The Low Down: They are the Johnson sisters; three blondes, all in a row. Certain things are done in certain ways and those certain ways are honored. There are clear unspoken expectations; but for the youngest, Leah, they are starting to feel more like a prison sentence than a goal. Yorke, the eldest, is getting married to her college boyfriend, a carbon-copy of her own father (and the boyfriends all three girls have dated); Freddie is getting ready to graduate high school and spend the year abroad in France (after she chucks her high school boyfriend, just like Yorke did); and as Leah gets ready for her senior year, she know what lies ahead (since her two sisters have gone before her): dating Shane, Homecoming Queen, Valedictorian.
Her parents’ expectations are clear; they make the decisions, continue the traditions, preserve the family honor. But what if Leah wants to alter her path? What if doing what was done before isn’t good enough?
Best Thang ‘Bout It: This book was hypnotic from the shink shink shink of the mother’s ever-present bracelets to the sisters moving in predetermined lanes. It is a lazy feeling, though one that is coupled with being immersed in jello and unable to get out. It is not until Leah steps out of the expectations and is actually spontaneous that things start to change in her mind. She’s already started questioning things, but the catalyst to her change is the freedom, the emotions she feels when she’s with Duffy. Her life is a pre-planned one, and she’d like a little more leeway.
Since Leah never makes her own decisions, she doesn’t know how to handle Shane; instead of breaking up with her parent-approved boyfriend, she chooses to ignore him. While those who read Young Adult for the cleanliness and pristine virtues of those involved, reality gets my vote every time. There are too many questions to answer before she can even think about leaving Shane: what will her parents say; Shane is in the wedding; does Duffy like her like that; what about the plans for senior year; etc. etc. Shane does not deserve to be cheated on; but what Leah chooses to do is compartmentalize that part of her life so she doesn’t have to deal with it. Cool? No. Real? Absolutely.
Leah knows everything that is expected of her, and all three girls usually fall into place where and when they are supposed to. They’ve been in these positions for so long that the mother barely needs to nudge them or arch an eyebrow. But Leah is feeling left out of her own life and wants to make some of her own decisions. It’s now or never.
The Bottom Line: A really wonderful story about finding your way, standing your ground and enjoying the the drive on the way to where you want to go.
I must say something about the cover. I think it’s horrible and doesn’t properly evoke the contents. It looks like a standard sexy teenager cover that was not well thought out at all. I think it tells another story completely.
Kiss Crush Collide by Christina Meredith was published December 27, 2011 by Greenwillow Books. Ink and Page picked this book up from the library, so no one had a choice about whether it was reviewed.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance
Ages: 12 and up
You Might Want to Know: Some profanity, sexual discussions