Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Review: Split by a Kiss by Luisa Plaja
Jo has just moved to America with her mum. She's always been a fairly average girl - not a nerd but certainly never one of the popular kids. But on her first day in her new school, she seems to be adopted by the It girls - and is invited to one of their parties. There, she meets Jake Matthews, officially the hottest boy in school, and when they begin to play the kissing-in-the-closet game, Seven Minutes in Heaven, amazingly Jake picks Jo join him in the closet! She can't believe her luck. But the reality of being kissed and groped by Jake is not quite as great as the fantasy...Jo has a choice to make: should she carry on, kiss Jake and secure her position in the It crowd - or should she tell him where to get off and risk relegation back to the land of the ordinary ...? At this moment - Jo splits. She's Josie the Cool - girlfriend of Jake, member of the It crowd. She's also Jo the Nerd - rejected by the It crowd, single ...Will her two halves ever come back together again? Is Jake the guy she's meant to be with or could some of the other people she meets along her journey - Rachel the scary goth, David the misfit or Albie the rocker - be the answer? A fabulously inventive, heartwarming and funny take on the Sliding Doors idea, for teen readers.
When Jo's computer genius mother is offered a job in America for 12 months Jo thinks this is her chance to be the person she thinks she wants to be (if you understand me) someone completely different to the person she is in the UK. The phrase 'the grass always looks greener on the other side' certainly applies to this story. However, with the fateful kiss Jo is able to experience both sides of the grass *giggles*
Having lived in America myself for a year I found the reference to the differences in culture and terminology highly amusing. I giggled aloud and thought 'been there, done that', the narrative was so realistic in both cultures it was amazing. I really felt as if I was there with Jo. I could clearly picture all the places she went & the people she met.
All the characters in the story are superbly well developed, their personalities were like caricatures of the stereotypical roles/cliques within society (the goth, the jock, the biatch) no matter what age you are these stereotypes exist everywhere and are therefore, very easy to conjure up in your imagination. The interactions of all the characters within both sides of the split were totally believable. I did find Jo a bit naive where people were concerned and actually found myself cringing at Jo's mistakes with David.
I really liked the fact that although the story split into two very different paths, the threads of similarity throughout both sides converge at the end bringing about a single conclusion. To bring the story together from all angles was truly genius.
I think we all feel at some time or another that if we could just start over where no-one knows us then life would be different. This story shows that no matter where we are we are still the same person and that is the one thing we cannot escape, ourselves. Throughout the story Jo finds herself, realises who are her real friends and finds the perfect guy for her. Oh, I do love happy endings.
I think this book should be a summer must-read :) A book of self-discovery, friendship, loyalty, love and growing up told in a humorous, light-hearted manner. Truly awesome :0)