I've been putting off this review for since the week before Kiss It was released. The reason for that? I was (and still am to a degree) uncertain abouI've been putting off this review for since the week before Kiss It was released. The reason for that? I was (and still am to a degree) uncertain about just what my feelings were toward this novel. With Kiss It, Erin Downing has told a very frank tale of teenage sexuality and the inevitable pressures and realities inherent to the subject that could potentially be very polarizing.
The protagonist, Chaz, narrates her quest to finally have sex. Her reasons for the urgency behind her goal seem stereotypical at first - she's a bundle of teenage hormones and horniness. However, despite being somewhat emotionally closed-off and having an aversion to romantic attachment, it becomes apparent through her loneliness amongst her friends and family that what she needs is a true connection with someone. Still, she's aggressive, blunt and, at times, given to using a certain male character to reach her goal. She feels guilt at the appropriate times, but her abrasive personality and the fact that she uses someone multiple times makes her a hard character to like. That said, I may not have liked Chaz much but at least she was real - a quality that I admire in people both actual and fiction. Her authenticity and awareness of her developing sexuality is something that I could relate to and, therefore, use to connect with her. As long as I can understand a character, I don't need to love them.
Another thing that makes Chaz more palatable and her story a bit less polarizing is the romance that takes place between her and Sebastien, a fellow high-school senior who is visiting his Dad in Chaz's town. The tension zinging between the two of them is present from the start and never lets up. That doesn't preclude there relationship from getting of to an awkward start, however. In Sebastien, Chaz finds a kindred spirit and an begins to open up to both him and the reader. As we gain insight into our protagonist, we also learn more about the mysterious and sexy boy that she's falling for. His story is pretty intriguing and unique, although I didn't quite buy how extreme it was made out to be.
While not surprising, it is interesting to watch Chaz's views of love and sex change during the course of the story. Her relationship with Sebastien progresses quickly but remains believable given the circumstances of the novel and their ages. If you choose to pick this one up, don't go into it thinking that it's just a romance. Not only is it more than that, but you'll inevitably be disappointed with the less-than-fairy-tale ending.
Though my regard toward Chaz remains somewhat conflicted, I do feel that it's important to have YA novels like this one - so open about the topic of sex while not being preachy or neglecting to touch upon various viewpoints....more
You may have heard about my thing for the guilty pleasure reads that are Kate Brian's Private series. So it should come as no surprise that I did a liYou may have heard about my thing for the guilty pleasure reads that are Kate Brian's Private series. So it should come as no surprise that I did a little happy dance when I got this baby in the mail. Written under her real name, Scott has delivered all the over-privileged, teenage drama goodness that is her trademark with She's So Dead to Us.
Ally and her mother have returned to her hometown after a year of exile to Baltimore due to a huge financial scandal involving her (missing) father. Of course, since all of her former friends are spoiled brats and many several of them from families affected by the finance scheme-gone-wrong, Ally finds herself an outcast among people that she's known her entire life. There is an exception, however. Jake Graydon, the new "Crest" kid in town, is initially oblivious to the Ally-affair. He flirts with her only to later find out that his new friends deem her off-limits.
Oh, the tangled webs! I have to give it to Ms. Scott. Here she's once again brought us the Gossip Girl-ish, rich-kid spectacle when some new elements. Since this novel is set in a town (as opposed to a boarding school like her Private series) and revolves primarily around a group of tight knit families, the parents and there issues factor in largely with the plot and a lot of the teens' behavior. Ally and her mother find themselves longing for their former lives and relationships and dealing with the fallout of Mr. Ryan's scandal. Ally often bases her decisions on trying to keep her mom happy and oblivious to the poor treatment she receives from her old crew. The other teens, especially Jake and Shannon (Ally's former best friend and new enemy), are also contending with tough family issues that factor into their social and romantic lives. This serves to make these kids feel more realistic and their issues and more relatable, despite the fact that most of them are wealthy...