Wendelin Van Draanen is the author of many beloved and award-winning books. For middle graders, she's written Swear to Howdy and the Sammy Keyes mystery series. For teens and tweens, there's Flipped, The Running Dream, Confessions of a Serial Kisser, and Runaway. And for younger readers, check out the Shredderman quartet and the Gecko and Sticky series. Wendelin Van Draanen lives in Central California with her husband and two sons. Find her on the Web at WendelinVanDraanen.com or on Twitter at @WendelinVanD.
Gr 8-11-When 16-year-old Evangeline discovers her mother's secret stash of romance novels, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to one title: The Crimson Kiss. Although she dismisses the other books as trash, Evangeline is swept away by this story and dreams of finding a kiss as passionate as the one described in the novel. Inspired by a second book of her mother's-this one a self-help tome-the teen decides to take action: she will make her fantasy a reality. When her guerrilla kissing missions leave her with a dubious reputation and land her on the wrong side of her best friend, she starts to reevaluate her search. With a quick pace enforced by short, episodic chapters that conclude with mild hyperbole or romantic suspense, Van Draanen's novel is compulsively readable. While Evangeline's determination to receive the perfect kiss seems a little over-the-top, her growing realization that her behavior is a reaction to her parents' recent separation and their attempt at reconciliation tempers this aspect of the tale. The novel doesn't end on a typical romance-novel note; instead, Evangeline finds a nonromantic outlet for her passion and begins to rethink her goals.-Amy S. Pattee, Simmons College, Boston Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Evangeline and her musician dad used to be close--but that was before he had an affair, and before she and her mom moved out. Cleaning, Evangeline finds her mother's stash of romance novels and begins dreaming of a "crimson kiss." Between the lure of the crimson kiss and a self-help book urging readers to live their fantasies, Evangeline, formerly a straight-A high school junior, starts kissing crushes and even strangers. She also starts to get a reputation. Van Draanen's (Flipped) plotting is straightforward, but the pacing is near perfect: readers realize, just when Evangeline does, that it is not a kiss she is after but actually "more the passion of it... to really, really care." The author also draws a solid parallel between Evangeline's inability to forgive her father and her best friend's unwillingness to forgive Evangeline after she kisses her friend's secret crush. Readers may not get all of Evangeline's references to old rock 'n' roll bands, but they will understand how the music connects her with her dad, and why she eventually wants to make her own sound. In the end, the playful title and premise are matched by tender and convincing storytelling. Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Praise for Confessions of a Serial Kisser:
Not the usual chick-lit fare. This great novel will no doubt expose Van Draanen to a while new legion of fans. --VOYA The pacing is near-perfect: readers realize, just when Evangeline does, that it is not a kiss she is [really] after. In the end, the playful title and premise are matched by tender and convincing storytelling. -- Publishers Weekly With a quick pace [and] romantic suspense, Van Draanen's novel is compulsively readable.--School Library Journal Evangeline's strong, entertaining voice will pull plenty of readers, who will root for their heroine as she begins to piece together a grown-up life. -- Booklist