Review: Kissing in America by Margo Rabb

Kissing in America book coverIt’s not often that you get a YA novel that deals with both poetry and romance novels. Rabb does a great job with this book. It’s cute and funny even while touching on some sad subjects.

Eva is sixteen and she’s still trying to get over the death of her father in a plane crash two years earlier. And deal with the fact that her mom doesn’t seem to care and has done everything in her power to erase Eva’s father’s memory from their lives. For whatever reason, after he died, Eva found comfort in romance novels. They certainly can be comforting, as they always end how you want them to. There’s no risk of something going really wrong. But it’s also got Eva believing in love a little more than her mom would like.

Eva’s had a crush on Will, a senior swimmer at their school. When she’s lucky enough to get him assigned to her tutoring session, she thinks she’s got a chance. But when a parade of girlfriends come by to pick him up afterward, she doesn’t have a lot of hope. But still, they get to know each other over the weeks and when he breaks up with his last girlfriend, Eva’s dream comes true. His kiss is as great as she imagined and they end up spending a (chaste) night together in a garden on top of their school. But then Will drops a bombshell: he’s moving across the country.

Eva’s distraught, but she’s so convinced of their perfection as a couple that she’s not really worried. Still, she needs to be able to see him again, and she figures out a way to make that happen. She convinces her best friend Annie to compete in a game show in LA to win a bunch of money for college. Then she manages to convince her skeptical mom to let her ride across the country on a bus (no planes for Eva). Adventures and heartache ensue.

Where does the poetry come in? you ask. Eva used to be a poet. She’d write with her dad, who she was very close to, but since his death she hasn’t been able to write. Will convinces her to write a poem, which she does even though she thinks it’s crap. But then she’s stuck again. It isn’t until the end that she’s starting to get over that. But poetry is still important to her, and each chapter starts with a quote from a poem.

I liked this book. I specifically listened to the audio book, which was well done and I’d recommend it to fans of contemporary. Eva’s likable and relatable even if she’s a tad naive (who isn’t at 16…).