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.
It’s crazy how much I related to this novel. This book…it felt real.
Let me start by saying that:
+ this book isn’t about kissing
+ in fact, it’s not a romance at all
+ and yes, the title is very misleading.
My whole life, I’ve read love stories. All sort of them: cliché, original, happy, sad, heartbreaking… In every book I’ve stumbled across, there’s a love interest. But I’ve never read a book about loving yourself before anyone else. About believing in yourself. About Mother-Daughter love. Until I read KISSING IN AMERICA.
KISSING IN AMERICA started as a cliché kind of story, but grew up to be so much more than that. It is the kind of books that makes you think about yourself after finishing it. The kind of books that makes you want to write poetry. Travel. Have a road-trip with your best friend. Go hug your parents and tell them how much you love them. Not many books have that effect on me.
Love stories, they’re everywhere. Self love ones, they’re rare. Golden. And I’ve never realized that until I finished this novel. People idolize that image about romantic love, look for a love story just like the ones they get in books and movies, and forget that they’re not in a romance novel, or a romantic film. They don’t cherish other kinds of love: family, friends, self, etc. Because while romantic love is important, other loves are necessary.
“Every poem is a love poem, my dad had said. I’d always thought he meant romantic love…but there were so many kinds of great love: mother and daughter love. Father love. Best friend love. Aunt love. Mother’s best friend love. Friendish friendesque love. Love for the living and love for the dead. Love for who you really are, for those weird parts of yourself that only a few people understand. Love for things you yearn to do, for putting words in a page. Love for traveling, for people and seeing new ways to live. Love for the world…”
(This has become one of my favorite quotes, by the way.)
I know this was more of a rambling about what this book taught me than a review, but if I’ve written a proper review, it would consist of this: GO READ THIS BOOK GO READ THIS BOOK GO READ THIS BOOK GO READ THIS BOOK GO READ THIS BOOK GO READ THIS BOOK GOREADTHISBOOK.
So go read this book. Especially if you like:
+ books with no romance
+ books that make you THINK.
Have you read KISSING IN AMERICA? Are you willing to read it? Also, what are some books you read with no romance in it? Let’s make this comment section a thread of book recommendation!