Confessions of a Serial Kisser -- Wendelin Van Draanen

Confessions_of_a_serial_kisserFrom Confessions of a Serial Kisser:

My name is Evangeline Bianca Logan, and I am a serial kisser.

I haven't always been a serial kisser.  There was a time not that long ago when I had next to no kissing experience.  It's interesting how things can change so fast--how you can go from being sixteen with very few lip-locking credentials to being barely seventeen and a certified serial kisser. 

It all started one day with dirty laundry.

At least that's what I trace it back to.

While Evangeline is searching the house for dirty laundry, she discovers her mother's secret stash of romance novels.  At first, she's mostly horrified (after witnessing the implosion and fallout of her parent's marriage, she doesn't understand why anyone, especially her mother, would be remotely interested in romance) and a tiny bit intrigued -- but once she reads A Crimson Kiss, she's hooked.  After reading every single book in the secret stash (including a self-help book about taking charge of your life), she comes to a conclusion:  She wants her own Crimson Kiss.  And so she sets out to find one.

I was really excited about this book.  I love the Sammy Keyes* books, I loved Runaway, I really enjoyed Flipped** -- I'm a big Van Draanen fan.

But... I was disappointed.  Evangeline's voice never really worked for me.  She never crossed the line of being a character on the page to becoming a person in my head, and so I was never fully pulled into the story.  Because of that, the dialogue never really worked either -- and so the book ended up feeling like a 290+ page sitcom, complete with loads of exclamation points and the end-of-the-episode Big Lesson.

I think the author was going for a story that seemed really light and fluffy and silly and that, at heart, dealt with some Big Life Truths, but I just didn't feel that it was a success. 

I'll be interested to see how other people respond to this one -- maybe (hopefully) I'm just having an off day? 

*There's a new one due out in October!  Woo-hoo!

**Though I can't seem to remember any details other than that there were two narrators.