Kiss Me Again
Pub 12-2012, HarperTeen
He closed the distance I’d opened up between us and kissed me lightly on the lips. “Maybe we can just be,” Kevin whispered.
Rachel Vail is the author of over sixteen young adult novels and countless other books for children. Her latest novel, Kiss Me Again, the sequel to If We Kiss, is a contemporary teen story that pushes boundaries both romantic and familial. This isn’t a story that you hear all the time, but it found a way into my heart with its twists and turns.
Kiss Me Again picks up where If We Kiss ended. Charlie Collins explains how much has changed since last year: Her mother is now married to the father of her crush, Kevin Lazarus, so Kevin is now her stepbrother. Charlie is making all kinds of mistakes — especially with her best friend, whose trust she has to earn back after dating Kevin when Tess was dating him. To make things more odd, Charlie and Kevin are still in love, but their parents don’t know about it.
Vail uses this scenario to show how complicated romance can be for teenagers. Charlie and Kevin have to live under the same roof, and they don’t want to upset the balance. Maybe it’s better sometimes for parents not to know things! But keeping things from parents can also make them more difficult. Because, even though their love is so complicated, Charlie and Kevin aren’t willing to let it go.
When, in If We Kiss, Tess noticed Charlie and Kevin together all the time, she wasn’t happy about it. But even though Charlie didn’t want to hurt her friends’ feelings, she realized she couldn’t make everyone happy. She was faced with a very difficult choice: What did she want the most? She learned that her real friends would stick around despite her choice of boyfriend, even if they weren’t as close as they were before.
Charlie is faced with a similar problem in Kiss Me Again: What does she want most? Does she want to be with Kevin or does she want to keep the peace at home? If she’s with Kevin, their parents will find out and they might break up. Charlie couldn’t live with the guilt. At the same time, she and Kevin can’t keep their love a secret forever. What will Charlie do?
Like my favorite love stories, this one has a happy ending. We don’t find out what happens with Charlie and Kevin, suggesting that there may be a third book (hopefully!) in the series. But Kiss Me Again shows us how to forgive and just love what we have for the moment. It also leaves curiosity in the reader’s head with the last chapter. Kiss Me Again is a great book for all teens still learning about the ins and outs of romance.
- Nisi S., 17