Lips Touch: Three Times
Laini Taylor, , illus. by Jim Di Bartolo. . Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 (265pp) ISBN 978-0-545-05585-7
Taylor offers a powerful trio of tales, each founded upon the consequences of a kiss. She explores the potentially awkward conceit in three dramatically different fantasies, each featuring a young female protagonist out of place in the world she inhabits: contemporary Kizzy, who so yearns to be a normal, popular teenager that she forgets the rules of her Old Country upbringing and is seduced by a goblin in disguise; Anamique, living in British colonial India, silenced forever due to a spell cast upon her at birth; and Esmé, who at 14 discovers she is host to another—nonhuman—being. The stories build in complexity and intensity, culminating in the breathtaking “Hatchling,” which opens with a spectacularly gripping prologue (“Esmé swayed on her feet. These weren't her memories. This wasn't her eye”). Each is, in vividly distinctive fashion, a mesmerizing love story that comes to a satisfying but never predictable conclusion. Di Bartolo's illustrations provide tantalizing visual preludes to each tale, which are revealed as the stories unfold. Even nonfantasy lovers will find themselves absorbed by Taylor's masterful, elegant work. Ages 12–up.
Reviewed on: 09/21/2009