Myracle, Lauren. Kissing Kate. Speak, 2007 (reissue). ISBN 978-0142408698 208 pp. $7.99
I want to second all of April’s comments about Kissing Kate by Lauren Myracle. It’s an awesome teen identity book. It’s a journey and exploration and exactly what I love about good teen coming of age fiction. Myracle manages to tackle some tough issues with heart and maturity while still appealing to a teen reader. The story goes something like this: Lissa and her best friend Kate share a kiss and a little bit more on a drunken party night. Now, they aren’t speaking.
Lissa holds on to this secret tightly. (The way she holds on to this secret reminds me of the main character in Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak). Lissa is ashamed and scared and missing her friend Kate. But through some new friendships that she makes in Kate’s absence, Lissa gains the courage to face her feelings and come to terms with the fact that she might be gay. I put the book down feeling like Lissa was not completely resolved about whether or not she was a lesbian and I really liked that. There is so much ambiguity in those pesky teen years… it just seemed like the right way to end the book.
See April’s review for another take on Kissing Kate!
It’s so sad when a book has so much potential!
But it’s definitely not worth trudging through a lousy book when there are so many gems out there!
Like I just finished Kissing Kate by Lauren Myracle. It’s been marketed (for lack of a better word) as a gay-teen book but it goes way beyond that scope to explore the universal theme of identity. In fact it’s one of the best identity books I have read in quite some time and I would recommend it to lots of teens, not just ones exploring their sexuality. I think that’s what makes this book such a winner. It also deals with friendship, which is closely tied into identity though I don’t think we always think of the two as related. I liked the simplicity and reality of the writing. It’s emotional but also funny which reflects real life 🙂
Right before that I finished Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. This book has won many awards and is always featured on school reading lists. Somehow it escaped me. I was doing some booktalking for fifth grade classes and O’Dell was one of the authors. Figured it was a good time to read Island of the Blue Dolphins and was I blown away! It’s an amazing story. If a kid looked at the book cover they might make some erroneous assumptions… dolphins, a girl…blah, blah, blah… meanwhile (sorry to say this) it’s one of the best “boy” books I have ever read! It’s classic adventure. There’s wild dogs, warriors and chiefs, hunting and weapon making, survival! But it’s also about humanity and the message runs clear without being didactic. I just wish I had read it sooner! When I booktalked it to the kids I got them into a discussion about “boy” books versus “girl” books and this book really helps illustrate that it’s more about the story than the gender of the main character.
See Alli’s review for another take on Kissing Kate!