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Kiss Number 8

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  4,292 ratings  ·  885 reviews
Amanda can’t figure out what’s so exciting about kissing. It’s just a lot of teeth clanking, germ swapping, closing of eyes so you can’t see that godzilla-sized zit just inches from your own hormonal monstrosity. All of her seven kisses had been horrible in different ways, but nothing compared to the awfulness that followed Kiss Number Eight. An exploration of sexuality, f ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 12th 2019 by First Second Books
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Laura Ess Well I've just read it and it's June 2019! …moreWell I've just read it and it's June 2019! (less)
Laura Ess The story's fairly well resolved by the end , so it's unlikely to have a sequel, since it's about discovering who you are. …moreThe story's fairly well resolved by the end , so it's unlikely to have a sequel, since it's about discovering who you are. (less)

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Average rating 4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,292 ratings  ·  885 reviews

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Who on earth told this 300-page YA graphic novel that it had to have a more complicated story than most 700-page high fantasy epics?

This did the absolute most for NO reason.

I mean. Some spoilers, but: It’s the story of Amanda, a girl who has kissed seven boys before realizing that she may want to kiss girls, and specifically wants to kiss her female best friend, who is lowkey homophobic, and so in the pages of this story Amanda must kiss more people and also realize her sexuality and also come o
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
Trigger Warning: Homophobia, Transphobia, the f-word

Mads' parents are strained, and what's worse, she thinks her dad is cheating on her mother with another woman. And her dad won't tell her anything about it. But Mads keeps her thoughts away hanging out with her best friend Cat, and kissing boys. Even if the kissing is...gross. Where's the appeal?

Then everything starts to unravel.

And everything starts to make sense.

Forgive me while I mop up the massive tears rolling down my face, k? This was an
This is not a light, fun kissing book. It's a story about family secrets. I didn't like how coy it was about the religious roots of the characters' bigotry. And it was odd how dated the first half of the book felt compared to the progressiveness of the ending. There was a strange disconnect there. ...more
It took me some time, but I got into this book.

I love how they are telling the story through who she is kissing. Kiss number 8 is a game changer for our protagonist Mads. She never finds a reason to stay with boys, but she realizes that her best friend might be more than Mads thought. Her friend is Cat, a wild and boy crazy girl. Kiss #8 was not with Cat, but it was a girl and she finds out that it feels right. This is what she has been looking for, or so she thought.

There is a lot of high dram
Dave Schaafsma
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really liked this National Book award nominee a lot. The art is lively and the dialogue is even livelier. Amanda (Mads) is a student at a small Catholic high school and she is part of a devout Catholic family. The book is attractively framed by a series of head shots of the seven boys and one girl she had at that point kissed (which reminded me of Mari Naomi's Kiss and Tell: A Romantic Resume, Ages 0 to 22). The eighth kiss was by far the most dramatic for her, as her family has a history of d ...more
Kate Olson
May 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rod Brown
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found myself totally engaged with this family drama despite its fairly slow pace and a possibly triggering amount of (view spoiler). I didn't feel nearly done with these characters by the end, and I'd love to see the last dozen pages expanded to another 300-page graphic novel. ...more
2 stars for the story, additional star for the artwork.

You may have seen other reviews saying the cover art does not match the interior story. This is true.
You may have seen other reviews saying there are a lot of plotlines in this book and none of them are really given full service, especially the tale of a transman, and the end result is chaotic. Also true.
You may have seen other reviews saying this takes place in 2004 which makes no sense for a book that's supposed to be aimed at contemporary
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, lgbtq
This book has some pretty strong themes of homophobia and transphobia, but they are handled in possibly the most sensitive way I have ever seen in a comic. The ultimate message of the book is one of joyful self-acceptance and of a family which has been divided for many years by fear and prejudice being healing and reunited. The reason I want to state these facts at the very top of my review is that I almost put the book down after about 40 pages, feeling unsure if I would end up enjoying it. It ...more
Feb 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
*I received an ARC of this book from netgalley and the publisher. This does not affect my review.*

DNF at page 166

TW: transphobia

I’m genuinely baffled why this has such good reviews that call it “light hearted.” I was annoyed basically from the start. Mads is incredibly disrespectful toward her parents, ESPECIALLY her mom, who she repeatedly calls a bitch AND doesn’t tell her friend to NOT talk about her mom. I get not liking your mom, but there’s a line, okay? You don’t let your friends call yo
Sep 18, 2019 added it
Shelves: queer, gn-comics
I.... have a LOT of mixed feelings about this book.

Edited to add: a friend asked me my thoughts and here's more or less what I messaged them. (cw for brief mention of the Shoah)

I really loved a bunch of it--the way that you couldn't figure out (view spoiler) I found the art to be mostly delightful and SO expr
Krista Regester
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Too real not to rate a 5 star.
Jay G
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my youtube channel:

Thank you to First:Second and Raincoast books for sending me a copy of this in exchange for my honest review

4.5/5 Stars

Amanda's best friend Cat is surrounded by drama and loves kissing boys. Trying to fit in, Amanda has had 7 kisses in her 16 years of life which have been...unremarkable at best. But nothing compares to how awful Kiss number 8 was and what follows afterwards. Not to m
Apr 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, ya, graphic-novel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy Bruestle
This is my first graphic novel/comic book style of writing that was in an actual chapter book length that I’ve ever read. I was hesitant at first because I generally steer clear of this type of writing. The only reason I gave it a chance was because of the topic.

I still don’t think I will ever be into this type of book, and definitely don’t see myself searching out other similar books. However, I was pleasantly surprised about how well the comic book themed writing still read like a normal nove
. (not active on this account stop adding me)
Content warnings: transphobia, homophobia, forced outing, homophobic bullying, f slur

Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I sure love me a solid YA graphic novel!
And this is definitely one of those.

This tells the story of the first few romantic experiences in the life of one Mads, a relatively privileged teen. There's a kid next door who's had a crush on her forever, she has a best friend who has very different impulses from Mads, and then a sequence of events causes her to experience her first few kisses. Eight kisses, to be exact. There's also a family history/trauma plotline. I loved the queer visibility here.
I'm throwing some graphic novels in to get my GR Reading Challenge caught up! :-)

Amanda "Mads" Orham attends Catholic school and Mass every Sunday with her best friends Cat and Laura, and minor league baseball games after church with her dad -- "my best friend!" -- and Adam, Laura's younger brother, who's crushing on Amanda. Amanda's curious about boys and kissing, but none of the kisses seem to stick. While Amanda tries to juggle her friendships with bad-girl Cat and buttoned-up Laura, her f
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little slow to get started, though it was necessary to lay the groundwork for all the things that were happening in this story. And a lot were! Not only is Amanda “Mandy” beginning to realize that she’d like to kiss her best friend, Cat (who is the worst friend!), but she’s also finding out that there’s more to her paternal family than she was ever told. Additionally, Mandy discovers that her father and grandfather, her friends, and much of her private Catholic school are homophobic and transp ...more
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It feels impossible to review this book actually, which was an absolute knock-down fucking wonder, both because it unfolds so tenderly and surprisingly that to clumsily and haphazardly crash through the plot would do it a great disservice, and also because Colleen is a very old (in time, not age!!) friend of mine and the co-founder of my ladies' graphic novel book club, and if I blurt too much out about how in awe I am of this book, it will probably be hard to look at her normally at our next me ...more
Feb 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. I liked the first maybe two thirds, but then it got pretty rushed and confusing, and I felt like a lot of Amanda's issues with figuring out her sexuality came out of nowhere.

TWs: transphobia, homophobia, d slur, outing
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

I really loved this!!!
Lauren Lanz
This was the first graphic novel I’ve read that’s even slightly problematic.

Kiss Number 8 follows Amanda, a girl who has kissed 7 people in the past and is still learning to discover herself and her sexuality with the upcoming 8th kiss.

That was a real simple, very vague description. This graphic novel contains far too many complex plotlines, rendering each one of them underdeveloped and nearly meaningless. Many of the characters were unlikeable because the author chose to make them that way. Th
Rachel Sperber
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
I had high hopes for this graphic novel since it was labeled LGBTQ+. As most of the reviews have revealed there is a lot of homophobia in this book. While I can understand putting that type of content in a book to create a backstory but it seems to be a little heavy handed and not REALLY sending a positive message out to queer youth. I really liked the graphics but I think the story could have been so much more with a lot less hatred in it's characters. ...more
J.T.  Yorke
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing! I love the drawing, I love the characters, I love the plot, I love the representation, basically everything was perfect.

What I really enjoyed was how realistic the conclusion of the story was. It felt like something that could really happen to someone.

I also thought the complexity of the main character mads was spot-on. There were moments where I wanted to slap her and other moments where I completely understood her.

I need a sequel to this story ASAP!
Logan Hughes
Mar 30, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics, trans, lgbtya, queer
This is the first graphic novel from First Second books that I have not liked!

I thought this was going to be a story about a teen girl figuring out (after kissing 7 boys) that she is into girls, specifically her best friend as pictured on the cover, and it IS, but it has a major subplot about trans people that blindsided and upset me as a trans person.

This is one of those nominally positive portrayals of trans suffering that are often done by well-meaning cis people: the kind that make you, as
Jul 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I hated a lot of this book! This was the kind of reading experience that I enjoyed a lot more once I got to the end and could read the backmatter where Venable and Crenshaw talk more about the project. That, for me, was where a lot of the pieces finally gelled. But that should have been happening during the actual reading experience. It doesn't make sense to me that the story takes place in 2004 which, to me, largely feels like it's happening because that happened to be when Venable started writ ...more
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You might know me from such films as "Colleen's Fourth Birthday Party" and "Colleen Falls Down Over and Over Again While Ice Skating."

Fun facts!
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(See National Pancake Day or Lumberjack Day, every Sept 26)
-I once sang back-up on an album nominated for the Polka Grammy.
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