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Kissing Tennessee: and Other Stories from the Stardust Dance
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Kissing Tennessee: and Other Stories from the Stardust Dance

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3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  149 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Mason and Carrie Marie can't get up the courage to ask each other to dance. Russ's girlfriend has died, and now he's just trying to live without her. Peggy Lee has grown up with Tennessee--how can she ever think of him as more than a friend?

In these moving tales and others, Kathi Appelt captures the sometimes amusing, sometimes touching missteps of some unforgettable stude
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Paperback, 132 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 2000)
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Bunheads by Sophie FlackA Company of Swans by Eva IbbotsonBallet Shoes by Noel Streatfeilddancergirl by Carol M. TanzmanOn Pointe by Lorie Ann Grover
YA Dance Books
45th out of 81 books — 129 voters
Three by Tennessee by Tennessee WilliamsThe Samaritan's Pistol by Eric BishopResurrecting Lazarus, Texas by Nathan BarberA Religious Orgy in Tennessee by H.L. MenckenNotes on the State of Virginia by Thomas Jefferson
Name of State (USA): T-W
21st out of 110 books — 20 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 279)
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ALPHAreader
It’s Friday May 31st. Between 8pm and 11pm the Dogwood Junior High cafeteria will be transformed with cardboard stars and sparkling moons hanging from wire, and the Rot Whilers belt out tunes for the eighth graders. This is the Stardust Dance – a night when boys can be daring, one lucky girl will be crowned Stardust Queen and magic might just happen. . .

First published in 2000, ‘Kissing Tennessee: and Other Stories from the Stardust Dance’ is a collection of young adult short stories by Kathi A
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Erin
This collection of short stories, centered around an 8th grade graduation dance, packs a powerful punch. The title, Kissing Tennessee, comes from one of the "easier" stories in this collection. While a handful of the stories do center on inexplicable crushes and wanting to dance with "the one," other issues that Appelt takes up are of a much "heavier" nature: family abuse,death of a first girlfriend, questioning of sexual orientation, rape, divorce and poverty.

As my 8th grade students are in the
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Christy Hudson
"Kissing Tennessee" contains a series of short stories, each focusing on a different character, all centering around one event, an end-of-the-year dance at a junior high school. Each of the characters share their opinions of the dance, their fellow students, and other things that are going on in their lives that affect them at that moment. It is written in many different styles, with stories in first, second, and third person points of view.
I thought that it was an interesting and creative boo
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Alissa Bach
UPDATE 4/2/14: Just finished. This one wasn't nearly as awesome as the author's later novels (I think, at the time of writing, she still had yet to find her groove as a writer), which is not to say it wasn't enjoyable. Because it was. Despite it's short length, Kissing Tennessee has a lot of depth to it. Ten individual-but-related short stories follow several teens attending the annual Stardust Dance. Some are dealing with typical teen angst like self-doubt and insecurities about whether that sp ...more
Rachel
This was a sweet book, and a fast read.
Shirley :]
The book Kissing Tennessee is filled of short stories that mainly catch the idea of how in your teen years everything is always changing. The stories are different and talk about how as a teen we face our different problems and ask ourselves questions. Whether it be if life, love or friends. In one of the stories I learned that most of the time as a teen you tend to exaggerate your situation and not think about others and their struggles. Not knowing that others may have it way worst than you. ...more
Emily Huffman
I was completely charmed by this book. I picked it up to prepare for my upcoming stint at VCFA, where Appelt is a faculty member in the Writing for Children and Young Adults MFA program. It was close to my bedtime, and I meant to read only fifty pages before quitting, but then I told myself, "One more story..." and then I told myself, "Why not just finish the book?"

So yes. I read it in one sitting. It is definitely a one sitting-able book to read, as it is just over 100 pages.

I've been out of m
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Angela Fristoe
I picked this up because really who can resist a bunch of stories centered on a dance? Okay, so lots of people. I however am not one of them. I was lucky enough that my junior high had dances every month in addition to the lunch time sock-hops the last Friday of every month (No, I didn't grow up in the 50's!).

I loved the idea of this book, and some of the story blurbs were exactly what I was looking for. That said, it just didn't deliver. I wanted drama, romance, fun, and a few tears. What I got
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Beth
The first page issues the invite, but it is Appelt's evocative poem "Invitation" that sets the stage and brings the reader right back to his or her first dance. Through the characters, we relive the whole melodrama: the anticipation of kisses-not-given, the ecstasy of being asked to dance (and the anguish of asking), the magic that makes you see your best friend in a whole new light, crushes of one kind or another, and the disagreements with parents over what to wear from shoes to ribbons and li ...more
Alexandria Jakupovic
Tawny, a young girl wants to feel special at eh Stardust dance. She has her high spirits and her pair of red rhinestone shoes. Mary Sarah who always went by the same routine now tries to look nice for the dance by tying a colored ribbon in her hair. If that wasn't exciting enough (sarcasm but still it's exciting to her) She also wears Lipstick. Peggy Lee is in an entranced state think about her child hood friend Tennessee and the kisses (as in the title). The Stardust Dance at Dogwood Junior Hig ...more
Sommer Ann McCullough
Jun 25, 2007 Sommer Ann McCullough rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: If you like small town fiction, many stories all in one, or high school dances
One of the best books of all time! I do believe I've read this book quite a few times, and it always gets better! This novel is a collection of different people all on the same night, The Stardust Dance. You see many different persepctives and hear various stories from a girl who ran away from her strict Christian parents, to a boy questioning his sexuality, and a girl who's always had a crush on the same boy since grade school. It is endearing and touching, hearing so many naive and beautiful s ...more
Jana
5 sweet chocolate chip cookies.

Cover Love: It's alright. The color is what caught my eye. That and the author's name.

Why I Wanted to Read This:
I was doing inventory in my library and started with the short story books. When I saw this one was written by Kathi Appelt I immediately started reading. She is amazing.

Read the rest of my review here on my blog.
Paola Perez
I really loved this book. Especially the ending. As someone who considers their middle school and high school experience a very fun and exciting time in my life, I felt extremely nostalgic after completing this book. I thought the deeply personal stories were moving and were very indicative of growing up and coming of age.

At times the stories got a bit slow but was no major detriment for me. I did very much enjoy this read
Heidi Landry Phelps
Appelt uses voice to create eight distinct chapters, eight different personalities, each told from his/her point of view. She uses one setting and gets into the head of each of the characters. The perspectives are shown through individual thoughts, dialogue and his/her actions. She ties them altogether at the end by including their presence in the last scene to create one cohesive story.
Jenna Harte
Collection of short stories centered around an eighth grade dance and the students who will be in attendance. Each story is different and is told by someone from a different background: two sisters with an over-protective father, a girl who was raped at the dance, a boy who realizes he may be homosexual, and more. Short reads but interesting material. Many teens could relate to the stories.
Cheryl
Oh goodness I'm glad I'm not 14. Yes, even the 'lightest' stories here are melodramatic, but that's exactly authentic for early teens. Beautifully written snapshots - too fleeting for me, as I'm such an experienced reader, but for most of its audience it would be plenty deep and rich enough.
Betsy
I was expecting light, fluffy stories from the description of this book--basically a collection of short stories. Some of the stories, though, deal with VERY serious issues. I'm still thinking about some of the characters, several weeks later. Appelt uses beautiful language.
Kellie
A lovely group of stories. I liked knowing about all the different people at the dance, and what was going on with them. However, they all left you wondering: What happened with Becca? Did Carrie Marie and Mason get together? Who was the Stardust King and Queen?
rosegold26
This book is brilliant. It's everything a series of short stories should be, and it paints a brilliant picture of the worlds and lives of a handful of teenagers gathered together by circumstance for an end-of-the-year school dance. A beautiful, beautiful book.
Mk
Mar 03, 2012 Mk rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: J S
Several short stories all told from teens who are at a high school dance. Each story is distinct, but references may be made to characters in other stories. Stories are emotional and at times tragic. Extremely appealing and engaging.
Sitta
Aug 01, 2007 Sitta rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: friends
It consist of several teen short-stories (and problems they face) that lead to one celebration "The Stardust Dance". The stories vary from sad to bubbly-happy one--but all of them wrapped in such inspiring way.
Mr. Steve
This book got great reviews...I hated it! The premise was good...each chapter told of a different story taking place at an 8th grade dance. But I didn't like any of the stories. Maybe it's just me. Boo!
Kristin Aker Howell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rad
Short, inter-connected stories about a junior high dance. This book makes me nostalgic for junior high, and anyone who knows me knows that's quite a feat.
Kenesha
This book is just a lot of point of views at a eight grade dance. I don't think many people will like it, I didn't really like it that much.
April Watkins
Giving this little book 5 stars because for the last several days of class my 8th graders have been absolutely enraptured by these stories.
Diana Gagliardi
Various stories of middle school and tales of one night. Not everyone has a happy ending, but everyone learns more about themselves...
Rachel
Sweet short stories with lots of emotional impact. Note some very mild content may not be suitable for all readers.
Elena
this book was ok! not the best but not the worst!!!
Aimee Dillon
One of my most favorite (!!!!!!!!) books of all time!!!
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What's The Name o...: Anthology about a school dance [s] 6 20 Mar 15, 2013 02:22PM  
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Lives in College Station, TX with husband Ken and four adorable cats.

Two sons, both musicians.

Serves on the faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts in the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults Program.
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“Tennessee. Now there's a name for you. His mama named him that on account of their last name being so regular. 'With a plain vanilla name like Jones, you gotta have a first name that's special,' she'd said.” 2 likes
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