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Kissing in America: 07/10/16
Kissing in America by Margo Rabb is about embracing the road trip when being afraid to travel. Eva and her mother are still reeling two years after her father was on a plane that went missing over the Atlantic.
Eva though has met the teenage son of the local bakery. He drives the bakery van and is learning how to write poetry. It seems like the perfect romance until he's forced to move across the country.
So now she has a boyfriend on the other side of the continent and no easy way to get there. Her salvation seems to be a game show. Not her, but her best friend with Eva as the life line.
In terms of the road trip narrative, this is a transcontinental bus trip, one where the trip is a means of escape (the confines of the big city), a means of facing one's fears (death by transportation), and a quest (true love).
But there's just so much going on here — too many threads. First there's the grieving over the father's death. That all by itself is a big chunk of emotional baggage. That by itself could have been a book.
Then there's the boyfriend who doesn't do the internet and only wants to write letters. The move from friendship to love to planning a cross country trip under uncertain circumstances seems incredibly rushed.
Ultimately the book felt like a grab bag of plot twists, character types, and circumstances. It was too much of a hodgepodge for me.