Blog Tour Review: Kissing in America

Posted May 22, 2015 / Book Reviews / 7 Comments

I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.

Blog Tour Review: Kissing in AmericaKissing in America by Margo Rabb
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Published by Harper Collins on May 26th 2015
Format: eARC (400 pages) • Source: Fantastic Flying Book Club
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I loved romances because when you opened the first page, you knew the story would end well. Your heart wouldn't be broken. I loved that security, that guaranteed love.

In real life, you never knew the ending. I hated that.

Sixteen-year-old Eva has never been in love. But when she meets Will, everything changes. With him, her grief over her father's death fades, and she can escape from her difficult relationship with her mother. Then, without any warning, Will picks up and moves to California. So Eva—with the help of her best friend, Annie—concocts a plan to travel across the country to see him again. As they leave New York City for the first time and road-trip across America, they encounter cowboys, kudzu, and tiny towns without stoplights. Along the way, Eva and Annie learn the truth about love and all its complexities.

I really, really enjoyed this book. I couldn’t put it down. I love when a book can completely set the scene and give me plenty of things to relate to. I’ve been liking the format of “five reasons to read” for reviews sometimes, so without further ado…

Five Reasons to Read Kissing in America

1. The Road Trip

This is definitely the kind of book that gets me in the mood to travel. I love the idea of taking a cross-country road trip and am absolutely determined to do it someday. I have to say, I wouldn’t enjoy the exact same trip that these girls had, but it definitely gave me some inspiration! The story centers around Eva and her best friend Annie traveling to California. They’re headed to a TV competition for Annie to win scholarship money, but Eva organizes the trip with the purpose of visiting Will, a boy she’s been falling for. I loved reading about the two of them traveling the country, stopping and meeting some interesting characters, and exploring a lot of feelings. I love when books motivate me to get up and DO SOMETHING.

2. The Friendship

Annie and Eva had a really strong relationship. I loved that they were both incredibly smart and talked about way more complex things than people their age. Eva made some mistakes, especially at the end, but Annie was always there to listen and help her. I can’t imagine Eva being an easy person to be friends with, but Annie handled it pretty darn well. There were so many moments between the two of them where I just knew that they GOT each other, you know? They’d been through everything together and never judged each other.

3. The Family

Eva’s father died in a plane crash two years before the story takes place. She’s still majorly struggling with it… and it doesn’t help that her mom refuses to discuss any of it with her. The whole book she puts her father on a pedestal while dismissing everything her mom does. I can understand why she felt that way and it felt like a very real reaction. I absolutely loved how everything wrapped up on the family front in this book. Aside from the mother-daughter relationship, we hear a lot about her grandmother, her father, and her aunt. They were very present in the book – even if they weren’t physically there.

4. The Relatability

When Eva was struggling with her mom, I could completely relate. I love my mom, but there are plenty of times she says things that get under my skin. I really felt for Eva when her mom dismissed the romance novels she was always reading, or made little comments about what she was wearing. It was hard to hear because some parts of it definitely hit home for me. I highlighted so many passages on my Kindle that I related to.

5. The Realism

I don’t want to get spoilery about the relationship or romance part of the book, so I’ll save some of that for the spoiler tag. I felt like the situation with Eva and Will was fairly realistic. On the one hand, it felt kind of like instalove… but on the other hand, who can’t relate to being completely fascinated and enamored with someone that quickly? She overanalyzed everything about their relationship and I have TOTALLY been there before. A lot of her concerns and questions were things I’ve found myself wondering about boys. The way things wrapped up with her and Will felt completely realistic to me, although some people may not agree. View Spoiler » The road trip itself was a realistic journey, and the ending mirrored that.


This book was such a pleasant surprise for me. I was engaged from the very first page. There were quite a few things about Eva that bothered me, like how quickly she fell for Will and was willing to travel the country for him, but I think that it’s also something I liked about the book. Again, it just felt real to me. She was a girl with flaws who was trying to find her way – in more ways than one. The cast of characters was diverse, interesting, and incredibly fleshed out. This was an absolute solid read that I would highly recommend, especially when you’re feeling that wanderlust 😉

“Wonderful . . . Margo Rabb has created nothing less than a women’s map of American mythologies, navigating from Emily Dickinson to Barbara Cartland, from the cowboys of the rodeos to the makeup studios of Hollywood, and from the bottom of the Atlantic to the spacious skies of the USA.” — E. Lockhart, New York Times bestselling author of We Were Liars

“A wonderful novel about friendship, love, travel, life, hope, poetry, intelligence and the inner lives of girls. Margo Rabb writes with compassion and clarity about lives that are worth telling, journeys that need to be taken, peace that needs to be reached. I loved it.” — Elizabeth Gilbert, New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray Love

“That Margo Rabb can write a story so gorgeous, funny, and joyous that is also unsentimental and honest is a testament to her skill and to her heart. I loved everything about Eva and the supporting cast in this beautiful novel.” — Sara Zarr, author of The Lucy Variations

“Rabb eloquently gets grief right in this compassionate, perceptive, and poignant story, deftly leavened with irreverent humor, of a girl in conflict with her mother. Wise, inspiring, and ultimately uplifting-not to be missed.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“With a full cast of multidimensional characters, this novel explores the complex nature of relationships and the many faces of grief and love with equal parts humor and poignancy.” — School Library Journal

“A smart teen’s novel. [The] characters are authentic and complex. Rabb knows the perfect point to interject humor to diffuse a potentially devastating situation—a leavening of sorts to the reality that death and love inexplicitly alter the landscape of a person’s life.” — Booklist (starred review)

“In this indelible coming-of-age story, Rabb seamlessly weaves together multiple narratives. Sprinkled with the poetry Eva reads and writes, this story makes for a hilarious, thought-provoking, wrenching, and joyful quest.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Humor and depth . . . Often entertainingly snarky” — The Horn Book

“It is a marvel and I love every word of it: the carefully structured plot, the memorable characters, the wholly apposite style and tone. It is funny, sad, wistful, wise, and altogether memorable.” — Michael Cart


Follow the Kissing in America AUDIO TOUR that Epic Reads is hosting. You can win lots of prizes and hear excerpts from Margo Rabb’s book. Click on the banner below to start following the AUDIO TOUR!
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Follow the Kissing in America by Margo Rabb Blog Tour and don’t miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.
Margo Rabb’s stories have been published in The Atlantic Monthly, Zoetrope: All Story, Seventeen, Best New American Voices, New Stories from the South, New England Review, One Story, and elsewhere, and have been broadcast on National Public Radio. She received grand prize in the Zoetrope short story contest, first prize in The Atlantic Monthly fiction contest, first prize in the American Fiction contest, and a PEN Syndicated Fiction Project Award. She grew up in Queens, New York, and now lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two children. A complete list of her published work can be found here.
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7 responses to “Blog Tour Review: Kissing in America

    • Yes! haha there is. Well it’s oddly phrased on the back of the book – makes it seem like it’s a mystery of why he leaves.. not really the case. You’ll see! 🙂 I don’t think it would be a spoiler if I said more about it, but I won’t just in case 😛

  1. This sounds like a great read! I haven’t read too many books which include a road trip so I know I would like to try one of those at some point. As well as that, I think the idea of family and friendship being featured so much here makes me happy 🙂

    Olivia Roach recently posted: The Book Thief (Review)

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