cover image Kiss


Jacqueline Wilson, . . Roaring Brook, $16.99 (248pp) ISBN 978-1-59643-242-0

Sylvie has been best friends with Carl since forever. Now entering high school, however, handsome and sensitive Carl is drifting, while insecure and late-to-develop Sylvie is still trying to convince herself that they will one day marry and live happily ever after. The ostensible division is that Carl has enrolled in a more challenging school, leaving Sylvie nearly friendless. Into this void struts Miranda, a rich, sexually sophisticated girl with moxie to burn. Carl has a new friend, too, and alert readers will figure out long before Sylvie why Carl needs some distance. As with all of Wilson's fiction, there's a lot of hand-wringing over social status. Sylvie's father is out of the picture, her mother's diminished economic status has forced her to take in a lodger, while Miranda lives in a posh home and always has cash. Though the girls carry cellphones, the narrative feels dated—more like a classic “problem novel” of the 1970s than a contemporary YA story about sexual identity. Die-hard Wilson fans will want to read this, but those who aren't familiar with her work should not start here. Ages 12–up. (Apr.)