Myracle's promising but uneven first novel introduces a misfit teen struggling with her sexuality. Lissa, who has lived with her little sister and bachelor uncle since her parents' death years ago, feels different from other girls: she drives a truck, shuns eyeliner and kissed her best friend at a party. Now she and Kate avoid each other. Through her weekend job delivering for Entrees on Trays, Lissa gets to know a burgundy-haired, nose-ring-wearing free-spirited classmate who calls herself Ariel (my spiritual name). Ariel helps Lissa feel more comfortable in her own skin, a process reinforced by Lissa's experiments with lucid dreaming and by helping her sister deal with an overly precocious friend. Lissa slowly reveals the details of exactly what happened that night with Kate, as if building the courage to think about them. Her tentative reconciliation with Kate, followed by another blow-up, also rings true. Unfortunately, a number of characters, like Ariel and eccentric EntrEes on Trays owner Darlin, read as clichEd, and while Lissa's circuitous narration seems realistic given her difficulty thinking about Kate, some readers may be fed up with it before they get to Myracle's point: with Ariel's help, Lissa realizes that she may be gay or just in love with Kate, and leaves herself open to possibility. The author's sophisticated, supportive and unusually candid approach to sexual orientation will reward those with patience for the ruminative narrator. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Lissa and Kate, high school sophomores and inseparable friends since seventh grade, have a falling out over their kiss, and Lissa mentally replays their past relationship while searching for resolution. A sweet, sympathetic narrator, wholly believable in her pain and confusion, Lissa plods ahead, enduring home, school, and work while wrestling with her sexual identity and nursing her broken heart. At home, she is the role model for her younger sister Beth. At school, she must see Kate in history class and at lunch. Work provides escape, as owner Darlin provides understanding support and zany Ariel works to distract Lissa. Everything, though, cycles back to the basic quandary of Lissa's life: She reveres the beautiful Kate, who despite having a boyfriend was the one to initiate the kiss. Lissa returned the kiss before they were interrupted, but Kate's homophobia now is apparent. Working with new friends and a new book on lucid dreaming, Lissa soldiers through life until she and Kate can settle their differences-and agree to be different. Myracle's enchanting first novel will reach teens-whether queer, questioning, or straight-who are wrestling with identity and relationships and provide another view for them to ponder. A smooth, uplifting read, it pulled this reviewer through within a day. Lighter than Nancy Garden's classic Annie on My Mind (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1982/VOYA August 1982), this gem is one all libraries will want to add to their shelves. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2003, Dutton, 176p,
Kate and Lissa have been best friends for four years, ever since being paired in a 7th grade gym class. Going to the movies every Saturday afternoon, sharing secret jokes, collecting starfish at the beach, two halves of a whole, "Kate and Lissa." It all ends one summer night at a party where Kate has had too much to drink, and they find themselves alone in a gazebo kissing passionately. When they are interrupted by the arrival of two boys, Kate leaves Lissa alone with her feelings of love and confusion, later ignoring her entirely. Lissa wrestles with her emotions, questioning her sexuality and stinging from the betrayal of her best friend. She retreats into herself, exploring the concept of lucid dreaming and fending off the friendly overtures of Ariel, a weird classmate and new co-worker. Gradually, Lissa realizes that nothing can ever be the same between her and Kate, and she even tries her hand at dating. It's only when she's able to decipher her troubling dreams, with the help of Ariel, that Lissa can begin to understand her feelings, and accept herself. Myracle's sensitive coming-of-age story speaks honestly, and at times humorously, to teens who are in the same struggle to understand themselves and their feelings. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2003, Penguin Putnam, Dutton, 199p.,
This book covers sensitive subject matter in a tenderhearted manner. The story is about Lissa and Kate, the best of friends for the last four years who are able to finish one another's thoughts and sentences, laugh at anything, and know one another inside and out. Their friendship is abruptly halted because they both share a kiss that was initiated by Kate towards Lissa. The story is written from Lissa's point of view and how she discovers she has feelings that she believes are not normal, according to what she has been raised to believe, until she meets a new friend Ariel and experiments with dream therapy. Ariel teaches Lissa through her actions and kind words that it is okay to have feelings different from the norm and to believe in them too, because what is most important is to love yourself for who you are; don't try to be something you are not. Myracle has created a way of thinking for the readers to help them understand and empathize with how Lissa feels about her homosexuality without passing judgment on her. A great book for teens to read and reminded that it is important to accept and love yourself and to not be afraid of the type of person you may be on the inside, as long as you are true to yourself. Also an important read for adults and/or parents, counselors, teachers to better understand the many different feelings and emotions and frustrations that teens experience. 2003, Dutton Books,
Gr 9 Up-The kisser is best-friend-since-seventh-grade Lissa. The kiss is no peck on the cheek, and therein lies the rub. Since the fateful event, Kate has been cold to her friend. In this first-person narrative, Lissa, hurt and confused, details her present state of inner turmoil, with frequent flashbacks to the girls' blissful (pre-kiss) days. To complicate matters, Lissa and her younger sister are being raised by an uncle (their parents died in a plane crash), and lack the emotional rudder a maternal figure might have provided. At first Lissa misses Kate dearly, but gradually, through personal insights derived from some new and unexpected friendships (and forays into new-age dream therapy), she finds the strength to confront both Kate and her own sexual identity. While the message is sound, the delivery is seriously flawed. The friendship between Lissa and Kate, the linchpin of the story, is unconvincing. The girls are defined from the get-go by their differences in appearance and personality, but Myracle fails to make the case that opposites truly attract. It seems ungenerous that Lissa and Kate are painted as such stark contrasts, with Lissa being the brave one and Kate in denial of her sexuality; they are, after all, only 16, an age when sexual conflict is the norm.-Mary Ann Carcich, Mattituck-Laurel Public Library, Mattituck, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.