“want to read”Elliana wrote this review Friday, August 23, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“More of a 2.5 rating. Charlie (for Charlotte) and Kevin are now stepsiblings...and they are both strongly attracted to each other. As if Charlie didn't have enough to deal with, she's learning to live in a family that's grown from two to five, and trying heal her relationship with best friend Tess. Teen girls may enjoy the Judy Blume-like informality of this book although I found Charlie somewhat offputting as a character and wishy-washy in affairs of the heart. Guess I'm too old to appreciate the turmoil of teen drama. Also, the lengthy descriptions of Charlie's physical response when around Kevin surely reflect the intense feelings and hormonal surge of the teen years, but I found these passages verging weirdly on soft erotica. As Charlie would say: "Urghhh."”Salsabrarian wrote this review Saturday, April 13, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“As I began reading Kiss Me Again, I was initially highly concerned. I really liked the direction that Charlie was heading in at the end of If We Kiss. She had finally managed to make a step away from her unhealthy crush on boy-slut Kevin Lazarus, which was really good timing, too, since her mom and his dad just got married. Then, I open the next book and there she is obsessing over kissing Kevin again. Vail does, though, quickly convince me that the story is actually going where it needs to go, and Kiss Me Again turns out to be a touching story more about family dynamics than romance.
Now that they're step-siblings, Charlie and Kevin have a serious conundrum, since they are teens who have kissed one another and would like to do that more. The romance, while perhaps the most obvious element of the story, does not dominate the other aspects by any means. Charlie and Kevin both grow a lot in their dealings with romantic relationships, Kevin learning to be more mindful and less of a flirt, while Charlie refuses to lead on a friend with a crush on her. Their surprisingly mature actions, especially in comparison with the events of If We Kiss really impressed me and made me much more sympathetic than I was previously.
Settling into a new family is difficult. The Lazarus family moves into the house Charlie and her mother have been in. Charlie has to share a bathroom for the first time in her life, and deal with the fact that the soap is now often wet from someone else (which is totally gross, I agree, girl). With her mom, Charlie didn't have many chores, but Joe Lazarus, her new step-father, believes in everyone doing their share. Joe is also much less lenient than her mother.
What's great, though, is that Vail highlights both the struggles and discomforts of these two families blending, and the wonderful parts. Most touching, I think is the affection shown by all towards Samantha, Kevin's younger sister. They all try to be there for her. Never is this better illustrated than when she loses one of her baby teeth. While she's sleeping, Charlie slips a dollar under her pillow. In the morning, Sam happily announces that the tooth fairy left her four dollars this time, and you realize that all four other family members left her a dollar for her tooth. Much as they may all have moments where they wish the marriage hadn't happened, ultimately, they are all making the best of it and taking good care of one another.
One of the trickiest things for Charlie to overcome in this change is that she has less time to spend with her mom. They're still trying to work out a nice balance of mother-daughter time when the book ends, but they are working on it. I mention this because Kiss Me Again has one of the best scenes (meaning incredibly awkward) where a parent tries to discuss sexuality with the child.
Charlie also grows as a person on two more fronts. She gets a job, all through her own motivation and earns her first ever money. In a whole other realm of life, she learns a bit about friendship. Though her backstabbing of Tess in If We Kiss cannot be forgiven, that does not necessarily make Tess a good friend either. In Kiss Me Again, Charlie's starting to realize how imbalanced and unhealthy her relationship with Tess is. I do think that this lets Charlie off the hook a little bit too easily, perhaps an attempt to make her more sympathetic, but it's a good lesson for teens about friendship, and how insidiously terrible for your self-esteem a supposed best friend can be.
Rachel Vail's follow-up to If We Kiss greatly improves on its predecessor. If you were on the fence about reading the second one, I would recommend it. Charlie's voice finds its stride here, and the focus on family makes this a rare, powerful young adult read.”
“Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.
Quick & Dirty: The aftermath of a first kiss has led to the tension leading to the next kiss.
Opening Sentence: I tried not to look at Kevin Lazarus’ lips, or remember how they tasted.
Kiss Me Again is the sequel to Rachel Vail’s If We Kiss. There is a lot of charm in this book, mostly from the main character, but also from the scenarios that Vail writes about. Family, love, and relationships theme the pages of the book, and it was fun to read.
Awkwardness abound as Charlie and Kevin are now stepsiblings. After the marriage of her and Kevin’s parents, after the broken friendship between Tess and herself, and after the confusion of her relationship with Kevin, Charlie has to figure it all out. Her situation doesn’t get any easier as more complications come into play. The confusion isn’t one-sided, and Charlie has to figure out her feelings for Kevin. Charlie has to think about the consequences of hurting more people, trying to prevent what happened with her and Tess. And amidst it all, Charlie has to find out what she wants.
I think Charlie has grown a bit in Kiss Me Again. There have been a lot of changes in Charlie’s personal life, aside from the moments of kisses, and I think she dealt with them realistically. Vail wrote her in a way that held true to the character’s persona and for someone her age. Charlie is emotionally confused for most of the book, trying to balance her feelings and her beliefs. Kevin, George, her family, and her friends all add to the chaos of her emotions and her thoughts. It’s like Charlie muddles through life, trying to survive Kevin, school, and all of the changes going on. I felt more engaged with her and definitely more connected this time around.
Once again, I had a love and hate relationship with Kevin. But I think that was the purpose. I was confused at Kevin’s intentions, and definitely confused about his feelings. While some of his actions relayed interest, there is the sly boy persona that plays hard to get. Don’t get me wrong, it is also Charlie’s fault, but I felt that Kevin didn’t help with anything Charlie was trying to accomplish. There’s this fine line that I walked, feeling like the whole thing was going to be too much. But Vail did a good job with writing his character and making him Charlie’s biggest obstacle to overcome.
There is angst in Kiss Me Again, as much as the first book, but there was a lot of growth all around. From the characters to Charlie herself, I felt that the story came to a happy ending. I felt like the story moved past the original kiss to topics of love and relationships. From Charlie’s parents to her new found family, and even to the relationship with Tess, I felt like Vail spoke and defined different levels of love. This is high school, freshman year at that, and I still feel like Vail represented it in a true sense.
It’s not always easy for me to read books where the main character is so young. It’s been a while since I’ve been that age and it’s sometimes a challenge for me to connect to the main character. But in Kiss Me Again, I think Vail was able to do that and bring me back to that age. I was able to feel the anxiety and the stress of Charlie’s problems, allowing myself to be transformed into a 15-year old girl. And because of that, I thought this was a great read.
He stood up, so I did, too. My hands were sticky with radioactive-looking melted mint chip ice cream.
“Hey, George … ,” I said, launching into the conclusion I’d written in the margin of my notebook earlier in the day. “I just, I hope you will know someday that this is a new leaf for me, my first step in trying to do the right thing and be a good friend.”
“It is what it is,” George said, and started to walk away. He turned around after about twenty steps and grinned his lopsided grin at me. “Is it bad that I’m feeling happy you paid for the ice cream?”
I smiled back. “No,” I answered. “Not at all.”
FTC Advisory: Harper Teen provided me with a copy of Kiss Me Again. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.”