Monday, May 18, 2015

Kissing in America Margo Rabb ARC Book Review

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Harper Collins
Edition: ebook, 400 pages
Source: Publisher
“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.
2.5-3 STARS
I think I'm too old to appreciate this book. Maybe, I never understood what it's like to be so in love with someone that I can't think. I can't be me because "me," is so lost inside of him that neither parts of us are distinguishable from the other. 

I tried to put myself in the shoes of someone younger, someone who's love feels like this burning thing threatening to torch the insides with the ferocity of it.

I mean that has to be it. Because, love this book, I did not. I wouldn't go so far as saying I hated it because that's far too strong a word. You see, the thing is, it's not the story I don't like. It's the main character, Eva.

She drove me all the way crazy. She seemed completely naive and gullible. It might have something to do with her age and her expectations of "true romance."

Eva loves romance novels, and deals with her grief by escaping into stories, in a way many readers do. Her obsession with romance novels was often made fun of but her love of the novels pursued. I liked that about Eva. She didn't let anyone deter that love, and that, I'm a fan of.

My problem was her "head over heels" love with Will, the boy who makes all her grief seem like it's not as heavy as it actually is. Without being spoiler-y, Eva really was a fool in love, and that really bothered me. I couldn't wrap my head around it. And, I tried. Like I said, I must be too old for this type of story. I couldn't understand Eva's feelings at least not parts of it. 

The title, Kissing in America, implies a sweet contemporary, but it just merely touches even the surface of this story. Because it's more sad than sweet. It was filled with grief.  I will say, I liked the overall message. I liked pretty much all of the secondary characters, but this story wasn't for me. I don't think in another time in my life, it would have been for me despite my earlier comments. 

This story is for someone, it just wasn't me. If you're the kind of reader, that loves, lovesick teenagers, grief, road trips, and cool best friends--this book is for you. Just count me out. 


  1. Hmmm, I don't know about contemporary teenage romances as I'm not exactly very of the usual personalities of the characters, but I might give this a shot. Sorry you didn't like it. :( Great review, Jazmen!

    Blessie @ Mischievous Reads

  2. I always wondered whether this was good or not, sorry to hear that it was a little immature for you!

  3. I haven't heard a lot of good things about this book! Since I don't usually like contemporaries, I probably won't be trying it since most people don't like it.

  4. I love me a good contemporary, especially ones that include road trips, but yeah I think I'm going to pass on this. You know how I feel about some female characters in the YA genre, and she sounds like one I wouldn't particularly enjoy. Teenage romance is cute, but I definitely don't like the desperate act some tend to display.

  5. I've just read another review of this book and the reviewer wasn't happy with the heroine too, so you're not alone. Sorry the story was disappointing! :/ Hope your next read rocks!

  6. Hmmm…this one sounded so cute but if it's more sad than sweet, that's not good for me. I do love road trip books, though, but if it read young, that's also a big negative. Sigh. Sorry this one didn't work for you! ~Pam