Goodreads: Kissing in America
Source: Goodreads First Reads ARC
Published: May 26, 2015
In the years following her father’s death, sixteen-year-old Eva has sought the comfort of poetry and romance novels to assuage her grief. Then he meets Will, and through their connection, Eva is able to escape the pain of her dad’s death and her difficult relationship with her mom. But then Will suddenly picks up and moves to California—and just like that, Eva is right back where she started.
With the help of her best friend Annie, Eva concocts a plan to leave New York City for the first time in her life and travel across the country to see Will. From cowboys to kudzu, and the endless roads in between, Eva and Annie learn the truth about love and all of its complexities.
Kissing in America is an insightful look at different kinds of love. Sixteen-year-old Eva believes she is truly, romantically in love with schoolmate Will—after all, she’s read enough romance novels to know—but by the end of her story Eva realizes there are all kinds of love in the world and she is blessed by them all.
In many ways, Kissing in America is a novel about balancing these loves. On one hand, it is about the hope, the excitement, the possibilities of romantic love. As long as Eva and Will are separated, the story is about the magic that will happen when they are finally together again. One the other hand, Rabb doesn’t want either Eva or readers to be fixated only on the future. As Eva crosses the country, she is thrown into a variety of wild adventures and learns there is much more to her world than the city where she grew up. She realizes that, even as she looks forward to meeting up with Will, she has to learn to live in the present and appreciate what she already has.
What Eva already has is best friend Annie: superstar student who is going to be the Smartest Girl in America (once she wins the TV completion). The girls’ friendship is the cornerstone of the novel, what holds Eva together as she pines for Will and struggles with the death of her father and her resulting distance from her grieving mother. The title might lead one to believe the book is all about guys, when in so many ways it is about the strong relationships between women. Besides Annie, other notable influences in Eva’s life include her mother, her aunt, family friend Lulu, and her potential step-grandmother.
Kissing in America basically says love can be hard, no matter form it takes. But all loves are worth whatever pain and effort comes with them. As Eva concludes, “No one wrote romances about mothers and daughters. There were no epic cowboy and jungle tales about mother and daughter love.” That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth writing about, so Margo Rabb has.