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Kissing Tennessee: and Other Stories from the Stardust Dance

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  185 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 stud
Paperback, 132 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 2000)
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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 — 22 voters
The Underneath by Kathi AppeltKeeper by Kathi AppeltThe True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi AppeltUntitled Kathi Appelt Novel 2 by Kathi AppeltCounting Crows by Kathi Appelt
Best of Kathi Appelt
10th out of 42 books — 1 voter

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Community Reviews

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Oct 29, 2012 ALPHAreader rated it liked it
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
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
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
Christy Hudson
Jun 02, 2014 Christy Hudson rated it liked it
Shelves: books-1-12
"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
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
Apr 04, 2010 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a sweet book, and a fast read.
Shirley :]
Sep 08, 2010 Shirley :] rated it liked it
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
Apr 10, 2013 Emily Huffman rated it it was amazing
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
Angela Fristoe
Jan 26, 2013 Angela Fristoe rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-books
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
Jan 03, 2010 Beth rated it really liked it
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
Max Ostrovsky
Cute. Very cute. What I especially liked about these connected short stories were the very adult issues. This was a young adult short story collection that didn't talk down to teens and raised the issues that teenagers should be thinking about and considerate of, even if it feels uncomfortable.
Sommer Ann McCullough
Jun 25, 2007 Sommer Ann McCullough rated it it was amazing
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
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
Feb 13, 2013 Paola Perez rated it really liked it
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
May 17, 2011 Heidi Landry Phelps rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
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
May 28, 2013 Jenna Harte rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lis722
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.
Jul 09, 2009 Betsy rated it liked it
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.
Jun 19, 2012 Kellie rated it liked it
Shelves: pre-2010
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?
Sep 10, 2013 rosegold26 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 03, 2012 Mk rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 01, 2007 Sitta rated it really liked it
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
May 13, 2009 Mr. Steve rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya, never-again
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.
May 18, 2009 Rad rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-and-loved, ya
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.
Oct 15, 2007 Kenesha rated it did not like it
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.
May 12, 2013 April rated it it was amazing
Giving this little book 5 stars because for the last several days of class my 8th graders have been absolutely enraptured by these stories.
Mz. Diana Gagliardi
Various stories of middle school and tales of one night. Not everyone has a happy ending, but everyone learns more about themselves...
May 13, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it
Sweet short stories with lots of emotional impact. Note some very mild content may not be suitable for all readers.
Jan 24, 2010 Elena rated it liked it
this book was ok! not the best but not the worst!!!
Aimee Dillon
Feb 02, 2009 Aimee Dillon rated it it was amazing
One of my most favorite (!!!!!!!!) books of all time!!!
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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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