Just once I’d like to see a girl go on a journey of self-discovery that isn’t instigated by the boy she meets. But essentially that’s what happens to Leah Johnson, youngest of a trio of golden girls in Christina Meredith’s YA novel Kiss Crush Collide. These are girls whose futures have all been mapped out by a cliché of a mother and a doting but passive father. Yorke, the eldest, is in college and planning a wedding to her boyfriend, Roger; Freddie is graduating from high school and heading off for a year in France; Leah is about to start her last high school summer before she, too, becomes (like her sisters before her) valedictorian and then on to bigger and better things.
But that all changes when Leah meets Porter at her family’s country club (yes, they’re that kind of family; they go to the country club on Friday night).
When he wrapped his fingers around mine, a warm current of electricity flowed through me. I felt suddenly solid, as if my world had been rolling past me and it had stopped right now, amazingly sharp and in focus as if I had just taken off my roller skates. I didn’t want to let go.
That’s the boy: green eyes, beautiful brown hair, penchant for stealing cars. He pushes/pulls Leah in ways that Shane (her perfect high school boyfriend) never has, so of course she wants him. She sneaks off with him on the very night she meets him and then can’t stop thinking about him.
I suspect that lots of girls in my class will like Kiss Crush Collide and that’s okay. There are lots of girl meets boy books out there, and this one sits pretty much in the middle of the pack. What has Leah learned from her seventeenth summer? How to drive her car (finally) and her life. Too bad it was a boy who taught her how to do both.