Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Review - The ABC's of Kissing Boys / Tina Ferraro

Parker Stanhope has played soccer practically since she could walk. And now that she’s a high school junior, everything she’s worked for is finally coming together. She’s paid her dues on the field, and as an upperclassman, she’s a shoo-in for the varsity team. But that’s not what happens.

This year, Coach Hartley moved up every JV player but two—and one of those two was Parker. Now, she’s stuck with the freshmen, her friends are cutting her loose, and her love of the game is seriously beginning to fail. But Parker is determined to get her life back. She has to get on the varsity team, and she has the perfect plan. All she needs now is the right kind of coach. Goodreads.

Review - Sometimes all a girl wants is a relatively issue free fun romp with sparky repartee and a little romance. At the moment it seems like these books are few and far between. Tina Ferraro's The ABC's of Kissing Boys was exactly what I wanted - light but meaningful fun, written well with some inventive kisses thrown into the mix. What was a little different was that the guy (the kisser in question) with the kissing goods is a little left of centre for YA. He's the younger man. I know. Shocking, right? It seems relatively minor in terms of challenging boyfriends but hey, I won't date anyone shorter than me, so who am I to judge? Tristan might be younger (he's a freshman, she's a junior) but he definitely has a way about him (and lips) that keep Parker on her toes.

It can seem trivial but in the scheme of all things high school, snogging a freshman is a social death knell. While it could be overwrought, Ferraro mixes healthy introspection with lighter moments that keep the story honest and vastly entertaining. That being said, Parker's idea to get her spot on the varsity soccer team and the impetus for Tristan's coaching, is a stretch. It is quite possibly the most laughable and ridiculous way to go about getting what she wants. While this does impact on the reader's judgement of Parker's intelligence to a degree, it is assisted by Tristan's silent recognition of the flaws in the plan. Desperation can blind a girl's judgement it seems.

The social anxiety and persecution faced by Parker is nicely played. While there are plenty of laughs, the toxicity of her friendship group and the level of judgement placed upon her are realistic. It was great to see the author have her protagonist own her choices within the school environment. Holes didn't exist to be dug deeper, Parker just needed to find other places to play. Sure she's oblivious and a little shallow but the growth this character achieves is well deserved by the end.

The ABCs of Kissing Boys won't cure cancer or grace award lists but it is well crafted with an authentic character arc and parents who are actually involved in their teen's life. It was exactly what I needed and wish there were more like it in the market. This was my first jaunt into Ferraro-territory and it is a place I am quite willing to revisit in the future.

Published - January 9, 2009
Format - Paperback, 224 pages
Publisher - Random House
Source - purchased
Origin - USA


Nomes said...

I liked this one too - and I can imagine I really would have loved it as a teen.

really well thought out review (ah, as always)

Diana Dang said...

I've been wanting to read something fluffy for awhile! I need to read this one soon!

Karen said...

I started reading this on desk one slow Sunday - and had to stop because her plan was ridiculous and I was in no mood for a protagonist that was stupid. Sounds like I should give it another shot, must have been grumpy that day! :)

Adele said...

The plan is stupid...that was never in question. But if you can move beyond that it has a great heart :)

Carolina said...

I can always count on Tina Ferraro for a light, fun cute read. Glad you liked this one.

Michelle said...

Oh! I have this one. This sounds like a great fun.

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