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Kissing the Bee

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  356 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
Senior year is flying by, the prom is approaching, and Dana, her best friend, Avra, and Avra's boyfriend, Emil, are about to encounter the pains and pleasures of that intricate beehive called adult life. While Dana plans on college, Avra plots escape once school is over—and plans to take Emil along for the ride. What does Emil want? He's not saying. Dana studies bees for a ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published August 21st 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Community Reviews

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Sep 24, 2010 Mariel rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: worker bees (and ants)
Recommended to Mariel by: it's a honey comb of mazes (a quote from a soft core porn I accidentally watched when I was 13)
Loved it. Kathe Koja's Kissing the Bee is a lovely "coming of age" tale that's not really coming of age so much as coming into your own. One has to live in society, obligations to friends and family, doing what is right, but in a way that doesn't stifle all sense of personal self. Koja's writing of the relationships and that life is natural and tight. The woman doesn't waste words. It's a short little book, and exactly the right size for those overwhelming feelings that seem to shape everything, ...more
Dec 19, 2008 Adriana rated it it was amazing
I loved this short but beautifully written story. Dana and Avra have been best friends for a long time. Actually Avra is Dana's only real friend, but Avra really only has room in her world for Avra. She is like a queen bee. Recently Dana is realizing just how selfish Avra is. Things come to a head when Avra's boyfriend Emil, who is also the boy Dana loves and saw first, also starts to feel like Avra only cares about herself and her plans. There are excerpts throughout the book from Dana's senior ...more
Mar 12, 2013 Owen rated it liked it
Shelves: notable
Kissing the Bee was not Koja's strongest novel. I am not a fan of love triangles, and although this is not the typical love triangle you see in many books (usually paranormal YA) I still did not think it had its own uniqueness to make me appreciate the relationship the characters had. Like most of Koja's books, this was very short. The length is usually not a problem for me, but in this one, it felt too short and too much was left unexplained/not taken care of properly (or at least to my liking) ...more
Sashi Kaufman
Jul 18, 2014 Sashi Kaufman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
This is an elegant little book (less than 120 pages?) A beautiful portrait of friendship and love. Could I have read a longer version? Yes, but there was something really beautiful about the novella length. Delicious and delicate, skillful and literary.
Jun 02, 2008 Alison rated it really liked it
Shelves: high-school
This weekend I was weeding the piles galleys I hadn't found time to read, FORCING myself to whittle down the stack. When I got to this book and did the mental "Will I ever get to it debate?" I thought I'd just read the first page and see if it grabbed me. If not? Discard city. Not only did the first page grab me, I read the entire book that day, feeling completely taken in by the story, loving the apiculture facts I learned along the way. This is a beautiful novel about relationships -- not just ...more
Mar 10, 2008 Molly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
This slim volume is packed with story. Dana, our very introspective narrator, is a good friend to Avra. So good in fact, that she says nothing when Avra latches on to Emil- a boy Dana say first, and immediately liked. She continues to say nothing as Avra and Emil become joined at the hip. The three of them go everywhere together and Dana's not sure if this is great (she does get to see Emil all the time) or torture (she gets to see him with Avra.) The story of these three High School seniors is ...more
Jun 07, 2008 Toni rated it liked it
Nice, short YA novel about high school kids. Two girls are friends, one of them has a boyfriend who is much more suited to the other girl. You know - that boy, girl, girl triangle problem that we all had in high school. It was a good read, fast and not complicated. Dealt with some high school, teenage issues, nothing heavy, but just a decent story. Good book for someone (probably a girl) who is basically a non-reader. Might spark some interest in reading other books by Koja. this is the second b ...more
This book was beautiful. It's primarily about a YA love triangle; 2 girls, 1 boy; all 17ish, almost finished with Senior year. At first I was on the fence about checking this one out. I thought "I don't knooowww, this triangle stuff has been done & done again". I'm so glad that I ignored that little voice because this is done just SO, so well! The protagonist, Dana, is working on a science project about bees. Scattered throughout the story she reads excerpts from her report. Each of these ch ...more
Mar 06, 2009 Erica rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Erica by: YA Lit Syllabus - Spring 2009
I loved this book! I completely identified with Dana, the narrator. I can only remember all too well how it felt to be the third wheel and be secretly "in love" with my friend's boyfriend.
Jun 11, 2012 Raina rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, realistic, romance
Read this in grad school in the middle of a project on clique lit. Really well written slim volume about misplaced romance, with lots of bee references. ;)
Feb 03, 2016 Corinne rated it it was amazing
In this short novel, there is a love triangle. Dana and Avra and Emil. The darling Emil, boyfriend of Avra, Dana's best friend. And while Dana is the expert on all things bee, Avra is clearly the queen bee. While Dana is planning on college in a few short months, Avra just wants to GO - to leave the claustrophobic hive of high school and get away from her parents and the shadow of her older sister. Emil is keeping his own plans to himself.

Bee lore and culture are woven throughout the text so fla
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by JodiG. for

Dana and Avra are best friends. As good of friends as can be when one person is the queen bee and the other is charged with doing what it takes to keep the queen happy.

Avra is the undisputed queen -- she decides what they do and when they do it. She also has lofty plans for the future. Avra is counting the days until the end of high school. At that time, she plans to escape from her family and town in an attempt to conquer the world. In true, royal fashion
Carolyn Browne
Jan 23, 2016 Carolyn Browne rated it really liked it
High school seniors. Two girls and one boy. Who will get the boy? I learned a lot about bees from reading this book. SInce our heroine, Daina, is doing her biology project on the subject, I'm assuming the information is accurate. I listened to the book on CD and loved it. The imitation of how teachers talk is funny and entertaining.
Aug 12, 2013 Alicia rated it liked it
Shelves: romance, female
It's short and to the point but there could have been a larger point made- I think it could have been more complicated if the characters were fleshed out a bit more and the story was longer... not that I'm complaining. It's short as are the others Koja has written.

Like Secret Life of Bees, there's an incorporation of bee life among the struggles Dana is having being the third wheel when she actually likes the boy. And the boy likes her because she's good-hearted, generous, and kind, except he c
amy  betters-midtvedt
Dana had always loved Emil from the very beginning. But her best friend Avra got to him first. Ever since ninth grade, Dana and Avra had been inseparable. But when Emil came into the picture, Dana found that she was the third wheel. Dana has to hide her feelings for Emil from Avra, who is ready to leave her mother, father, and "perfect" sister behind, and take Emil with her. But does he really want to go? Now, while Dana is worrying about final exams, Avra has already planned the day she will ru ...more
Jul 03, 2015 Sheralyn rated it did not like it
I was bored to tears from the moment I started the book and gave it several chapters before I deemed it a waste of my time. I would have kept plugging along, but the extremely foul language was prime motivation for returning the book to the library.
Apr 03, 2016 Karol rated it liked it
Kissing the Bee was a long short story. Definitely a deep read that will educate as one watches Dana break off her relationship with her selfish best friend and move on with her best friend's boyfriend.
Feb 21, 2011 Janet rated it really liked it
For an adult reading this book, the length of it makes it like a short story. I enjoyed the symbolism of the bees as well as the factual info about them--this is not overdone. Dana the main character and a high school senior is finishing her biology project. The author is skillful at building toward the ending and has much to say about friendships. I especially liked her use of the "queen" of the hive to describe the character, Avra. Too bad high school "queens" usually go on to be adult "queen ...more
Feb 27, 2010 Adam rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen, romance
Love, betrayal, onging, and honesty in the hearts of three friends emerging from high school to adulthood in the tight social hive of family and school is told with such vivid and straightfoward characters readers will consume this tale with their hearts. Koja's creative use of bee imagery and mythology in a tightly woven story engages you from beginning to end and keeps us in step with the main character Dana's unavoidable decision between loyalty and betrayal in which she can longer hide from ...more
Sasha Summers
Dec 10, 2010 Sasha Summers rated it liked it
My 12 year old daughter brought this book home from the school library. It shouldn't have been in her school library. Not because it's a 'bad' book - it's NOT. It's a good, solid read.
But it's one of those YA's that really is for the older part of the YA. It discusses, without shying away from real-life teenage drama, things that younger YA readers might not be ready for.
I enjoyed this book. Miss Koja captured the essence of real life teenage angst and made you like the heroine all at the same t
May 04, 2016 Terra rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011, audiobook
This is a young adult book, probably targeted toward teenagers just entering high school. The audio version I listened to was from Audible, and it was very well done.

The book itself is probably my favorite of Kathe Koja's young adult books I've read, probably because the story reminded me a lot of friends I had in high school, when I was a teenager. The characters are very convincing, and while I didn't agree with all of Koja's choices, as far as where she took the story, I did find the book mov
Apr 05, 2008 Cynthia rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cynthia by: Sharry
There were many parts of this book that I loved, loved, loved. Koje uses beautiful language--that I love. I also loved the carefully drawn portrayal of a dysfunctional friendship between girls. I loved the romance aspect and the sexual tension between Dana and Emil. That being said, the device of the bee project just didn't work for me and got in the way of my enjoyment of the story. The Secret Life of Bees is a book that I love, but even in that book I skipped all the bee background at the begi ...more
Oct 14, 2011 Kimberley rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teens, reluctant readers, anyone looking for a quick read
Great book about finding one's self, teenage love and friendships, and all of the rocky difficult crap of moving on with your life. I was easily able to see myself as Dana, the main character, who is dealing with Avra- the drama queen friend; on the otherhand I think I can relate to Avra too, who wanted to run away to prove she could and never followed through. It was a short, and enjoyable read; I wouldn't go so far as to say that it was easy because there are some issues wihin the book that st ...more
Apr 02, 2008 Deb rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen, realistic, romance
Dana is best friends with Avra who is dating Emil. The three of them do everything together but Dana really likes Emil, a classic love triangle. Dana likens their relationship to a bee colony with Avra as the queen bee, Dana the worker who attends the queen and Emil the drone. When Emil finally admits to liking Dana back, she has a decision to make. What's a worker bee to do? This is a very engaging and fairly short story. I'm not sure I liked Dana's solution to her dilemma but it seems to work ...more
Jan 08, 2011 Jerilyn rated it liked it
Still mulling over what I thought of this book. I thought it was an interesting subject matter--a girl who's in love with her best friend's boyfriend. But I felt like the best friend was painted as a little too shallow and demanding. The exaggeration made her too much of a caricature and a little unbelievable. I think it would've added some depth and complexity if she were a little more human. I did like how the author wove in bee lore and information to fit with the story.
Dana, Avra and Emil always go everywhere together. Avra is the "queen bee", Emil is her boyfriend, Dana is Avra's best friend. Dana plans to go to college to learn how to be a science writer, is working on her final senior project obout bees, and secretly in love with Emil. Avra's plans are to leave town immediately after prom taking Emil with her. How far will Dana go to deny who she is in order to remain a true friend to someone who isn't such a great friend back.
Shellie Rich
Aug 10, 2009 Shellie Rich rated it really liked it
I loved the audio of this book from Full Cast Audio. The reader who read Dana has the sweetest voice and the whole thing was so well done.

I enjoyed this story as an adult and I think it's a valuable gift to youth. There are so many Avras in the world and it's hard to sort things out when you're like Dana. I love the quiet of this story and this character.
Jul 25, 2009 Dawn rated it liked it
A teen love triangle and a bee theme. Dana is a senior, smart and sensible and attending college on a science writing scholarship (the worker bee). Avra is her queen bee friend, a total drama queen who plans on running away to New York after graduation. Emil (the drone) is Avra's boyfriend, who Dana happens to be in love with. A short, sweet little read.
Nov 10, 2013 Victoria rated it liked it
For being a fairly short read, I felt a real connection to the characters in this book. I really enjoyed this read, and I will be looking into more books by Kathe Koja. If you are considering reading this, just go for it. It's a short read and it was a good read as well. :) A little story about learning how to be yourself and not let others drown you out.
Oct 10, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it
Well written. Believable characters and a situation that resonates with many of us.
The only reason I didn't give this 5 stars is that I listened to the book on CD and the readers were uneven. The Main character was read very well. But the supporting cast were clunky.
If I had read the book in its paper version, I would give it 5 stars.
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Kathe Koja (born 1960) is an American writer. She was initially known for her intense speculative fiction for adults, but over the past few years has turned to writing young adult novels.

Koja is also a prolific author of short stories, including many in collaboration with Barry N. Malzberg. Most of her short fiction remains uncollected. Koja's novels and short stories frequently concern characters
More about Kathe Koja...

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“I knew that change was coming, the way you know things you can't see, by feeling them; by instinct. The way the bees know everything they know.” 2 likes
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