Thursday, July 28, 2011

Are You Going To Kiss Me Now? (YA)

Are You Going To Kiss Me Now? Sloane Tanen. 2011. Sourcebooks. 368 pages.

I should start at the beginning, four months ago, on the night of the senior prom. I wasn't a senior, or a prom person, so the fact that I hadn't been invited wasn't bothering me...much. I mean, I didn't want to go, but it would have been nice to be invited.

I picked up Are You Going To Kiss Me Now? because I wanted to see how it compared with Libba Bray's Beauty Queens. Each book has strengths, of course, and each has its own weaknesses.

The premise of this one is simple. What if a private plane carrying five celebrities, one contest winner, and one semi-famous blogger went down in the ocean near a small African island. Could these people ever learn to get along and work as a team? Would anyone know what to do? What are their chances of surviving it all?

The heroine, Francesca, is the contest winner. She wrote a little essay all about loss for Seventeen magazine. Her sob story about losing her dad in a car accident? So not true! She's just REALLY, REALLY angry that he's getting remarried. She never expected to win--never expected it to be published--so now she may just have to face the consequences.

The good news is that after the plane goes down, well, the people in her life might be so happy to see her again that they'll forgive her for her lies...

The other people on the island are Joe Baronstein, a middle-aged actor who supposedly got his start starring in Small Secrets, a sitcom about a psychic family living in Texas, and it was a musical too; Jonah Baron, the illegitimate son of Joe, a famous singer in a Christian boy-band; Milan Amberson and Eve Larkin, two actresses that hate, hate, hate one another, of course, each has flaws; Cisco Parker, the oh-so-dreamy actor who isn't as perfect as he appears. And then there's Chaz the gay blogger who is obsessed with all things celebrity. His site is all about publishing gossip, gossip, more gossip.

The good news is that Sloane Tanen did a good job with her characters; they are all developed. Especially when comparing them to the more stereotypical characters found in Beauty Queens. I can't say that I particularly loved--or even liked--any of the characters. They are all--in their own way, perhaps--so deeply flawed. Their personal lives are so messy--hate, anger, bitterness, pain, confusion, doubt, frustration, shame, etc. What Francesca learns is that everyone has issues, that no one is perfect. That celebrities are no better or no worse than anyone else.

Francesca (and to a certain extent Chaz) are good at mocking people. And both, I think, take a little enjoyment out of seeing the world in this way. How can I make a joke out of this or that. How can I get my one line in. And even when the person being mocked doesn't really mind at all, it can grow annoying after a while.

The story isn't as over-the-top as Beauty Queens. Yes, there were places I found it a stretch--the person who discovered them, his using Francesca--or trying to use Francesca, all the big "reveals" as they laugh about having all their deepest darkest secrets out of the closet now because of their time together on the island. And the ending, well, it felt a little too happy. But it still wasn't as crazy, over-the-top as Beauty Queens.

I didn't love the story. I have to be honest. I didn't really like--at all--or appreciate may be the better word, the way that Christianity was presented, discussed, mocked, etc. It's not completely unexpected. This book won't be the first or last to present Christianity in a false way and to depict Christians as evil or crazy or liars. So I was disappointed with this one because of that, because of the lack of respect, because of the insults and jokes and such, it was hard to like the characters.

I think there are plenty of readers out there who will appreciate this one--humor and all. It just wasn't for me.

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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