Kiss­ing in America

Mar­go Rabb
  • Review
By – June 23, 2016

Kiss­ing in Amer­i­ca is not real­ly a book about kiss­ing. It’s a book about grief, love, trav­el, friend­ship, and for­give­ness. It’s about being a smart girl. It’s about hav­ing dreams that don’t always come true. It’s a great road trip novel.

It has been two years since her father died in a plane acci­dent and six­teen-year-old Eva has found solace in read­ing romance nov­els. Her fan­tasies look like they might become real­i­ty when she meets Will, a boy who under­stands Eva’s grief. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, no soon­er does the romance heat up, but he moves to Cal­i­for­nia. Eva and her best friend, Annie, con­coct an elab­o­rate plan to trav­el across the coun­try. As they trav­el, news about the crash begins to emerge, renew­ing wounds that nev­er real­ly healed.

Com­pli­cat­ing the dynam­ic are Eva’s moth­er and aunt. They are the chil­dren of Holo­caust sur­vivors, and deal with this lega­cy in ways that add ten­sion and tex­ture to these rela­tion­ships as well as the process of griev­ing. What is most sat­is­fy­ing about this book: All the char­ac­ters are authen­tic and flawed as well as like­able. The read­er will cheer for every­one. The end­ing does not disappoint.

Eva’s jour­ney is more than a com­ing of age. It’s more than the stages of grief. It’s more than t’shuvah. It is a sto­ry of all these things. And yes, it’s also about kissing.

High­ly rec­om­mend­ed for read­ers 12 and up.

Sarah Aron­son holds an MFA in Writ­ing for Chil­dren and Young Adults from Ver­mont Col­lege. She is a full time writer and has recent­ly pub­lished her first nov­el, Head Case (Roar­ing Brook) for young adults. Sara blogs every Thurs­day for the Lilith blog.

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