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Monday, January 2, 2012

Review: If We Kiss by Rachel Vail

How much thought does one put into a kiss?

Some say the experience is life changing. That moment when your lips met someone else's can change you. Some will disagree. But whether it be sloppy or sweet or hurried, first kisses tend to stick with you your whole life. And in Charlie's case, a wave of enormous changes swept through her life because of that meeting of the lips.

Title: If We Kiss by Rachel Vail
Pages: 288
Release Date: December 27, 2011
Published by: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher (thanks, Marissa!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository


What would happen if we kiss?

Kevin led me quickly around the side of the building, then stopped. I managed not to crash into him. I tried to look calm, cool, unperturbed. I told myself not to laugh, especially not a snorting kind of laugh. "Wha . . . what did . . ."

And then he kissed me.

If We Kiss is the story of Charlotte (Charlie to her friends), who finds herself falling for a boy who is off-limits. Her best friend is in love with him, and her mother and his father are dating. Still, Charlie can't help but wonder, what would happen if we kiss?

It's amusing how much time and effort Charlie spent thinking of her first kiss. It didn't help when her best friend, Tess, kept on egging her on about her lack of experience in the kissing department as well. Do you give in to the pressure or do you not? Charlie is an endearing teenage girl, lively and has great opinions about life, and relationships, and boys and, well, kissing. Or her lack of first kiss. Charlie's internal monologue can be confusing at times, but she's an entertaining character.

It's difficult to "appreciate" Charlie's first kiss even if it was done spontaneously. Would you want a guy who kisses sloppily and kisses every single girl he can get his hands on to be your first kiss? But despite Kevin's questionable character, I think it's quite fortunate for Charlie to have gotten her first experience from someone like Kevin. Coincidence? Maybe. Their lives are tangled with each other and no matter how hard they try, they couldn't get out of it. I'm not sure what to make of their relationship because it's a running theme in the book for people to not be able to define what they have with each other. Tess wasn't sure she was Kevin's girlfriend. Charlie wasn't sure what she is to Kevin. The only definite relationship there is was with Kevin's father and Charlie's mom, which was still a little bit confusing because no one had the guts to admit and define just what their relationship is until they were forced to. That's what frustrated me in this book.

I felt the need to bring out more of George's character if he was to be an important part of the story. The readers don't have much chance of knowing who he is, that's why it's a little surprising to see a character who barely had focus to be an integral part of it. Kevin, on the other hand, is an 'okay' character. I wasn't as fascinated of his personality, mainly because of his image, which he hasn't really outgrown throughout the novel. 

If We Kiss was on the mark in showing what would happen if Kevin and Charlie kissed. The kiss was a prelude to unraveling a lot of things in Charlie's life. What's sad in If We Kiss is, on top of the complications brought upon by the kiss is the eventual falling out of Charlie and Tess's friendship. Even so, I like the honest portrayal of that part too. We tend to feel insecure of our friends at one point in our lives, and it was brave for Charlie to admit just that. It was painful but it needs to be said and done.

If We Kiss is a beginner's guide to kissing, relationships, and the all too delicate topic of keeping together a family, much less forming a new one, through the perspective of a fourteen year old girl who is well on her way into discovering the world of being a grown up. Funny at times, often serious but overall a very interesting read.

My rating

Content (plot, story flow, character):

Okay: Liked, but The Goddess demands more!

Book Cover:
The new book cover gave the book a more mature feel.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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