Page 45 Review by Jodie Paterson
"You can't deny that he's totally hot."
"You're going to hell, Cat. You know that, right?"
"I mean. Look at those abs! If we get more decent-looking altar boys, maybe I'll stop drooling over our lord and savior."
"So, you're telling me you come to church because you have the hots for Jesus?"
"Nooo. I have the hots for THAT SCULPTURE of Jesus. Shame you never get to see the back. Betcha Jesus's got an ass that could crack a walnut... Hell, I bet it could shell a cashew!"
Being mischievous with friends in Church on Sunday followed by cheesy fries at the minor league game with dad, studying for exams and sneaking out on a Friday night, Amanda is your typical high school teen. But after overhearing a conversation between her dad on the phone with a mysterious woman named Dina, Amanda's life is about to unravel as she uncovers a whole tangle of secrets and lies, and enters one very intense month of discovery, not just about her family, but also about herself.
Amanda's best friend is the vivacious Cat. A punk full of attitude and sass, rebellious to the bone, loving nothing more than sneaking out to her fave club "Zipper" to drink cheap vodka, dance the night away to the latest dreadful band and find a hot guy to snog, she's a bit of a one, is Cat. After all, I'm not sure how many in the congregation are crushing on Jesus's abs each Sunday. But her and Amanda balance each other out perfectly, and are as such inseparable.
Lately, Cat has been on at Amanda because the lack of boys she's kissed makes her fear that she's turning into a nun. Why not have some fun with Adam, the cute boy next door? He clearly has the hots for Amanda , so why the hell not? But so far, Amanda has successfully managed to artfully dodge Adam's advances. But she is starting to realise something. The more that Cat goes on at her, the more she comes to the realisation that the reason she isn't interested in kissing any boys is because the person who she really wants to kiss is Cat
Friendship, family, religion, infidelity, self discovery and sexuality, KISS NUMBER 8 is a book that packs a punch. While it does have its moments of impassioned anger, it is also peppered with subtle unspoken moments of tenderness, such as Amanda tentatively stroking a love bite on Cat's neck with the back of her hand, while Cat revels in the attention of the chance to show off a trophy from the previous evening's conquest.
Venable and Crenshaw have created an intimate cast of characters that deftly deliver a coming-of-age psychodrama, which ebbs and flows so naturally you will be completely swept away with it. Their variety, their humour and their personalities are all people we have known at some point or another in our lives, and so this book brings its own sense of familiarity.
If you have enjoyed the likes of Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau's BLOOM, Mariko and Jillian Tamaki's THIS ONE SUMMER, or Tilly Walden's SPINNING, then let me introduce you to your new favourite read.
"We don't get to choose who we love. But sometimes we get lucky and fall for someone wonderful."