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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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Gr. 7-10. It was one thing for someone else to be gay. It was something else entirely if it was me. Lissa, 16, has been best friends with beautiful Kate for four years, but everything changes when Kate gets drunk at a party, and she and Lissa passionately kiss. Lissa is desperate to talk about it, but Kate wants to pretend that nothing happened. This first novel does a great job of showing the girls' surprise at the situation and the way their emotions swing from attraction to denial. Funny and anguished, Lissa's first-person narrative expresses her hurt, anger, and confusion as she tries to date a guy; searches for an adult to talk to (and for a bra that fits); and downloads depressing statistics from the Net about the high suicide rate among gay teens. There's some contrivance about lucid dreaming, with heavy metaphors and connections, but most readers will skim that for the lively realistic story about friends and lovers. For another, very different take on the subject, see David Levithan's Boy Meets Boy, reviewed on p.1980. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2003 Booklist
School Library Journal
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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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.