Monday, February 4, 2013

Review: "It's In His Kiss" by Caitie Quinn

It's In His Kiss by Caitie Quinn

As a reader, I strongly gravitate toward science fiction and fantasy, and all the various variations. The books that most resonate tend to be those which make me think, whether because a tremendous observation about life in general comes through in the writing, or because the concepts explored provide great brain fodder as the peruse ideas about space travel, technology, aliens, or, yes, werewolves and vampires and the like.

It's perhaps surprising that someone with that reading preference is reading and reviewing a romantic comedy. Or perhaps not. Because at the end of the day, I don't read books as textbooks, taking copious notes for a future test. Rather, I read to be entertained. The points listed above are a form of entertainment for me, and skilled writers can pull me into another world of ideas that makes my imagination sing. Yet there's another way that a book becomes entertainment and enjoyment for me. Comedy. Laughter. Smiles.

And I found that in Caitie Quinn's short novel.

Jenna, you see, is a writer, and her editor has informed Jenna that her popular teen character needs to develop a love interest in the next book and experience her first kiss. Long past the first kiss stage and coming out of a difficult relationship, Jenna realizes.she can't possibly portray in writing the emotion that comes with a first kiss without (re)experiencing it for herself. Her friend, a gorgeous head-turned named Lisbeth, demands Jenna accompany her to a bar to see if Jenna can make that happen.

And thus the comedy, laughs -- and smiles -- begin.

Whether it's the highly scientific approach to finding a "victim" for her experiment (which amounts to brute honesty about what she wants and why), or the two good-looking guys who manipulate her into bringing the crowd-pleaser Lisbeth along to an alternate location, or Jenna's secret talents or name... you'll find yourself laughing out loud at the sheer inanity of everything that happens. (I laughed at one point and snorted Diet Coke out of my nose. We don't have Diet Coke in the house. True story, I swear.)

What's great about this story, for me, though, was not the laughs and the silliness. It's that, at the incredibly satisfying end, I simply could not stop smiling. For hours after. Or humming the title song.

Life can present us with plenty of dismal stories and unhappy outcomes, and literature and media can provide us with plenty of examples of the same. It makes the happy endings that much more special, and I think that's where the appeal of this story lies. It's as it we're finally allowed to see someone achieve a goal or a dream, to see the bad guy shot down (figuratively or otherwise), and conclude that justice was done. It appeals to our sense of right and wrong, that a good person can win.

I can finally cheer for the good guy (girl) and see them succeed in the end.

Rating : 5/5 stars

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