KISSING IN AMERICA is a contemporary YA novel written by the very wonderful and critically acclaimed, Margo Rabb.
This novel is also mine and Sara's (Carpe Librum Girl*) choice for our #ZCbookclub on Instagram.**
In the two years vince 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 understands her grief. Unfortunately, after Eva falls head over heels for thin, 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 encounter cowboys, kudzu, and tiny towns without stoplights. Along the way, they confront the complex truth about love.
Let's talk about the wonderful edition first. I am happy to say that I own the first edition (I love saying it even though it doesn't mean as much as when you buy a classics' first edition) of this book published this year by HarperCollins. A hardback. 386 pages long divided into 8 parts and X amount of chapters (to be honest, I did not count them). Each part begins with a famous poem about love. Each chapter has an original title. The sleeve is beautiful. The cover has an indie collage of motel signs on it. I love the design. The book itself is baby blue with metallic blue writing. Beautiful. I am very happy with the whole design of this book.
The writing is modern. Easy to read. Very relate able. Funny. Sad. Thrilling.. Exciting. And quite original. As I mentioned, each part of the book begins with a poem, but what I haven't mentioned is the little inserts of paragraphs written in the style of romance novels. This always made me chuckle and made the story a tad more interesting.
Now, the story itself.. At the beginning when I first read the blur, I was expecting a tale of first love and friendship. Two best friendship chasing after the boy whilst survives brand new adventures. But in reality this book is so much more. It isn't your usual love story about boy meets girl. They fall in love. Something happens. He leaves. The girl chases after him with her best fiends. They go on a adventure and everything ends with a happy ending. They kiss at the sunset. The end. NO !! THIS BOOK IS SO DIFFERENT AND I AM VERY GRATEFUL FOR IT!!
Don't get me wrong. It is a tale about love. But it's a story about love in every shape an form. Every single person, every reader, can find a little bit different form of love in it. Love between mother and a daughter. Love between friends. Love between family members. Love between aunties. Father's love. This isn't a typical YA love story. Spoiler Alert !! The girl doesn't get the boy. He turns out to be a 2% dickh**d ;). But that doesn't mean that this book won't make you laugh. Or it doesn't mean that you won't be crying crocodile tears and go through a full box of kleenex. Because you will. I was an emotional wreck after reading it and all I wanted to do was pick up the phone and ring my mum and tell her how much I love her and miss her... It was beautiful. Charming. Mesmerising. Emotional. What a joyful roller-coaster ride!! You will be hooked from the start and won't be able to put the book down even for the minute. You won't want to go to sleep and you will want to carry on reading...
And the characters?!? You will fall in love with them. They will become a part of your family. They will become your friends. They aren't flawless. Actually, they are collection of serious individuals but you can find a part of yourself in every single one of them. At least one of the protagonist will have the characteristics of your true self. Either if you are helpless romantic... The geeky best friends... The ever obsessed with hygiene aunt... or the always just a phone call away auntie.. I guarantee that you will find a piece of yourself in them.. Their story will become your story.... And you will love every second spent reading about them.
Not even that... This book will make you want to leave your mundane life behind and go on a road trip. You will want to see the world. Experience new things. Discover new adventures... I took the list of cities as my bucket list of travel for myself. I cannot wait to save enough money, rent a car and go on a road trip around USA. I want to see the biggest peanut in the world hehe...
So thank you Ms Rabb. You couldn't write a better story with a better ending. It might an unconventional ending for the YA genre but it stands out and it's unique. One of the best books I have read this year. A perfect summer read.
Margo Rabb, I cannot wait to read more from your pen ;)
*Check out Sara's review on http://carpelibrumgirl.blogspot.co.uk
** Read all about ZC book club on #ZCbookclub