The Compulsive Reader: After the Kiss by Terra Elan McVoy

Monday, April 19, 2010

After the Kiss by Terra Elan McVoy

Becca is just another high school senior, counting down the days to graduation and college and passing her time with her boyfriend Alec, the one guy that truly gets her. Camille has been dragged across the country and back again multiple times thanks to her father's job, and she's miserable in her new Atlanta home. Thoughts of her old home in Chicago—and the boy she left behind—won’t stop haunting her. Camille doesn't know Becca, but she gets to know Alec...and when they share a kiss that Becca's best friend witnesses, neither Becca nor Camille will ever be the same again.

Terra Elan McVoy's striking second novel examines the power of one kiss and its many ramifications. After the Kiss alternates between the points of view of the two characters: Becca's perspective is told in many lovely, inventive, and diverse poems that are fun to read and showcase McVoy's talent nicely, while Camille's portions of the story are more emotionally grabbing. They are in second person, and she lacks capital letters. This style is unusual, but it embodies Camille's confusion and her detachment as a coping mechanism perfectly.

Though the girls have very few physical encounters throughout the book, their stories flow together seamlessly. Becca's new job, which forces her apart from Alec, helps her mature and the experiences she faces help her to obtain the confidence she needs to talk openly with her mother and plan for her future. In a world where everything is interchangeable--homes, schools, friends--Camille wanders around without any sort of purpose, but she finally learns to open up to others and slowly comes to the realization that goodbye for now doesn't necessarily mean goodbye forever. Each girl's journey is entertaining and profound, and the best part is that McVoy doesn't force you to take sides. Instead, she demonstrates that people are never what they appear to be, despite their actions and what little information you may know about them.

After the Kiss isn't so much about romance and Alec as it is about growing up and all the problems and triumphs that come with that process: figuring out your own problems, coming up with the appropriate solutions, and making peace with others. This is an extraordinary novel about letting go and holding on that you won't easily forget.

Cover Comments: Though this cover gives you the impression that the book will be lighter and more romantic than it really is, I love it! The pink on blue is very pretty, and I like the how the candy hearts and the title all gravitate toward the bottom of the cover. It's a very fresh, neat effect!

After the Kiss will be available on May 4th, 2010!

ARC received from publisher.


Precious said...

Great review! I like the part about the poems. :) Looking forward to reading this in the future.

Unknown said...

Thank you so, so much for this terrific review. Once again, you really "got" this book--I LOVE that! Will be posting this on my site soon, too. Thanks, thanks, thanks--I was nervous about what you'd think!

Sara said...

Aww wonderful review! It sounds like just my type of read. You got me very excited to read this! :)

The Library Lurker said...

I really want to read this one, it sounds so good! Great review!

Krista/Tower of Books said...

I've been looking forward to this one, so I'm glad you liked it. I also love the cover.