Kissing Kate Miriam Newman Young Adult YA Literature

Kate was the queen bee; Lissa was her quieter, shyer best friend. They were joined at the hip until Kate got drunk at an end-of-summer party and kissed Lissa – who kissed back. And now it’s a month into the school year and they haven’t spoken since.

Kissing Kate wins high points for realism. Lissa’s confusion and angst are palpable, and her attempts to avoid dealing with her sexuality – and all it implies – is believable. It also manages to avoid some of the overdone tropes of teenage lesbian novels, mostly as a result of not conflating Lissa’s emotional development and self-discovery with her romantic life. This makes a really nice change. Unfortunately, Lissa decides to dabble in hokey new-age dream stuff; her decision to do so is very out of the blue and somewhat forced, and it’s not done nearly as well as the queer teenager stuff.

Queer lit still has an overly compact canon. I’m perfectly happy to accept Kissing Kate into it.