In the two years since her father died, sixteen-year-old Eva has found comfort in reading romance novels—118 of them, to be exact—to dull the pain of her loss that’s still so present. Her romantic fantasies become a reality when she meets Will, who seems to truly understand Eva’s grief. Unfortunately, after Eva falls head-over-heels for him, he picks up and moves to California without any warning. Not wanting to lose the only person who has been able to pull her out of sadness—and, perhaps, her shot at real love—Eva and her best friend, Annie, concoct a plan to travel to the west coast to see Will again. As they road trip across America, Eva and Annie confront the complex truth about love.
In this honest and emotional journey that National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr calls “gorgeous, funny, and joyous,” readers will experience the highs of infatuation and the lows of heartache as Eva contends with love in all of its forms. – Goodreads
Kissing in America is a heartbreaking story about grief, love and how life doesn’t always turn out how you think it should. I went into this book not knowing much about it but was hooked quickly when the main character, Eva, makes this statement:
I fell in love with romance novels. It wasn’t even just regular book-love. I was crazy for them, head-over-heels, obsessed–2%, eARC
This is something that upsets her feminist mother, because can you be a feminist and read romance novels? Eva believes so. I know I personally do and I’ve had a discussion with multiple friends of mine about how we’re feminists and enjoy romance novels. However, Eva’s mom doesn’t think so. Her mother also hates that Eva believes in true great love. Eva’s mom no longer believes in true love since Eva’s dad died in a plan crash years prior.
Although Kissing in America starts off with a very fast love story between Eva and Will, which is so realistic it killed me. 16 year old Ashley was a lot like 16 year old Eva. Wondering why her friends, and crush wasn’t saying what she practiced in her head over and over again. Heck. That’s a lot like 26 year old me. YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO SAY EXACTLY WHAT I PRACTICED. WHY ARE YOU DEVIATING FROM THAT?! The thing about Kissing in America is while it starts with a bang of a love story, it’s more than that. It’s about friendships and grief.
Eva and her mom have never grieved properly and because of that there is a giant wedge in their relationship. Eva is convinced her mom no longer cares about her and because of that Eva and her best friend decided to try out for a game show that is in California. The problem of course is that Eva lives in New York City and her mother will not allow her to ride on a plane (see her father’s death). Instead they decided to take a cross country road trip by bus and hit cities where family and friends who are family live.
What I didn’t expect to find on the road trip was how Eva was barely surviving and really needed to work things out with her mom. I also enjoyed that the ending to the novel wasn’t tied in a neat little bow, but it could not have been a more perfect ending for Kissing in America. I cannot wait to see what Rabb writes next, she definitely has a new fan in me.
Okay. Honesty time here, I resisted this book for quite sometime. The cover bothered me. I know, one isn’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, but it reminded me a lot of another YA book and I loved that book and I guess in my head only one book could rock that cover? IDK. I was fucked up, what can I say. I’m glad I got over myself though because Kissing in America is a great book. It has everything I love in YA novels: strong female friendships! family! discussion of romance novels! My kindle app is full of quotes I just want to read over and over again.