February 10, 2012

Review: If We Kiss by Rachel Vail

Paperback: 288 pgs
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: December 27, 2011

What would happen if we kiss?

Kevin led me quickly around the side of the building, then stopped. I managed not to crash into him. I tried to look calm, cool, unperturbed. I told myself not to laugh, especially not a snorting kind of laugh. "Wha . . . what did . . ."
And then he kissed me.

If We Kiss is the story of Charlotte (Charlie to her friends), who finds herself falling for a boy who is off-limits. Her best friend is in love with him, and her mother and his father are dating. Still, Charlie can't help but wonder, what would happen if we kiss?

Rachel Vail's If We Kiss is an adorable story that focuses on one teenage girl's angst and drama when it comes to boys, best friends and her mom's new love life. The writing is great, the characters are funny (not overly cheesy), and I enjoyed reading the book overall.

But here's where I'm torn: When I'm reading a book, I normally read it as "Maria: 28 yr. old woman who loves a good romance novel." But there are times, particularly when reading novels truly meant for young adults (12-15 year olds) when I turn into, "Maria: mom of a little girl who might one day read this book." And herein lies the problem.

The entire novel is about a young girl named Charlie who is completely obsessed with kissing a certain boy. Now, I can understand that at such a young age, I was probably a little obsessed with boys too - but I feel like books like these only perpetuate the myth to our young girls that it's okay for life to be all about boys and kissing.

Okay, I'm going to try and cut to the chase so that I don't confuse you anymore than I probably have, lol. Here's what I thought:

1) Rachel Vail is a promising author who definitely has the talent to write an entertaining, young adult book.


2) I could not stand the idea of our two female characters (Charlie & her best friend) spending 24 hours a day obsessing over a boy and one kiss.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars



  1. I see your point. As a mom, I would rather my kids think about other things besides being obsessed. But I also know they are obsessed. You are right to encourage writers to go in another path for teens to think and read about!!

  2. I had a copy of this one sitting on my shelf for a few years and I think I finally got rid of it because I couldn't make it past page 50 everytime I tried to read it. I'm glad to see it wasn't just me and that others feel the same way. Sure kissing is nice but I don't want to read 300ish pages about the same thing.

    Thank you for the great review, you made me feel better about putting down this book so many times.

  3. Somehow I completely missed this book. It does sound cute, but I totally see your point about 100% focus on boys and not other things, but sadly too often that is the reality.

  4. I originally read this as probably a 14-year old and absolutely adored it (maybe also because I had a crush on a boy named Kevin at the time) and I think I enjoyed it for what it was but it didn't make a huge impact. I certainly spent more time as a teenager talking about school and books rather than boys!


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