WARNING: This is NOT a review – it’s a Blog Book Club. That means, we’re going to discuss the book – the whole book – yes – even the end – so guess what. There’s going to be spoilers.
NO! Seriously. If you read past here, it’s your own darn fault.
OK. Welcome to Luv YA’s first Book Club Book Blog – YAY!
Ok, special guest #1 is BuffyPrower visiting from deviantart. com with her plot summary of the first part of the book . Stealing her bio it says: “She’s a sixth grader who is a huge fan of video games and still manages to find time to read a lot.” And I’d like to add, that (may she not kill me and take this out on her mom instead) she’s a mini-diva in training. And that’s a good thing.
The thing is, I kinda started reading “The ABCs to Kissing Boys” the same night [as Twilight – I’m still on page 7]. And I’ve been reading it more than Twilight. Seems like my end of the deal isn’t holding up, is it? Guess not. Well, Kissing Boys is actually very good, considering it’s a romance book, that’s saying something coming from me.
The ABC’s of Kissing Boys is about a junior high school girl (Parker) who loves soccer. She had gotten put on the JV team at her school instead of the Varsity team. But her school has this sports fair at the start of the year. The booth that gets the most money gets a special parking spot for the coach. So her coach is setting up a kissing booth. And Parker’s plan for Coach Heartless involves the previous Prom King, and hottie, Luke Anderson. But then she needs to pay a small fine. Only just $300. The pair’s plan is to have Luke go up to the $3 kissing booth and offer up $300 to kiss Parker. But the thing is, Park doesn’t know how to kiss. Luke’s advice was to go buy a bunch of Starbursts and cherries. Then unwrap the Starbursts with your tongue, and tie the cherry stems with your tongue as well. But then, how hard can that be? Quiet hard. But it’s what his ex did.
On the way home, she meets her neighbor from across the street (Tristan), who her father is so convently competitive with his. But Tristan seems to know a bit about kissing. He went to a camp that summer as a counselor. When the kids went to bed or whatever, the counselors played some games that involved kissing. Lucky for Parker, he teaches her some things about Kissing. And he’s a FRESHMAN. The worst thing ever. Freshman kissing Junior. Or, Junior kissing Freshmen. Yeah… In PUBLIC. But luckily, it’s only the street and he’s at least as tall as her, maybe taller. Exactly 364 days younger, and teaching her how to kiss.. Shame.. He only really gets to teach her the “Caterpillar Kiss”. Basically where you rub eyebrows together.
I’m a bit farther than this, but he’s currently giving her private lessons on this stuff, and she’s also having to deal with the first day of school. Her prissy brat ex-friend Chrissandra, the most popular girl in school, saw Parker and Tristan in Park’s mom’s SUV driving from one of their lessons, and automatically figured they were dating. Big mistake! On the first day of school, Chrissandra and her posse decided to give Parker a gift. How thoughtful! Then it’s a pacifier.
Here’s what she has to say: Yes everyone, she said PACIFIER. If you haven’t read it, you’ll just have to now, won’t you!
Now, on to special guest #2 – is this a great month or what??? And, if you’ve been playing along at home, you know that special guest #2 is none other than TINA FERRARO!!!
Tina did the most amazing thing and gave us a little behind the scenes look at ABCs of Kissing Boys. She answered some great questions and I’m sure we’ll stir up some more with our chatter. Oh, and I passed on a few you sent to me…Yeah, I was curious about the younger guy thing too….*bria pleads the fifth*
What real city is DeGroot, MN named for?
A few summers ago, my husband, kids and I attended a family reunion in Minnesota. Afterwards, we drove north and stayed in Duluth. That’s the “real” DeGroot. I fell in love with the Lake Superior city, with its harbor, bridge, bike paths, downtown area…but altered the name to allow me to “tweak” the specifics to fit my story!
Do you ever name your characters after people in your life?
Yes! Here is an internet exclusive (haha): a number of characters in my books (especially the guys) are named after my kids’ friends. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes not. For instance, from HOW TO HOOK A HOTTIE, there’s a real Brandon and Mark. In THE ABC’S OF KISSING BOYS, I used Kyle, Tristan, Luke, Rusty, Keegan and Nick–all after their friends. And there will be even more in my next book, WHEN BAD FLINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD GIRLS. It’s definitely fun to tease the guys about being in my books, and I tell them to take a copy to college and use it to meet girls: “Hey, did you know I’m in a romance novel?”
Does the Steam Kiss really work?
I have no idea! I never got around to fully researching it. So please, those of you with copies of my book, check out pages 125-126, try it and tell me!
Where did you find the Steam Kiss?
I did kissing research on the internet and in a few books, but most of the really good stuff came from kissing websites!
What’s the truth behind the Starburst exercises?
Both my niece and my daughter had heard of the urban legend that unwrapping a Starburst with your tongue would make you a better kisser, and passed it along to me. And my writer’s instinct told me it was a fantastic device to help set the story. Does it actually work? Who knows? Good kissing is subjective, probably has more to do with how attracted you are to your partner than technical skill!
Have you ever dated a younger guy?
Yes, the summer I was 24, I had holiday romance with a three-years-younger guy. I was in Sweden to help organize an international conference, and he was a student I met on a weekend outing. I was learning Swedish and he used the English words he could remember from school, so our sentences were very tangled with both languages. We made a lot of mistakes and laughed a lot. The problem was, once we got over the language problems, we didn’t have all that much to say…so it didn’t end because of the age difference as much as a lack of chemistry!
So, who is going to get back to us on this Steamy Kiss thing?
Getting on to the other questions – one of the things that always impresses me about Tina’s books is how fun they are while dealing with topics that are serious and can feel bigger in that moment. Everything from not making the team to feeling like you may be losing your home….Oh, you haven’t read that one….yeah, go read it! How did you feel reading the desperate struggle Parker has to maintain her status at school while fighting against her growing relationship with Tristan?
One of my writer friends emailed me this past weekend to thank me for suggesting ABCs and introducing her to Tina’s books – she said she couldn’t wait for book club to learn about the woman who could put her in “total awe of a woman who can communicate that her MC’s parents sleep in separate beds with a single phrase not even related to sleeping” — How did you guys feel about Parker’s view of her parents and the war with Tristan’s dad? I know parents can seem irrational sometimes, did you find yourself groaning along with Parker or laughing at her situation? (perhaps BuffyPrower would like to share some of her “my mom is irrational” moments )
Parker learns a hard lesson in the end and has one of those “don’t know whatcha got till it’s gone” moments…We all knew it couldn’t end clean and pretty, but what did you think of her recovery?
Not all the girls Parker had a tough time with were Mean Girls. Tina’s done a great job at capturing the complexity of girls being friends – were you hoping for redemption for all the girls or did you love hating them?
I can’t wait to hear your comments and questions about the book! As you know, this is Month 2 (yay to everyone who came back) — So, as always here, jump in and share your thoughts and your questions freely – remember (adults ) this is a YA blog, so keep your wording YA Friendly!