Lips Touch: Three Times

Lips Touch: Three Times

4.1 28
by Laini Taylor, Jim Di Bartolo

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Three tales of supernatural love, each pivoting on a kiss that is no mere kiss, but an action with profound consequences for the kissers' souls:

Goblin Fruit: In Victorian times, goblin men had only to offer young girls sumptuous fruits to tempt them to sell their souls. But what does it take to tempt today's savvy girls?

Spicy Little Curses: A

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Three tales of supernatural love, each pivoting on a kiss that is no mere kiss, but an action with profound consequences for the kissers' souls:

Goblin Fruit: In Victorian times, goblin men had only to offer young girls sumptuous fruits to tempt them to sell their souls. But what does it take to tempt today's savvy girls?

Spicy Little Curses: A demon and the ambassador to Hell tussle over the soul of a beautiful English girl in India. Matters become complicated when she falls in love and decides to test her curse.

Hatchling: Six days before Esme's fourteenth birthday, her left eye turns from brown to blue. She little suspects what the change heralds, but her small safe life begins to unravel at once. What does the beautiful, fanged man want with her, and how is her fate connected to a mysterious race of demons?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Taylor offers a powerful trio of tales, each founded upon the consequences of a kiss. She explores the potentially awkward conceit in three dramatically different fantasies, each featuring a young female protagonist out of place in the world she inhabits: contemporary Kizzy, who so yearns to be a normal, popular teenager that she forgets the rules of her Old Country upbringing and is seduced by a goblin in disguise; Anamique, living in British colonial India, silenced forever due to a spell cast upon her at birth; and Esmé, who at 14 discovers she is host to another—nonhuman—being. The stories build in complexity and intensity, culminating in the breathtaking “Hatchling,” which opens with a spectacularly gripping prologue (“Esmé swayed on her feet. These weren't her memories. This wasn't her eye”). Each is, in vividly distinctive fashion, a mesmerizing love story that comes to a satisfying but never predictable conclusion. Di Bartolo's illustrations provide tantalizing visual preludes to each tale, which are revealed as the stories unfold. Even nonfantasy lovers will find themselves absorbed by Taylor's masterful, elegant work. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)
VOYA - Rebecca C. Moore
Three kisses. Three stories—entangled with the old things of the earth. In Goblin Fruit, outsider Kizzy is perfect prey; her yearning for beauty leaves "a scent goblins can follow like sharks on a soft bloom of blood." To ensnare her, the goblins offer everything she wants in the shape of one beautiful boy—and one delicious kiss. In Spicy Little Curses, a demon curses Anamique with a voice transcendent enough to kill anyone who hears it . . . so she remains mute until love stirs her doubts and tempts her to break her silence. In Hatchling, brown-eyed Esme wakes with one blue eye and memories of a life she never lived—and a kiss she never gave. Soon she plunges into a nightmare adventure whose roots stretch back thousands of years through the existence of the cruel and soulless Druj, immortal shape-shifters greedy for the human warmth they can never truly possess. Or can they? In sensuous, entwining prose, Taylor weaves elements of English, Indian, and Zoroastrian mythology into tales to entrap even the most cautious of readers. Although the themes are familiar—the longing of demons for life, lust, fecundity—Taylor's lyrical phrases sing them into compelling new shapes, flavors, colors, and scents. Her characters ache with ancient hungers that consume their common sense, keeping them and the reader always on edge. Di Bartolo's haunting illustrations, depicting the prequels to each tale, contribute to the dark, dream-twisted atmosphere. Recommend this National Book Award finalist to fans of Margo Lanagan and Robin McKinley. Reviewer: Rebecca C. Moore
VOYA - Alisa Billig
Lips Touch: Three Times is an absolutely wonderful book that is both beautiful and eloquent. I truly enjoyed it. It manages to convey the emotions of a teen without overplaying it or making a drama out of nothing, and also features beautiful pictures without seeming like a picture book. The world could use more books like this one! Reviewer: Alisa Billig, Teen Reviewer
Children's Literature - Lisette Baez
Love of a supernatural kind is the recurring theme that drives this collection of short stories. The selections uniquely capture the stories of three very different girls with one thing in common: the process of kissing has great consequences for each girl's soul. The first story, "Goblin Fruit," takes the reader into the secret world of goblins and their prey, young, innocent girls who wish to be popular and pretty. Kizzy fits this description well and quickly becomes a target for the goblins. Always been behind the scenes socially, she has recently found herself the center of attention from one of the cutest boys in school. This leads Kizzy into a life-or-death situation. The second story, "Spicy Little Curses Such as These," follows Estella, a girl who is plagued by a revengeful curse that causes her to be mute. She is then faced with the dreaded decision of talking and revealing her feelings to the boy she loves or risking the lives of many if she speaks. The last story, "Hatchling," takes the reader on a journey with Esme, who finds she has been living a life that really isn't her own. Her mother has kept her past from her, and this life-changing secret is revealed. She does not belong to the world she knows but to a world of demons and unthinkable creatures. Her life begins to unravel, and she is faced with the mystery of her fate n this new world. The beautiful illustrations give the stories a comic book feel, evoking emotion and providing insight into the characters and their stories. Reviewer: Lisette Baez
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Three exquisitely crafted short stories (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2009) by Laini Taylor, National Book Award finalist and author of the Dreamdark books, are brought vividly to life by Cassandra Campbell in this excellent recording. Each of these dark, delicious tales resonates with the incontrovertible longing for connection. In "Goblin Fruit," Kizzy desperately wants to be noticed by a boy and is found, instead, by a goblin. Estella struggles with a demon over the value of souls in "Spicy Little Curses Such as These," and Anamique pays the price. In "The Hatchling," an immortal queen who no longer eats or has use for an innocent touch of lips keeps a human pet for reasons she has long forgotten. Campbell conveys an astonishing depth and complexity of character by employing accents and inflections that showcase these bittersweet supernatural tales.—Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, MI
Kirkus Reviews
In this illustrated collection of two short stories and one novella, which borrow elements of folklore, Hinduism and Zoroastrianism, a life-altering kiss steers the lives of three teenage girls. Embarrassed by her Old World parents, high-school junior Kizzy knows all the tricks the goblins use to steal girls' souls. But can she resist the charm of handsome new student Jack Husk when she's never been kissed? During the British Empire in India, Anamique, cursed into silence by the Ambassador to Hell, yearns for love-but at what cost? The delectable language of these stories cannot save the sluggish pacing of the final novella, in which Esme wakes to find that one of her dark eyes has turned blue. As she discovers the cause, she also learns her connection to her mother's tortuous past and the forest demons called the Druj. In the midst of these goblins, fiery gods and demons, Taylor reminds readers what makes them human. Holly Black and Melissa Marr fans will find this collection ripe for the tasting. Di Bartolo's illustrations not seen. (author's note) (Supernatural short stories. 13 & up)
From the Publisher

"Even nonfantasy lovers will find themselves absorbed by Taylor's masterful, elegant work." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Taylor’s three novellas form a triptych of beautiful fantasy writing reminiscent of Charles de Lint and Neil Gaiman." -- Booklist, starred review

A National Book Award Finalist
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2009
A YALSA Best Book for Young Adults

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Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 9.22(h) x 0.94(d)
990L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years


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