January 03, 2016

Kissing in America

Kissing in America cover

Margo Rabb is an accidental writer of YA fiction. Her book Cures for Heartbreak was intended for an adult audience but ended up being marketed to teen readers. Thank goodness for that. Would her new book Kissing in America exist otherwise?

Kissing in America feels like a bespoke novel for me. The cover design makes me happy. A road trip with love and friendship, at 400 pages, it is long enough for the reader to become fully immersed in the characters' lives and is packed with heartbreak and hope. I don't know if I can put it any better than the writer E. Lockhart, "Margo Rabb has created nothing less than a women’s map of American mythologies, navigating from Emily Dickinson to Barbara Cartland, from the cowboys of the rodeos to the makeup studios of Hollywood, and from the bottom of the Atlantic to the spacious skies of the USA".

As in a lot of YA realistic fiction, our main character, Eva is dealing with the death of a parent. The tragedy marks her relationship with her mother and the adventure she takes with her friend, Annie and her Aunt Janet. Eva is a smart, but reluctant girl, a character in the mode of an A.S. King or E. Lockhart feminist teen, figuring it all out.

Without being too spoily, my only quibble is that it makes me crazy when things don't work out for characters I love. Even when it makes sense on a story level. I just want everyone to be happy!

Rabb creates smart and real characters, while also avoiding sentimentality. A rare delight, both funny and sad.

Posted by kathryn at January 3, 2016 04:23 PM
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