Kiss & Blog

Kiss & Blog, by Alyson Noel (2007, 227 pp), is a good read--good entertainment, with a smidge of thought-provoking-ness. The entertainment comes from the brisk first person present narrative of Winter--would-be member of the alpha girl clique at the beginning of her sophomore year, older and wiser at the end of the book. The thought-provoking-ness comes from the important messages that the really cool people aren't necessarily the ones at Table One, and that it's not so great a thing to rat on your ex-best friend all over the internet.

Winter and Sloane start their sophomore year having studied the ways of the beautiful girls intensely all summer--but whereas Sloane leaps right into the peppy smily-ness of it all, Winter can't embrace the de rigour cuteness/hyena grinning hypocrisy necessary to succeed at this paricular school, and is left behind in unpopularity. Hurt by Sloane's cruel rejection of her, Winter starts to blog about the dark (well, not all that dark) and sometimes gross past of "Princess Pink," --things that only a best friend would know, and that friends are never supposed to tell. Especially not on a blog that everyone at school starts reading...(a tad unbelievable, but a necessary plot device).

Along the way, Winter makes friends much more interesting than Sloane's new group, ventures into the realm of relationships (nothing too racy), gets drunk for the first time (and gets horribly sick, and decides it's not for her), and becomes a more interesting, wiser person herself.

Alyson Noel is the author of four other books for young adults, including Saving Zoe, which I am in the middle of right now...Both Kiss & Blog and Saving Zoe have been nominated for the YA Cybils awards, and the publisher (St. Martin's Griffin) very kindly sent all of us on the committee copies to review. And today is the last day to submit your recommendations, so go! now!

(spoiler) Sloane is left totally un-redeemed, which was too bad--but in real life, people don't suddenly see the light in the last pages of a book, so one can't really expect it of fictional people). It did leave me feeling that she was a straw man, however--so much a caricature of snotty A list girl that it weakened the book as a whole. But there's lots of room for a sequel here, and I am quite prepared to believe that Noel has the writerly skills necessary to pull a person out of Sloane if she so desires...

Another problem I have with this book is that some of the the things that Winter posts about Sloane are really rotten--I'm thinking of her post about Sloane's father. The consequences of posting things like this are a a hugly important issue, but this isn't dealt with meaningfully here.

1 comment:

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