Thursday, May 21, 2015

Blog Tour and ARC Review: Kissing in America

Title: Kissing in America
Author: Margo Rabb
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Source: eARC via Edelweiss 
Purchase it Here:
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I loved romances because when you opened the first page, you knew the story would end well. Your heart wouldn't be broken. I loved that security, that guaranteed love.

In real life, you never knew the ending. I hated that.

Sixteen-year-old Eva has never been in love. But when she meets Will, everything changes. With him, her grief over her father's death fades, and she can escape from her difficult relationship with her mother. Then, without any warning, Will picks up and moves to California. So Eva—with the help of her best friend, Annie—concocts a plan to travel across the country to see him again. As they leave New York City for the first time and road-trip across America, they encounter cowboys, kudzu, and tiny towns without stoplights. Along the way, Eva and Annie learn the truth about love and all its complexities.

My Review

I'm not going to lie to you... When I first saw the book cover and title for Kissing in America, I honestly thought it was going to be a really cheesy YA novel that would come and go quickly. Then I read the synopsis, and I knew that I had to at least give it a chance because it seemed like it would be an extremely emotional read with a lot going on. There is a lot going on, but it's definitely not a cheesy read, but a wonderful tale of a fatherless daughter trying to find herself.

The first thing that you need to know about Kissing in America by Margo Rabb isn't the love of romance novels. It's that the book is a beautifully written novel with a diverse cast of characters. The book's narrator, Eva, is a Jewish-American teenager growing up in New York City, and her best friend is a Korean immigrant. They aren't the only diverse characters in the book, but I loved how both main characters didn't fit into the typical character mold.

Another great piece of the puzzle in this book is that Rabb focuses on other people that have come before Eva and her mother. The stories in the novel give readers Eva's family history that goes back to World War II that you won't want to miss. Yes, they are sad, but they are touching because Ms. Rabb makes them feel extremely personal to her readers. Some of these stories, especially the ones about Eva's grandmother, made me want to climb in my Kindle and give Eva, her mother, and her aunt hugs.

I also love how the book doesn't exactly read like the YA romance I expected it to be, even though there are a lot of allusions to the genre and many romance novels included within the text. There is some heartbreak, but I wasn't too concerned about it because Kissing in America actually reads more like a coming-of-age novel because of many of the themes that Ms. Rabb includes. Eva and Annie do a lot of growing up on their road trip, and it was enjoyable to see them leave home to travel the country, discover new things, lose things, fight, and reconcile. If you want to read a book about discovering yourself and finding your inner-strength, read this book!

About Margo Rabb

Margo Rabb is the author of the novels Kissing in America and Cures for Heartbreak. Her essays, journalism, book reviews, and short stories have been published in The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, The Atlantic, Slate, The Rumpus, Zoetrope: All-Story, Seventeen, Best New American Voices, New Stories from the South, One Story, and elsewhere, and have been broadcast on NPR. She received the grand prize in the Zoetrope short story contest, first prize in the Atlantic fiction contest, first prize in the American Fiction contest, and a PEN Syndicated Fiction Project Award. Margo grew up in Queens, New York, and has lived in Texas, Arizona, and the Midwest; she now lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and children.

The Fantastic Flying Book Club


  1. To be completely honest, I was a bit nervous about reading this at first for the same reason as you - the title sounded a bit cheesy, but reading your review has really made me give a second thought about that. The whole family history aspect sounds really interesting and I can't wait to read it for myself. Thanks for sharing Erin and, as always, fabulous review! ♥

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage

  2. I finally read this one! After saying I was starting it soon for weeks... My review went up today too and I completely agree. I didn't expect for it to by like it was - but that's definitely a compliment! I thought the ending and the "result" of her meeting up with Will was really realistic, which is a nice change of pace from the usual scenarios in contemporary YA. I loooved the other characters too, although I did initially want to punch her mom and aunt.

  3. Great review! I'm so excited for this one. I read Rabb's debut Cures for Heartbreak years ago when it first came out and I have been waiting and waiting to see what she would do next.

  4. Thank you, Emma!

    I've never heard of that one, but I'll definitely have to check it out after having read this one. :)

  5. YES! The ending was perfect for being imperfect, and I think it will give girls a much better representation of how relationships can work.

    OMG. I agree. Her mom and her aunt were something else, but I loved how they also grew throughout the book. :)


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