cover image Kissing in America

Kissing in America

Margo Rabb. Harper, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-232237-1

In this indelible coming-of-age story, Rabb (Cures for Heartbreak) seamlessly weaves together multiple narratives: families coping with death, immigrants determined to make it in America, the power of education to transform lives, reality TV offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, first love, first heartbreak, and the conflicted, ardent passion of a mother/daughter relationship. After Eva’s father dies in a plane crash, she lives with an awareness that “the very worst thing you imagine, your biggest fear, does happen,” a fear she mitigates by avidly reading romance fiction. Eva’s mother, a women’s studies professor, disparages the books, but for 16-year-old Eva, “those feelings felt as real and true as any other feelings I’d ever felt. As real and true as grief.” A cross-country bus trip expands Eva’s world as she and her best friend Annie encounter people who “never met a Jewish person before” and discover that “real-life cowboys were better than fictional ones.” Sprinkled with the poetry Eva reads and writes, this story makes for a hilarious, thought-provoking, wrenching, and joyful quest. Ages 14–up. Agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (May)