Saturday, March 9, 2019

Book Review: Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable, illustrated by Ellen T. Crenshaw

When I picked up this book, I thought it was going to be a light, fluffy, Sweet Valley High type of book about kissing and flirting and boys, and so on. Boy, did I underestimate it!

I mean, on the surface, that is how it starts out. Mads and her best friend Cat are seniors at the local Catholic school and they party and hang out--especially Cat who is always somewhere fun (her home life is a mess and she's always wanting to not be at home.) Mads loves to hang out with her dad, play video games, and go to the minor league baseball games with family friends. Adam, the brother of another friend, has a big crush on Mads, but she doesn't feel the same way... or does she? Well, if she did, why does she also kind of have a crush on... Cat?

Meanwhile, she overhears her father in a conversation and misunderstands a big secret. She figures out the secret isn't what she thinks... but then what is it? She starts to do research after finding a photo and a check, and is astonished by what she finds, and how it might change her family forever.

This was a powerful book. There's a lot to unpack. It's really layered and there's a lot going on--a lot of emotions, confusion, betrayal, trust issues, some of it going back before Mads was even born. There's nothing inappropriate here--a younger kid flipping through this book won't see anything that would shock them, but it certainly is for more mature teens who can understand the complexity. I absolutely loved it.

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

This book is published by First Second, a division of Macmillan, my employer.

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