Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Review: Kissing in America

Kissing in America
Author: Margo Rabb
Published: May 26th, 2015
Hardcover, 400 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

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 Anne confront the complex truth about love.

In this honest and emotional journey readers will experience the highs of infatuation and the lows of heartache as Eva contends with love in all of its forms. 

This book was so different from what I expected it to be, but it was still fantastic. Eva lives inside romance novels, escaping the world around her. She lost her father recently, and she lies about how he died to anyone who asks. She seeks the comfort of the books instead of people, but when Will starts showing up to her tutor sessions, suddenly she wants to live. He sees her and the moments they spend together on the roof of the school make her believe they are meant for each other, just like the characters in her books. So when he moves to California to go live with his father and he tells her to come see him whenever she's free, she takes him up on the offer and goes on a road trip across the country with her best friend, Annie, and her Aunt. They make a trip of it, stopping to see landmarks along the way. Eva puts all her hopes into being with Will, thinking that once she sees him again everything will be okay. Truths and discoveries along the way make for a memorable journey about love, friendship and family.

This book started off so dreamy. Eva lives vicariously through her romance novels and Will makes her believe them to be true. She's a hopeless romantic, young and in love, in a place where we've all been. She believes him to be the one and she'll do anything to get him back. Her plan to go to California is fun and unique. She gets Annie to apply to be on a TV series called Smartest Girl in America, and Eva will be her lifeline for the categories she isn't great in, like literature and music. The two girls make a great team and they have the kind of friendship we all remember having or still have if we're lucky. It takes Annie a bit of convincing before she decides to go along with Eva's plan, but once they are on the road, they have a great time together. There are moments that test their friendship like when they are visiting Annie's cousin and they spend more time together without Eva around. There are lots of moments where people tell Eva she is wrong about Will, which just amkes Eva more determined to see him.

Will is the guy we'd all fall for in high school. He's a bit of a player, but he's super sweet to every girl and acts like they are the only one he wants. From the beginning I wasn't so sure about him, but the things he said and did with Eva showed me why she fell for him. A young woman will do anything for the guy who's captured her heart. With first love comes first heartbreak and I won't say I didn't see it coming, because I thought maybe Will would be different, but when they finally see each other again, it's not at all like Eva had hoped. The ending was unexpected but I completely understand why Rabb did it like this. This is an important book for young women on the power of love and the way that it can make or break you. Eva's relationship with her mom was equally as important as Eva's relationship with Will and I loved how their story arced throughout the book. The misery of losing a family member causes people to react differently and I loved the moment they were able to see each other again.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever been infatuated with someone. There isn't as much kissing as I would have liked, but this was a great road trip story with an unpredictable ending.

"I think sometimes the biggest influence isn't what's present in your life, but what's absent. Those missing pieces that shape you and change you, the silences that are louder than the noise."

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