Sunday 25 April 2010

Review - Confessions of a Serial Kisser / Wendelin Van Draanen

EVANGELINE LOGAN WANTS a kiss. A spectacular, heart-stopping, life changing kiss. Somehow The Crimson Kiss (a romance novel she’s become obsessed with) and Four Steps to Living Your Fantasy (a self-help book she’s reading) have fused in Evangeline’s mind and sent her on a quest for a kiss. But the path to perfection is paved with many bad kisses—the smash mouth, the ear licker, the “misser.” The phrase “I don’t kiss and tell” means nothing to the boys in her school. And worse: someone starts writing her name and number on bathroom walls. And worst of all: the boy she's just kissed turns out to be her best friend’s new crush. Kissing turns out to be way more complicated than the romance novels would have you believe . . .Goodreads


Review -On face value this book sounds like a delightful afternoon read. For many people it will be. As for me, what sounded like a great premise melted into a pot of steaming anger, frustrating and confusion.

Evangeline could be described as well rounded if she weren't so perpetually dim. No one, well a girl at least, can't run around a school pashing guys left and right without developing a reputation...unfounded or not. It shocks me that the character never considered this when in search of a kiss that only exists in the romantic novel where she got the idea in the first place. Of course she was never going to get her crimson kiss from an anonymous snog...the whole point of romantic novels is that it means something more than precise tongue action and a good handle on one's saliva. Ugh.

I am rushing through this review because I can't be particularly diplomatic. I hate coming across as a shrew but this novel calls out for it. The minor story of her anger towards her father is excellent until they resolve it. A daughter has every right to be righteously angry at her father for cheating on her mother. Her own behaviour, whether it parallels it in any way (I don't agree that it did) has no bearing on the way he disregarded their family in his selfish choices. Maybe I am projecting too much onto this novel but it just flat out angered me.

As for the protagonist's amazing ability to cut and colour someone's hair to perfectly suit them? Don't ask or you will get a tirade.

Side note - I loathe when a character's old school music preference is used to make them look a) retro cool and 2) wise. I am guessing that was the intent here but it lost me when not one song title, but sometimes three or four in succession, were listed. It just came across as a middle aged author unconvincingly depicting a young person with retro leanings. It played false.

I wanted this book to be better, to be more. It disappointed me greatly. Somewhere in there was a great novel but it was swamped by the ridiculous and I couldn't get past it.

Published: 2009
Format: Paperback, 304 pages
Publisher: Random House's Children Books
Source: purchased
Origin: USA


Robby said...

There are a lot of timems that books just don't click with me, either. I've seen this book a few times and considered reading it, but I've never picked it up.
I'm glad you reviewed it this way, honestly. It's good to have some perspective. :]

shabbygeek said...

Not sure I would pick up this book based on premise alone. It's funny that you reviewed this -- I was out to dinner the other day w/ Hubs & friends and we were all talking about first kiss experiences & whatnot. The fact that someone would go around kissing people for the "perfect kiss" kinda grosses me out. That stuff takes WORK, SISTER. ;)

Jan von Harz said...

I have read Van Draanen's Sammy Keyes series and enjoyed them. It is too bad that this book lacks for substance. I guess even author's lack perspective when writing or try too hard to reach the YA group by throwing in too many ingredients that might work, but don't.

Gaby G said...

Too bad this wasnt good. I wanted to read it.

Audrey (holes In My brain) said...

I dunno, just reading a synopsis about a girl running around kissing boys just screams...*insert choice profanity here*
I don't know if I could forgive a cheater, personally, so I know that aspect would bug me too.
(and side note, I found the music thing to work *really really well* in The Piper's Son and with Tom's character, thoughts?)

Excellent, articulate review (as always) Adele, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Awe, that sucks. :( It sounds like a cute read though. That for the honest and articulate review!

Anonymous said...

Talking about a honest review, Have you ever read a book by Sarra Manning (Diary of a crush trilogy)? I would love to hear your opinions