Kissing in America – Margo Rabb

Synopsis

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.

Review

Oh dear. I had super-high expectations going into this book (possibly because the cover is so similar to Heather Demetrios’s I’ll Meet You There?). And I LOVED the first part of this book. It was quirky and fun and ridiculous. But the second part turned into (kind of) a hot mess. There was one distinct moment that came out of nowhere (a certain phone call, in fact). Then there was some crazy, practically possessed behaviour. That was followed by some seriously cringey moments and mistakes.

I started coming around to this story again near the end. I felt like things were getting repaired as they should be, and I even shed a tear or two. But it left on an almost TOO happy note, which showed how little Eva truly grew. I think conquering paralyzing fears is momentous and commendable. Thus, it’s not realistic to suddenly get some giddy and hopeful inner monologue in the middle of “scary” experiences. The world is a huge place, and life is really long. No need to rush with these revelations.

Then there’s the poetry. Usually, I really dislike authors’ takes on poetry (especially “catchy” song lyrics… thanks for not trying that!). Overall, I loved the relevant excerpts and meaningful poems interspersed throughout this story. It really enhanced the plot. But I was not a fan of “Eva’s” poetry. It was choppy unnecessarily, and I struggled to enjoy it. I think there was only one poem in her voice that I actually liked (one at the end?).

For whatever reason, I thought this book would be a bit more Amy & Roger-esque, but I’m glad that friendship and grrrrl power played such a big role! I’ll take a “Simone de Bearvoir” toy, please.

Related Reading

  • Life by Committee – Corey Ann Haydu
  • Driftwood – Elizabeth Dutton
  • Let’s Get Lost – Adi Alsaid
  • Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
  • The Bridge from Me to You – Lisa Schroeder

Rating: 2/5

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