Sarah's Stars

Wendelin Van Draanen. Confessions of a Serial Kisser
Knopf  $19.99  ISBN 978-0-375-84248-1  294 pg.
Reviewed by Lindsey, Age 14

The phone rang as I was ransacking a cupboard.
"Unless you've got chocolate, go away!" I shouted into the cans of beans and boxes of couscous.
The person on the other end ignored my command.
Or perhaps they had chocolate!
On the sixth ring I scrambled to answer the call. "Hello?" I panted.
A voice whispered, "You're nothing but a stupid tease."
Before I could fully absorb what I'd just heard, the line went dead. It had been a girl's voice...but whose?

Ever since Evangeline discovered her mom's secret stash of romance novels, she's been after her own "crimson kiss." She's practically memorized her favourite one, A Crimson Kiss (obviously) and she takes it with her everywhere. Her best friend Adrienne is a little worried about the idea but when Evangeline cuts her hair and gets a new style (and a confidence boost!) she's happy for her friend. Evangeline feels great! But even if she has a wonderful best friend, a dad who cheated on her mother, a steady diet of ice cream and classic rock music and a great new look, she still can't forget about the perfect kiss. With the aid of a self-help book, Evangeline sets out to find her one perfect kiss. But soon enough, she's earned a reputation as a tease, a skank, and a tramp. Adrienne is supportive enough but then, Evangeline goes too far by kissing the guy she has a crush on. Soon they're caught in a bitter feud and to make matters worse, Evangeline's mom is trying to work things out with her dad again, an idea she hates. Can Evangeline make things right between her and Adrienne? And will she ever find her perfect, crimson kiss?

Confessions of a Serial Kisser is a smart novel that captures the romantic heart of every girl and manages to create realistic drama. Adrienne and Evangeline's friendship seems a little too good to be true at first but as the story unfolds you realize that they are both detailed characters. I appreciated the subplot with Evangeline's father and mother because it added a bit more depth to what could have been just another silly girl book. I also appreciated the fact that for a book about kissing, the inappropriate content was reasonably restrained. Evangeline is a likeable character (even if she is a bit ditzy) whose story can be enjoyed by older teenagers as well as younger ones and tweens. The satisfying conclusion hints at necessary lessons learned and the family conflicts end happily and hopefully.

I give Wendelin Van Draanen's Confessions of a Serial Kisser four out of five stars.


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