Monday, August 17, 2015

First Kiss (Then Tell), edited by Cylin Busby

Twenty five major YA writers responded to the question "Tell us about your first kiss" and the results, of course, are fantastic!  There's almost certainly a bit of artistic license in the stories and a fair share of creativity (Scott Westerfield's haiku is by far the briefest submission!).  But overall, these are wonderful stories about the vulnerable, yet life changing, experience of locking lips with someone really special (or far too often not so special).

It's a lightning fast read, as each of the stories are very short (you'll spend almost as much time reading the bios as you do reading the stories), but each is lovely in their own way.  There is, however, a sense that we've heard the story a bit too often by the time we reach the end.  Twenty-five kisses and most of them pretty much tell the same story of fear, awkwardness, and self-realization.  You'll come to understand that most first kisses are disappointments, but also reference points for the later ones that really matter.  That's a great lesson to tell young readers, but the kids may get tired of hearing it the tenth or twentieth time they read it.  And finally, one could fault Busby for having so few recollections from boys (who apparently don't remember their kisses) or for not attempting to explore a world outside of upper middle class suburbia (are there no kisses of color?).  Still, I couldn't imagine a better focus for a collection of YA short stories.

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