Reviews for After the Kiss

Booklist Reviews 2010 April #1
In alternating sections, Camille's and Becca's poetry describes their senior years, their anticipation of future plans, and their romance with the same guy: Becca's long-term boyfriend, who goes to school with Camille. Though the kiss mentioned in the title doesn't happen until past the 100-page mark, the girls' stories on their own are interesting enough to keep the reader turning pages to find out just how the two girls, who do not initially know each other, are connected. As their stories intersect, Becca comes into her own without two-timing Alec, and Camille reconciles her feelings about the past in this quietly reflective novel. The two poets have distinctive styles and voices: Camille writes observant, second-person prose poems, while Becca is more traditional, even mimicking some of her favorite poets, such as Wallace Stevens and Elizabeth Bishop. This gives the narrative device a more natural feel--like reading the teens' journals rather than reading about the teens in poetry form--and helps the book stand out among novels in verse. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
Frequently uprooted, Camille arrives at a new school in the middle of her senior year and tries to stay detached, tired of making and leaving friends. A random kiss and its fallout connect her to Becca, the girlfriend of the boy Camille kissed. The two teens alternate narration of affecting verse chapters as they struggle toward separate realizations about friends, relationships, and future plans. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 April #2
Camille is new to Atlanta, Ga. Becca, on the other hand, has lived there her entire life. The two girls don't know each other and have nothing in common save for a haiku-writing baseball player, Alec. Alec is Becca's longtime boyfriend, but since Becca had to take a job at a coffeehouse, they've started growing apart. Alec kisses Camille at a party, accelerating his breakup with Becca. Camille is still fragile from a pre-Atlanta relationship, so she and Alec never quite get off the ground as a couple. The kiss itself, though marketed as the most important event in the book, is only one of many incidents that force both Becca and Camille out of their own minds and into their lives. Speaking in a second-person stream-of-consciousness narration, Camille is hard to get to know; there are often a lot of excess words to wade through before getting to the meat of her ideas. Becca speaks in verse, sometimes free, sometimes parodying famous poems. Her observations are occasionally sublime but sometimes nonsensical. Cheers to the formal experimentation, but it doesn't quite succeed. (Fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 May #4

McVoy's (Pure) roots are showing--in a good way. A love of language, literature, and the city of Atlanta, where she lives, pervades her sophomore novel, a thoughtfully wrought coming-of-age story. Camille, whose second-person narrative is light on punctuation and heavy on metaphor, has moved all over the country with her parents and is starting her final semester of high school in Atlanta. She tries to avoid creating attachments, but is having trouble getting over a boy in Chicago. Another senior, Becca, who tells her story in free verse, lives for her jock/poet boyfriend, Alec. Camille connects with and then kisses Alec at a party, unaware that he has a girlfriend. The aftershock of the kiss affects both girls, but this rich story also encompasses their struggles with family and friends, as well as their respective journeys of self-discovery. McVoy's prose is confident and adventurous-- some of Becca's poems are styled after her favorite poets ("The only empress is the empress of gossip magazines")--and while not every stylistic gambit pays off, on the whole it's a fresh, observant story. Ages 14-up. (May)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 June

Gr 9 Up--Midway through senior year, Camille moves to Atlanta (her family's sixth move). She plans to simply go through the motions until she can escape to Europe after graduation. Meanwhile, at another school in town, Becca is jolted from the dreamlike state of her relationship with Alec when she gets in a fender bender and must find an after-school job to pay back her debt. The girls' lives collide when Camille meets Alec at a party, and, unaware that he is "taken," allows the haiku-spouting-but-athletic catcher to kiss her. At first blush, such a story line has the potential to play up every teen "mean girls" stereotype, yet McVoy elevates the narrative well above any predictable cat fight. Camille tells her side in stream-of-consciousness entries, while Becca speaks in free verse. The girls have distinct, believable voices, and the way in which they slowly become aware of one another rather than facing a direct confrontation shows that given different circumstances they might have been kindred spirits. Literary references and odes to famous poets pepper the pages. These are unobtrusive so that discerning readers will revel in their inclusion while others will skip over them but still enjoy the drama of the story. The result is a poignant tale of two girls on the brink of adulthood faced with real decisions about their future, who they want to be, and what role boys will play in their decisions.--Jill Heritage Maza, Greenwich High School, CT

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