Kissing in America/Margo Rabb

Sunday, June 21, 2015

This girl on Florianska Street in Krakow, Poland—this girl is loving something. Swooning behind her heavy, lidded eyes. Creating—or recreating—an embrace. What is happening inside her platinum head? Can she ever really tell us?

Love looks like many things. Love takes a fraction of a second to say and a library's worth of fine books to partly parse. In Kissing in America, Margo Rabb's poetry-riveted novel for young adults, love presents and perpetuates itself in ways both surprising and true.

We think, as we begin, that we are setting out on a journey that will unite the perfect boy with the perfect girl, which is to say two young people whose personal tragedies and imperfections make them deliciously right for one another. Eva, an east coaster, is mourning the loss of her father and the emotional distance of her mother. Will has moved out west to escape his own mother's bankruptcy—and to try to overcome the estrangement with his father. With her genius friend, Eva concocts a scheme that will deliver her to Will's west-coast doorstep. What happens next will teach her lessons she could not have foreseen.

It is a winsome, winning tale—full of Margo's trademark humor and linguistic dignity. It is a story of nuance, of character shades, of a heart pattering and yearning, of a mind settling into a truth. How do we love, and how do we grieve?

Kissing in America is a romance of ideas.


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