeous Italian boys!

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 Review:

Can I go to Italy? Like now?

In fact, the Italian side of things is what attracted me to Flirting in Italian. I came across in the library and was like “I’m going to Italy this year and this book is set in Italy. It must be a sign!” Therefore I snatched it up.

I don’t think that I could have picked a better book to get me excited about Italy. It had LOTS of sentences written in Italian and I translated them when I didn’t know what they meant. Trying to learn Italian, you see. So yes, it taught me quite a few words. Helpful ones I might actually need.

I adore boarding and finishing school books, so I was ecstatic to find out that basically this was both. In ITALY! The culture (well, young people’s culture) was heavily emphasised and that was awesome.

Um, how about cute guy overload! There were so many Italian guys I couldn’t count them on both hands. Not complaining at all.

I liked the teeny bit of mystery thrown in. I was a little surprised by the ending. But as for the majority of the story, it was good.

If you’re interested in travel and Italy in particular, I think you should give Flirting in Italian. It was a good book and I’m really looking forward to the sequel.

 4/5 comets
A meteor shower. A great show.

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 Goodreads author bio:

Lauren HendersonBorn in London in 1966, Lauren Henderson read English at university and then worked as a journalist for – among other publications – the New Statesman, Marxism Today, the Observer and Lime Lizard, a much-mourned indie music magazine. Lauren now divides her time between Italy and London and, when not wine-tasting, writes full-time.

Review: Paranormalcy

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1)

Publication date: August 31st 2010

Publisher: HarperTeen

Number of pages: 335

Series: Paranormalcy (1#)

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Source: Purchased. This is my honest opinion.

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 Goodreads synopsis:

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

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 Review:

Talk about hard to review.

You have literally no idea I have been staring at this screen.

A long time.

I guess I could start off by saying that I looooooved the romance. Man, it was so adorable. In fact, I’m astounded that I actually liked the name Lend. It was endearing.

I loved all the supernatural creatures and the beginning but with the vampire. Is it twisted if I say I liked the bits with Reth? Because I did.

The fire thing and Evie’s gift was cool too.

What I didn’t like, or should I say who I didn’t like, was Evie. Pink, pink, Tasey, high school, pink, pink. Tasey reminds me way to much of Buffy the Vampire Slayer because Buffy called HER stake Mr. Pointy. And all the bleeps really annoyed me too. I definitely warmed to her a little more as the book went on though.

I will definitely be continuing with the series – I already have the second book – and it was strangely addicting I that sense.

 3.5/5 comets
Looks like the start of an apocalypse. Nearly there.

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 Goodreads author bio:

Kiersten WhiteHi! I’m the New York Times best-selling author of Paranormalcy and Supernaturally. I also give the most awkward hugs in the world. You should probably opt for one of my books over one of my hugs, but then again, maybe you like awkward hugs.

As for me, I like writing flirting scenes, and fighting scenes, and sometimes I write scenes that fall somewhere in between the two, but only if I can’t avoid it.