Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I Kiss Girls

I Kiss Girls by Gina Harris
Round Rock, TX: Prizm, 2007
196 pages
3.5 out of 5

Joanie’s got all of the problems of an almost seventeen year old girl. She’s trying to get her driver’s license, her mom and dad are pressuring her about going to prom, and she never can seem to make it to the bus on time.

Even worse, Joanie likes girls, not boys, and all of the girls in her hometown are pretty darned straight. Her best friend, Zane, can attest to that, considering that he never has trouble getting a girl, even if he’s not interested in the freshmen who swarm around him. When new girl Kate shows up, needing tutoring in math and chemistry, Joanie figures Zane will get the date, like he always does, and that makes life even more difficult.

Joanie’s in for a surprise, though, because Kate doesn’t fall for her good-looking best friend. In fact, Kate seems to like girls, too, and things get a little scary when Kate asks Joanie out on a date.

Somehow Joanie knows if she says yes to Kate, things will change forever. Can she manage to pass her driving test, get to prom, and come out to her parents the way Kate wants her to? Or will Joanie’s seventeenth birthday be the worst day in history?

It's good that books like these exist, but just because something is needed doesn't mean it should be rushed. This title is poorly edited, with glaring mistakes that I could be persuaded to overlook, except for the fact that they pulled me completely out of the story.

Joanie's an well-rounded character. She's 17, working to get her license, getting ready for prom. Typical teen. There's a lot of repetition in her activities. Though I'd say this is true of many titles, others have worked it so that it doesn't sound the same each time. Joanie's love interest, on the hand other hand, falls flat. Kate is beautiful, and out to her parents. But other than her being pretty and smart, I'm not sure why Joanie is so interested. Unless it's just because all the other girls at Joanie's school are straight. That's not exactly the best reason to get into a relationship.

Her best friend Zane is pretty great. Listening to her and only being slightly jealous when he realizes that Kate has an interest in Joanie instead of him. I was surprised that Zane is a total ladies man with freshman fawning all over him. I would have expected video-gaming nerd, and like the change up.

The oddest addition, but probably the most necessary, is Joanie's driving instructor. She has really personal conversations with him about her situation. The best part of this is that I feel like it shows it's ok to discuss or think aloud around a trusted adult that's not necessarily a parent.

Overall, this is a decent title. The poor editing is a bit of a distraction, but the angst, frustration, and fear that Joanie experience all come across very well. And although Janie's sexuality is a huge focus in this title, it's not everything she is. In the middle of dealing with her feelings related to Kate and how or if she should tell her parents, she's just a normal teenager.

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