Kissing in America by Margo Rabb
My Rating: 4/5
Synopsis: 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.
“…I think sometimes the biggest influence isn’t what’s present in your life, but what’s absent. Those missing pieces that shape and change you, the silences that are louder than the noise.”
What a pleasant surprise – this book managed to be so raw and emotional and real and capture feelings of a high school student dealing with the death of her dad two years prior and so much more.
The novel starts off and we find out that our main character Eva has had a crush on this boy named Will for quite some time and then suddenly he ends up moving to California from New York so our MC & her best friend decide to go on a cross country road trip! This was actually the first book I’ve read with a road trip so I really enjoyed that aspect of the novel. The only thing I would have wanted more of or changed about this book are the first 50-80 pages or so – I just wanted more backstory! We’re thrown into this crush that Eva has on Will and proclaims love rather quickly, which I don’t mind but I just wish as a reader we got to see more of what got her to that crush. It wouldn’t have to be a slow burn, but just more insight on how Eva’s feelings toward Will came to be.
I really did enjoy reading from Eva’s point of view because she is relatable no matter how obscene and annoying she could be at times because I had similar experiences when I had crushes at a younger age. Not only did I like Eva though, I really really loved Annie’s character as well!! I’m such a nerd sometimes and reading about a character as driven and smart as Annie was so refreshing. I loved Lulu and Janet and Irma and just every single side character. I loved how raw Eva’s emotions were especially her emotions toward her dad. Since this is a novel about self discovery, the death of her father plays a big role. Considering our MC loses her father at 14, she feels such a wide array of emotions and Margo Rabb does an EXCELLENT job of portraying those feelings because at times while I was reading I had to put the book down because it was so emotionally draining to read.
Overall this book has fantastic characters, great chemistry between everyone and emotions for DAYS. I highly recommend this book for anyone that’s looking for a great contemporary novel with genuine relationships and deep emotions!