Once at a party, Lissa and her friend Kate find themselves alone in a gazebo. Drunk, Kate leans over and kisses Lissa–seriously kisses her.
Lissa falls in love, and Kate tries to downplay it as meaning nothing.
The entire crux of “Kissing Kate” is that Lissa feels truly in love with her longtime best friend, while Kate pushes away.
Lissa feels alone in the world, until she meets Ariel, one of the most unusual girls in school, somebody she’d never hang out with, except they work the same part-time job.
Gradually, their friendship grows, and Lissa is able to let go of Kate.
The worst way to end this book would’ve been to have Lissa and Ariel fall in love. That’s not what happens, thank the Book Gods.
What does happen is that Ariel and Lissa develop a friendship, and Lissa realizes that it’s not so bad to be different.
Throughout the book, there’s a subtext of “lucid dreaming,” kind of like the film “Inception,” sorta, in that the dreamer knows he or she is dreaming, and can influence its outcome. Lucid dreaming is considered legitimate in many circles, and Lissa’s experiments with it lead her slowly to a place of peace.
“Kissing Kate” ends sort of abruptly, but I like the resolution. It fits the story. Also, there’s a lack of sappiness throughout the novel, which would have been too easy to write. Author Lauren Myracle does an excellent job avoiding many cliches that would have been too easy to use. Yes, there are jerky football players, but what high school novel doesn’t have those? It’s like a YA fiction requirement.
The writing is sharp, and I believed in Lissa and Ariel–as well as a cast of supporting characters.
There’s no sappy ending, no fireworks or saccharine goop. Life isn’t like that, not even in high school.