Saturday, June 11, 2011

Book Review; Karen Kepplewhite Is the World's Best Kisser by Eve Bunting

OMG, this book was my FAVORITE for a few years when I was about 11-13. When I saw it in a used bookstore last week, my super-sweet BF offered to buy it for me. This is even the exact same hardcover, jacketless Weekly Reader edition!

Karen is sweet and quiet, and her best friend Janet is not. In preparation for Karen's upcoming boy-girl birthday party, Janet has bought Karen a book called How to Kiss Like an Expert. Karen likes Mark, and Janet likes Danny, and there are going to be kissing games at the party! But to their horror, a new girl moves to town, Star, who is beautiful and also really nice, and they worry they'll lose their boys to her!

This whole book takes place in just 3 days (and less than 100 pages!) I can still feel the curious longing I felt when pre-teen me used to read this over and over (kissing one's closed fist is actually not a bad substitute for lips, when a live person to practice on is not available.) I wanted (and got!) knickers just like Karen's and Star's. The book isn't too dated, except for a mention of culottes (and the knickers). In fact, ballet flats are totally back in. Rubik's cubes play a part but it's mentioned that they're already past their peak.

Rereading is always a nerve-wracking experience as the book might not live up to memories. But even 25 years later, there were lines I could still quote from memory: "Me?" I pointed to my chest, then quickly let my hand slide down to a less noticeable part of my anatomy. Actually my chest is the least noticeable part of my anatomy, unfortunately.

I love how Janet often talks in all caps, and how Karen says she can almost see the words coming out of her mouth, like in cartoon bubbles. The book is subtle when Karen figures out that the boys all like Star not just because she's pretty (after all, Francine is pretty) but because she's nice (Francine is not), and also when she figures out that Janet likes the obnoxious Danny because no one else does and therefore it'll be easier for her to get him. Some good lessons, but the book doesn't beat the reader over the head with them. Yes, Spin the Bottle and Truth or Dare are played, and naturally everything works out in the end. But it's all utter innocence and sweet, earnest G-rated action. I still love this book. And I am keeping it, until one of my nieces is old enough for it.

This review is a part of Kid Konnection, hosted by Booking Mama, a collection of children's book-related posts over the weekend.

My boyfriend bought this book for me at a used bookstore.


Julie P. said...

I can't believe I've never heard of this one. I would think young girls would have been sharing this one. Sounds cute!

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

I love walking into a used book store and finding books I used to read as a child! Now, I started reading some of them to my daughter. It's a real treat to share childhood memories with your own daughter. Thanks for sharing this one as I have never read it.