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I Belong

Review: Kiss Me Again by Rachel Vail

Title: Kiss Me Again

Author: Rachel Vail

Genre: YA Contemporary

Series: If We Kiss (Book 2)

Publication Date: December 26, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 256 Pages

ISBN-10: 0061947172 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0061947179 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Michelle


He closed the distance I’d opened up between us and kissed me lightly on the lips. “Maybe we can just be,” Kevin whispered.

Charlie Collins doesn’t know what to do about Kevin Lazarus, her crush and, awkwardly, her new stepbrother. Things were complicated enough when their parents were only dating and when Kevin was going out with Charlie’s best friend, Tess. Now, post-wedding, Charlie and Kevin are crossing paths and crossing lines, and then they have to eat breakfast . . . together.

If only Charlie could get some time away from Kevin and her annoyingly happy and strange stepfamily, she might be able to deal. Yet first she has to make things right with George, her sort-of boyfriend, and Tess, whose trust she broke. But while Charlie struggles to be the perfect friend and daughter, at the end of the day Kevin is the one waiting for her at home. Would it really be so bad if they kissed again?

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.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

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.

Notable Scene:

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.”

If We Kiss Series:

1. If We Kiss

2. Kiss Me Again

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.

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Review: Kiss Me Again by Rachel Vail, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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