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Kissing in America by Margo Rabb
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Kissing in America

by Margo Rabb

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Digital Audiobook read by Laura Knight Keating

From the Book Jacket 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. Her romantic fantasies become reality when she meets Will. Unfortunately, after Eva falls head over heels for him, he picks up and moves to California. 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 encounter cowboys, kudzu, and tiny towns without stoplights. Along the way the confront the complex truth about love.

My Reactions
This is a young-adult “romance” with very little romance. Instead, it is more of a coming-of-age story. Eva’s passion for cheesy romance novels was a little irritating at first, but to give Rabb some credit she deliberately has these teens occasionally speak in the extravagant prose of bodice-ripping romances; clearly, she is having fun with the genre.

While I understand that Eva’s emotional growth might have been stunted by her father’s early death and her mother’s resultant over-protectiveness, I still thought she was incredibly immature, and I was rolling my eyes at several scenes. Ultimately Eva learns some important life lessons – about grief, friendship, and forgiveness. Final verdict: it’s a decent YA novel. But not really my cup of tea.

The audiobook is read by Laura Knight Keating. She has a good pace and she really brings the cast of quirky characters to life. ( )
  BookConcierge | Apr 9, 2018 |
Kissing In America was the sad but ultimately sweet story of Eva, a young lady who lost her father two years earlier. Still dealing with his loss, Eva has become obsessed with Romance novels. She deals with her grief by comparing real life situations with the characters in her books. Eva and her mother aren't coping well with the loss of their loved one, understandably. While Eva's mother deals with the loss of her husband by denying he ever existed and being excessively overprotected of her daughter, Eva tries to hang on to her memories of him by secreting away his belongings, no matter how innocuous they maybe, old receipts for example. Since her mother threw away most of her father's things this is how Eva has to hold on the the things she can.

I felt really bad for Eva, she lost her father and in a sense her mother too. Eva's mother basically became a cold, distant shell of the mother she once knew, who sometimes acted as if her husband just got up and left them. I really wish she would have snapped out it and saw that her daughter needed her mother. We did learn that this is the typical way her mother grieves, which I thought was very unfortunate for both her and Eva. Her entire grieving process seems to be stuck on feeling abandoned.

Eva has always had a long standing crush on a guy named Will, but he had a supermodelesque girlfriend which Eva thinks means no chance for anything with him. However, she soon becomes his tutor, then a friend and confidant.. When Will and his girlfriend broke up she finally has a chance with him, and Will also seems interested too when he kisses her. But Eva's chance was cut short rather quickly when Will moved to California. Eva had this obsessive need to continue what they started and thought she just has to see him in person and concocted an insane plan to travel cross country to see him. She came to the conclusion she was in love with him and became even more obsessed to see him. This obsession caused her to make some unwise decisions such as disappointing her best friend Annie and lying to everyone involved.

During that road trip Eva learned valuable lessons and had to face up to her mistakes, she learned to not make rash decisions, and to do things for yourself not for a guy, especially when it comes to travelling a long distance an deceiving and using others to do so. Along the way we got to meet some interesting and quirky characters. And learned more about Eva's mothers past and other interesting stories. Eva also had her showdown with her mother during her road trip, I thought finally, now maybe her mother would wake up and they can start working on their relationship.

I liked Eva, even with her naivete and obsessiveness she did have a great sense of humor. She would have these weird but kinda funny asides where she makes her life sounds like a romance novel when she romanticizes her situation in her version of a romance novelish voice. I thought it was really cute and totally weird at the same time. I could have easily seen Eva as a typical young girl whose completely guy crazy and not sympathize with her, but I didn't, I was able to see the pain Eva was trying to out run. Eva was very close with her father and losing him so suddenly was traumatic. Perhaps she was trying to forget just like her mother but in a different way. Eva eventually learned that focusing all her attention on a boy was not going to help her cope with the fear and confusion that she was dealing with after losing her father.

Audiobook Review
This being an audiobook played a huge part in how much I liked the story. It made me love it that much more. I really liked the voice of the narrator. I thought she was spot on with Eva's voice and did a great job with all the other voices too.

Overall
I thought Kissing In American was a nice story about how life throws major curveballs at you when you least expect it and it's how you handle it that makes you stronger in the end. And that although love brings heartache with it it also brings strength.

Oh, and something I really liked and appreciated about this book was that I finally read something with a real New York setting. I could count on one hand all the books with NYC settings I've read. Every neighborhood and place mentioned in this story about NYC was familiar, There was one other NYC book I read that touched on the backdrop that is NYC but just barely. Every other book I've read was set in other places, (places I would love to visit, that's for sure). But the NYC setting was a really great surprise for me, it also did bring back some memories too.
( )
  GigisIrieReads | Apr 20, 2016 |
A cross-country trip to see a boy turns into a voyage of self-discovery. I expected a typical YA romance, but this book ended up subverting my expectations with its surprising depths. It's less about the romance, more about friendship and grief and travel and loyalty and the complexities of the relationships between teenage daughters and their mothers. Recommended. ( )
  foggidawn | Apr 11, 2016 |
Road trip books are not my favorite. The characters are engaging, but there's a particular plot point that was so ridiculously improbable that I couldn't get past it. You can get away with a lot in fantasty novels, but in realistic fiction, you have to play by earth's rules. So, while I enjoyed most of this book, I couldn't rate it too highly. ( )
  EmilyRokicki | Feb 26, 2016 |
This novel is realistic fiction geared for high school girls.

Eva’s father died a few years ago, and she finds comfort in romance novels. Her father taught her the joy of life--taught her to laugh and write and live. She can no longer write because it’s too painful. She feels completely separated from her father, especially because her mother grieves differently. Eva’s mom threw all of his stuff out and refuses to talk about him. Eva needs to talk about him and have his things around her. The novels allow her to escape into a world she wants to experience--where you live and laugh and love, but her mother says that the novels lie--that love in real life is not like love described in books.

While tutoring in the library, Eva gets to know Will. A confident, popular boy at school who secretly reads poetry and has his own grief hidden deep. They have one night together where they connect completely just talking about their lives and their families. They are obviously meant for each other. Unfortunately, Will needs to live with his father, which means a move to California. In her desire to see Will, Eva searches everything on the Internet until she finds a legitimate reality show looking for the smartest girl in American. Luckily, her best friend Annie is incredibly smart. Accepted onto the show, Eva and Annie take buses across the country from New York to LA in hopes of finding money for Annie to attend college and finding love for Eva.

Any time characters travel, the story is about the main character’s journey to knowledge. There are always experiences to teach along the way. Eva and Annie spend each night with members of their families or with friends to ensure their safety. By the end of the trip, there are five women who finish the novel, each with her own wisdom, own courage, and own story of love. It’s a novel for young women, not young girls, to present the different ways of love throughout one’s life. Poetry helps structure the novel--introducing ideas and giving meaning to life. Any girl or woman who reads with thought and believes in love, change, and courage, will enjoy this well-written novel. ( )
  acargile | Oct 11, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062322370, Hardcover)

I loved romances because when you opened the first page, you knew the story would end well. Your heart wouldn't be broken. I loved that security, that guaranteed love.

In real life, you never knew the ending. I hated that.

Sixteen-year-old Eva has never been in love. But when she meets Will, everything changes. With him, her grief over her father's death fades, and she can escape from her difficult relationship with her mother. Then, without any warning, Will picks up and moves to California. So Eva—with the help of her best friend, Annie—concocts a plan to travel across the country to see him again. As they leave New York City for the first time and road-trip across America, they encounter cowboys, kudzu, and tiny towns without stoplights. Along the way, Eva and Annie learn the truth about love and all its complexities.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:25 -0400)

When she falls for a boy who moves to California without any warning, sixteen-year-old Eva and her best friend, Annie, set off on a road trip to the West Coast to see him again, confronting the complex truth about love along the way.

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