Kissing the Bee

Kathe Koja, Author . FSG/Foster $16 (121p) ISBN 978-0-374-39938-2

Koja (Buddha Boy ) incorporates facts and folklore about bees as a metaphor in this spare and haunting novel. As the last few weeks of senior year unwind, Dana completes her bee research for a biology project, and draws comparisons for readers: “The one fact everyone knows about bees— there is only one queen. Which in our little three-person hive was Avra.” Most people think Avra and Dana are best friends, but Dana knows otherwise; Avra stays focused on herself and demands Dana's full attention, too. “She was basically what I did,” Dana admits to herself. But who is really the “queen bee”? When Dana falls for Emil but Avra cements a relationship with him, the relationship grows increasingly complicated—and, once Emil kisses Dana, it can no longer survive. Koja's timing is perfect as she builds the sexual tension between Dana and Emil.Her understated, tightly focused language evokes vivid scenes and heady emotions. Almost without the audience's awareness, the author sketches the characters' family histories—Dana's widowed mother, Avra's perfect older sister and overinvolved mom and even-tempered father—each line of dialogue, each interaction illuminating struggles that readers face as well. Ages 14-up. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 10/01/2007
Release date: 08/01/2007
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-60812-709-2
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-934180-75-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-5012-3603-7
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