Kissing In America Review
Author: Margo Rabb
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Publication: May 26, 2015
Format: Arc E-galley, 397 pages
Source: Thanks to Penguin Teen Australia for sending me a copy of this book
So I guess this essay is supposed to be about what's influenced me the most, but 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 noise.
- Will, page 20
To cope with the amount of grief and loss Eva felt, and still feels, from her father's death she reads romance novels. A lot of romance novels. Then, Eva meets Will, the only person who seems to share a understanding of her grief with her and all the fantasies she's read in her novels begin to come true. But then Will moves to California and Eva can't bear to feel the weight of another loss so she plans a road trip across America with her best friend Annie where they learn that love isn't everything and the real importance of family and friends.
Despite being completely fooled by this title, thinking there was going to be a tonne of romance, I really enjoyed this book. I loved Margo Rabb's style of writing, she did such an excellent job portraying each characters emotion's and thoughts clearly. I also thought that incorporating an underlying focus on friendship and family was a good addition. The road trip aspect of Kissing In America was engaging, but I felt that Eva's obsession and love for pushed it to the side and her 'love' for him became a little overbearing to read.
Margo Rabb had an extremely clever plot line to convey the main idea of the story - the mixture of the road trip along with it's stops and the competition that the MC and her friend were apart of were a fun read. Eva's plan to go all over the world just to see Will after she first met him felt a bit naive and obsessive at first, but as the novel went on, it made a lot more sense and was another part of Eva discovering relationships and herself. The ending of this book was very satisfying and finally, I've found another book where the romance doesn't end picture perfect and I'm glad that our MC was able to figure out that she doesn't need a boy (or girl in other cases) to feel loved.
My favourite thing about Kissing In America would definitely have to be the characters. I applaud Margo for writing such likeable characters that have such depth and personality. Eva was such a great main character because she was so relatable and really captures the reality and voice of a teenager trying to cope with grief and learning more about herself and others that she didn't know. I also thought she was a very realistic character because she was at times extremely naive and sensitive but also smart and flawed in a good way. All the other characters were great additions to this book and had fascinating side stories that made for humorous and clever plot-fillers and motivators.
Overall, Kissing In America is a wonderful book about self-discovery and coping with grief and loss and I definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for a fresh contemporary young adult book with a hint of romance and an adventure.
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