19 February 2010

Review: SPLIT BY A KISS by Luisa Plaja ****

Jo has never been one of the popular kids … until she moves to the USA. Suddenly the coolest girls at her new high school adopt her, and the hottest boy, Jake Matthews, notices her. But when Jake picks her as his partner in the kissing game Seven Minutes in Heaven, it’s not half as heavenly as she imagined!
Jo has a choice: should she carry on with Jake or guaranteed popularity - or should she tell him where to get off and risk losing her new friends…?
At this moment - Jo splits. She’s Josie the Cool - girlfriend of Jake, member of the in-crowd. But she’s also Jo the Nerd - rejected by the It girls, single … ordinary.
Will her two halves ever come together again?

Quick recap: This is the story of a 16-year-old Jo from the UK, who moves to Boston with her mother. She starts attending a new school and due to her accent and everything she attracts the attention of the popular girl (Chelsea, Kristi, Tori etc.). Trying to fit in, she finds herself at one of their parties kissing Jake, the hottest guy in the school, which may sound fantastic but to her it just doesn't feel right. She's torn on what to do - quite literary, and the book explores the two options and their consequences and so the story is split in two parts. When she slaps him, she becomes Jo the Nerd - her newfound cool friends shun her and so she becomes friends with Rachel and David, who may both be falling for her ... On the other hand, when she continues kissing him, she becomes Josie the Cool - she's dating the hottest guy around and her friend gives her a makeover, but suddenly she also has to deal with second and third bases, cleavage, nose job hints, backstabbing so-called friends and other things that come with the cool territory ... As it turns out, neither of the two options are perfect, but both Jo and Josie have made the best of their experiences, which helped them discover who they really. Luckily they both fancy the same guy, hehe.

Don't you sometimes wonder how different your life would be if you had reacted differently in a certain situation? Well, this adorable book (both inside & out) explores this question in a very interesting way, one that will definitely speak to teens in general since they're often faced with choosing between staying true to themselves (and risk becoming a misfit) or giving in to peer pressure to fit in with the popular kids. As Jo learns in the book, neither option is perfect and that the most important thing is finding yourself and being comfortable with who you are, which is far from easy when you're a teen, I remember that all too well, heh.

The book was really easy to read and I suppose that's also due to the fact that the narration is split between Jo and Josie so you just keep reading on because you want to find out what happens to them next. The writing was also great and I even laughed out loud at occassional funny remarks, which is something that I appreciate about books. The voices were believable both in teen speak as well as in terms of being British or American.

The characters are generally well-portrayed, but occassionally I felt that certain characters were perhaps slightly stereotypical at times, e.g. Jake, Chelsea, Kristi, but other than that this book boats a wonderful set of very believable characters as well as a gorgeous cover, which is always a plus!

Oh and everyone compares this novel to the film Sliding Doors, but it also reminds me of a book called The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver (the author of We Need to Talk About Kevin, one of my favourite books ever), which explores a similar and also very fascinating concept of two split stories - it's an adult novel and I really, really enjoyed it too!

All in all, I think this is a great novel for teens (I'd say 12/13+?) since it really speaks to them and it tackles the problems they're dealing with in this confuuuusing period (friends, love, sex etc.) and it also carries a very positive message about discovering who you really are and being happy about that. Strongly recommended!

For those of you who may not know, Luisa (on top of being an amazing person) is also an editor of Chicklish (great site!) and also the author of Extreme Kissing. To learn more about her, please visit her website or follow her on Twitter. Oh and if anyone starts a Luisa Plaja Fan Club on Facebook or something, then please let me know and I'll be the first to join. :)

overall rating:
plot: 4/5 | writing: 4/5 | characters: 4/5 | cover: 5/5

ps: Have you reviewed this book? Please let me know and I'll add your review!

pps: Luckily for those of us who loved this book, the sequel SWAPPED BY A KISS comes out iiiin 69 days and this time the story will mostly revolve around Jo's friends Rachel (the witch/goth) and her boyfriend David, but there will be plenty of room for our Jo too, hehe. Can't wait to read it, plus the cover is gorgeous again (click to enlarge), yay! Heres the synopsis:
Rachel hates her life and everyone in it - she even has suspicions that her on/off boyfriend David might not be entirely trustworthy. However, when David invites her to a music festival in England featuring their friend's band, she jumps at the chance for an overseas adventure. Hoping to surprise David, Rachel arrives at the festival early, where she runs into a nasty surprise of her own - she sees David kissing their friend Jo. Distraught, Rachel runs off, wishing she could leave her life behind...the next thing she knows, she's back with David. But not as herself...She's now in Jo's body! Can she keep the swap a secret from David until she can work out exactly what's going on and get her revenge? Over the course of a very weird weekend, Rachel puts herself in someone else's shoes and finds that her own maybe weren't as uncomfortable as she'd always thought. But can she ever be herself again?
ppps: I hit 200 followers today! I know it may not sound like much, but to me that's amazing! Thanks so much to all my current and future followers, you're awesome! :)


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Melissa said...

This actually sounds like a really interesting and fun book...with a great concept! Great review :)

Christina T said...

I hadn't heard of this book before but your review made me want to read it so I am adding it to my TBR list. Thanks for sharing about this book!

Cleverly Inked said...

Very interesting. COngrats on all the followers!

Book Monster said...

This book look cute, especially the cover. Will have to check it out. Awesome review!!

Rogrady - Book Lover! said...

Congrats on the 200 followers! Thats brilliant!
I loved reading this,
also- I have a review of this book- but it's not very good as its an old one [the review that is, not the book!]

Only 69 days! I can't wait!
Ria x

LCzinha said...

This book seems so cute and interesting. I love the cover.

Plus 200 followers is fantastic! Congrats!

Becky said...

Brilliant review. I haven't read any of Luisa's books because they aren't really in my comfort zone. But I agree she is really fab!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Fab review! Luisa is so sweet and funny!

Michelle said...

This sounds really fun and cute. I'm gonna add it to my list. I like the concept very much. Thanks for your review! :D

Emidy said...

This sounds cute! Great for younger readers.

Une Parole

Shantal said...

Enjoyed your review! Sounds like a fun read :)

I have an award for you at my blog:


Kate said...

Great review. I loved this book too :)

CarlyB said...

Noooo I FOOLISHLY read your pps so now I know what happens at the end of Split by a Kiss. Silly, silly me :(. Great review though!x

Lauren said...

Great review! This book sounds so cute. :)

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