Friday, October 14, 2011

Review: Kiss Crush Collide

Kiss Crush Collide
By Christina Meredith
Publication date: December 27, 2011

My review:

Leah is the youngest of the Johnson sisters and she has always been known that way. She has a privileged life though it does bother her that she has been pushed into this role with all its expectations of living up to her older sisters Yorke and Freddie. She isn't as beautiful as Yorke or as smart as Freddie but she is obedient. Leah even dates a boy her mother approves of and life seems wonderful. Then she meets Duffy and everything changes. Suddenly she is sneaking off to be with him and noticing all the chinks in their perfect life. Will Leah have the courage to break the mold?

Kiss Crush Collide is touted by the publishers as a book that would appeal to fans of Perfect Chemistry, John Green, and Sarah Dessen. I think this sets the reader up for unrealistically high expectations. The novel may have that theme of forbidden romance like Perfect Chemistry but that is where similarities end. We don't really get to see the romance develop between the characters. Instead there is instant attraction and stolen kisses in borrowed cars. They make out the first time they meet and their relationship doesn't seem to have much substance. We don't really get to know Duffy either. There are snippets of information about his background and home life but not much. Unlike Perfect Chemistry where readers get to know Alex Fuentes through the chapters from his point of view, we don't really learn much about Duffy by the end of the book. It isn't really clear what Leah likes about him either. 

Where the novel has its strength is the family dynamics between Leah, her sisters, and her unbearable mother. While we still don't see any motivation for the way her mother behaves, it does give us some understanding of why Leah acts like she does. I found it hard to connect with Leah because she is somewhat spoiled and privileged and she complains about her life. She cheats on her boyfriend and isn't fair to Duffy. She is also really rude to Valerie, her academic rival (though that isn't very believable-Leah isn't convincingly portrayed as a smart student but rather someone who is allowed to slide by virtue of her family name). Valerie shows up every day at the pool where Leah works and she calls Leah out on her behavior and lack of effort in school. Of all the characters in the book I liked Valerie the most. She is quirky, different, she loves to read and study, and she doesn't seem to care about popularity. The two eventually become friends as Leah becomes more mature. In the end Leah does grow up a little and assert some independence which was nice to see.

I think Kiss Crush Collide shouldn't have been marketed the way it was. Comparing the book to those by such major YA authors as Sarah Dessen and John Green did not do it any favors. Without those comparisons I think the book was not bad for a debut novel and I liked how the author wrote the scenes involving Leah and her family. Kiss Crush Collide does have some flaws and it would have benefited from more character development or even alternating chapters between Leah and Duffy. If you are in the mood for a romance with lots of chemistry and don't mind the flaws then Kiss Crush Collide might appeal to you. It is certainly entertaining and the author definitely has potential. I think that with time her books will rival the works of authors like Simone Elkeles and Jennifer Echols. Some fans of Perfect Chemistry and Forget You might even enjoy Kiss Crush Collide as long as they don't read it expecting it to be just like those books.

Note: I read an ARC of this book courtesy of Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for my honest review


  1. Darn-I was really excited about this due to the comparisons to Dessen. I'll probably give it a try because while I hated the characters, I loved the chemistry of Forget You.

  2. I always dislike it when debut books get compared to already-established novels. It really sets them up for disappointment, whether or not they're good, just because readers have already set up their own individual expectations! I am willing to give this one a try. It sounds like a nice read.

  3. I have to agree with Jillian, it's so annoying when that happens. I think I might pass on this one (I'm not a huge fan of instant-attraction).

    Very nice review :D


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