Extreme Kissing Paperback – 2 Apr 2009
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"Plaja's humour is subtle and the dialogue betwen the girls is spot on. The idea to write the novel from the point of view of both girls is genius" (Carly Bennett The Bookbag)
"Luisa Plaja's second novel is as brilliant as her first, if not better. The story flows and the characters are well developed and extremely easy to like and relate to" (So Many Books So Little Time)
"Once again, Luisa Plaja has taken a chicklit book, and made it so much more than that" (About Books For Teens)
"Bridget Jones meets the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. A hilarious and entertaining read" (Ultimate Book Hound)
"I'd recommend Extreme Kissing to anyone who enjoys a fun, girly story with genuine heart. Heck, I'd recommend it to anyone who has a heart. It's a must-read" (I Was a Teenage Book Geek)
A fabulous and heartwarming tale of two friends and the secrets they keep from each other, on one amazing day out...See all Product description
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Carlota, a wild child, thinks Bethany stresses far too much, and knowing that she has some awful news to tell Bethany, that her boyfriend has cheated on her, she tries to distract her best friend. She has a mad day of Extreme Travelling planned for them both. Along with the help of several issues of her favourite magazine, she hopes a day full of random challenges that takes them all across London, including silent raving to hijacking a tour bus, will calm Bethany down, give her an awesome day she'll never forget, and it make it easier to tell Bethany about Declan.
Does Bethany have the courage to face her fears and say them out loud? Can Carlota tell Bethany, and risk hurting her? And does Carlota have another reason for wanting to go to London?
I cannot tell you just how brilliant this book is! I thought I would enjoy it, but I didn't expect it to be as good as it was. Several times I was laughing out loud so hard, my Dad told me to shut up. It's just hilarious, but also very moving, seeing the friendship between these two girls, and how much they care about each other. Although the day of Extreme Travelling is supposed to be about light hearted challenges, it also holds emotional challenges for both girls, as they learn about themselves, and have to come to terms with things that are happening in their lives.
Sex isn't the main focus of this book, but it's an underlying theme. Bethany is terrified of the idea that she might be pregnant, and what that will mean for her future. Carlota, very confident and flirty, was kicked out of her previous school for being caught with a boy in the lab - what they get up to isn't gone into in detail. She also has rumours about her going through the school, and gives her kisses to many guys freely. The girls both mention "Kisses Etcetera", a self-explanatory term created by Carlota of which she is a fan. There are also mentions of Boy Snaring lessons, which Carlota gave to Bethany which led to her being with Declan. There is also the briefest hint of peer-pressure when it comes to sex mentioned in the book, too, as is virginity.
I don't want to spoil the book for anyone who hasn't read it yet, but the way Bethany's possible pregnancy is dealt with is just awesome. Her fears were very real; they weren't glossed over, but portrayed realistically, without blowing them out of proportion, and I found myself empathising with her in her worry. There is a whole conversation about being safe during sex in the book, but there isn't too much mention of the precautions someone could take, or the options she would take if it does turn out she's pregnant. Bethany was very much focusing on "Am I, am I not?" - when she was thinking about it - as opposed to what she might do if she is, like she couldn't even think that far ahead.
When the girls end up bumping into an ex of Carlota's, Yves, there is some focus on choice for Carlota in terms of how far she takes things with him. Again, I don't want to spoil the book for anyone, so I won't go into much detail, but there is a point where she has to seriously look at the situation, and at what she wants, and ask herself some serious questions.
Again, sex isn't the main focus of the book, but the aspects of it that are in there are dealt with so well, highlighting the questions, the emotions, the fears the girls go through so realistically and maturely, it's admirable. As hilarious as the book was, it was also very moving and poignant and in some places trying to read. I wish this book had been around when I was younger, and will be forcing it on my cousin ;) An amazing book, one everyone should pick up! Now, who wants to go Extreme Travelling with me?
Written in first person narrative with alternating views of the 2 female protagonists, Bethany & Carlota. Bethany, 16, steady boyfriend, good student and all round nice girl except for her friendship with Carlota. Carlota, slightly younger (surprisingly) than Bethany yet appears more worldly; would just about do anything for fun. Have you guessed which one I hated yet?
The story follows the girls on an adventure manufactured by a teen magazine called Extreme Travel, whereby they pick a random bus/train and go where-ever it takes them. Add in random challenges taken from the pages of the magazine and you have an awesome day out. However, is it all random or are both the challenges and destination being controlled? I adored this aspect, the challenges were fun and not at all risky. The destinations were easy to picture and relate to. It really made me want to jump on the next bus/train with a magazine and see where it took me ;) Anyone want to join me?
Bethany and Carlota's personalities are revealed in depth through their adventure. Carlota's actions were sometimes amazingly naive, inconsiderate and frustrating that I wanted to throttle her. For me she was the epitome of the 'toxic' friend (Now you know which one I hated). Admittedly some of the challenges helped Bethany achieve part of her dreams, give her confidence and discover her inner strength. Bethany was wonderfully down to earth, easy to relate to, somebody you would be glad to call friend. Throughout the adventure there is an undercurrent on both sides giving an extra dimension to the story, the insights into both of their thoughts really reinforce the narrative.
The contrasts between Bethany & Carlota's parents brought to mind the nature versus nurture debate. A very interesting and subtle comparison.
Sensitive subjects such as sexuality and teen pregnancy are dealt with frankly but with sensitivity and a bit of humour.
The pages themselves are visually appealing with pretty girlie squiggles giving the impression of a personal diary/journal.
So now you know that I did in fact really enjoy this book although it brought out some really powerful emotions in me (poor Carlota). A wonderful humorous book perfect for Summer : D
The main reason I loved this book though is that it covers so many different things and you don't even realise it. I loved getting to see Carlota's relationship with her parents unfold, to see the girls realised that although they share a strong bond they don't know everything about each other and to see Bets finally realise what has been going on. Which brings me nicely to the ending. I did not see it coming and it was brilliant! I won't say anymore because I don't want to ruin it for anyone else as it was such a great moment for me.
In other reviews I have seen comparisons to Louise Rennison and liz Retting and I agree with these completely, but I would also compare it to Meg Cabot for the fun factor and to Sara Zarr for the brilliantly created characters. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am really looking forward to reading Split by a Kiss :)