Split by a Kiss Paperback – 6 Mar 2008
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"A teen chick lit novel, but one written with intelligence, humour and subtlety . . . The story is slick, funny and a really good read for anyone feeling the peer pressure" (The School Librarian)
"It's rare to find a book like this - that has a brand new, never told before story, brilliant writing, lots of very realistic scenarios and some hilarious but usually overlooked characters. It really is the ultimate in teen fiction" (Zoe Page The Bookbag)
"Split by a Kiss has a strong narrative voice and punchy contemporary dialogue. The moral of this novel is that it's important to speak your true voice. And at the beginning of what will undoubtedly be a long career as a children's author, Plaja has done just that" (Vanessa Curtis Glasgow Herald)
"Cute, sweet, and funny read. Fans of Louise Rennison will love it, and should be sure to put it on their Christmas wish lists!" (Meg Cabot)
"A fast paced and touching story about teenage identities" (Lovereading.co.uk)
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. See all Product description
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Are there any teenagers in the UK that didn't dream of going to high school in America? No, I don't think so. I know I did. I was so sure that if I could just attend high school in the USA it would be just like the movies. If any of my American friends ever tell me it's nothing like the movies, I just don't believe them.
In fact, when I was trying to decide which university to go to I read a comment on a student forum from a girl who had just dropped out of Bath Spa because (and I quote) `it was too much like a bitchy American high school'. Well I was sold. I went on to attend Bath Spa uni, loved every second and am now content that I attended the UK equivalent of a stereotypical American high school.
But I digress. I'm here to talk about Split by a Kiss but that's just how excited this book makes me. It's like the lovely Luisa took my teenage dream and turned it into possibly the most fun novel I've ever read.
I honestly love everything about this book. Lately I seem to have read nothing but books that make me cry and, while I do like to shed a tear now and then, it's nice to just kick back and read something funny, something truly entertaining, something like Split by a Kiss.
I must admit that I did prefer Jo's sections to Josie's but both interlinked really well and that's something I really enjoyed. We would see Jo attend an event with her mother in one chapter, then see Josie blowing off her mother's invitation in the next chapter and it was the details like that that made me champion Jo the Nerd even more.
Though Split by a Kiss is a whole truckload of cute boys, kissing games and ice skating disasters there are some serious issues that are dealt with brilliantly so, while the cover may lead you to believe that this is a fun middle grade novel (I know that's what I thought when I first saw it) there is actually a lot more edge in Split by a Kiss than you might first think. In my opinion, that's nothing but a good thing.
There are enough pop culture references and Buffy the Vampire Slayer quotes to make anybody *squeee* and I can promise you now that you won't be able to resist Ms. Plaja's hilarious writing style. Jo's dismay when she's asked whether she wants chips or fries with her school lunch made me cackle to myself - brilliant.
I currently have the second book in the series, Swapped by a Kiss, staring at me from my book shelves so do look out for my review of that, which I'm sure will be coming very soon.
As every British teenager knows, when it comes to high school Americans do it better. Of course they do. In Britain, it's all packed lunches, GCSE coursework and dodgy uniforms. Americans have prom. Americans can drive themselves to school. Plus, what American teenage girl has to wear a shirt and tie five days a week? For Jo, moving to America is an opportunity to exchange her boring everyday British life with the stuff of movies. Or so she thinks. And for the reader who gets to go with her... well, it's a riot.
The standout aspect of Split by a Kiss is definitely its structure. When our protagonist splits, we follow Josie the Cool and Jo the Nerd through two different versions of the same story. This means we get to experience the same events from different perspectives: the parties that Josie's invited to but Jo is left out of, the different ways that Jo and Josie spend the same snowy day. The most magical part of all: we're given one perfect guy for Jo to fall for, but two different journeys to get her there.
Split by a Kiss may be Fun with a capital F, but there's a whole lot of real life in there too. We've all met the intelligent girl who dumbs herself down to fit in with the in-crowd or get the attention of some boy who probably isn't all that interesting anyway. Rather than go in all heavy-handed with the `be yourself' stuff, Split by a Kiss really gets that it's as hard to fit in with the nerds as it is with the in-crowd. Also, best incentive ever for chucking out the labels and just being yourself: if you're off simpering after the wrong guy, you might miss out on your big love scene with the right one.
Whether you're a fan of light-hearted romantic comedies or a cynical devotee of all things dark, Split by a Kiss is the kind of book that'll give you a serious case of the warm fuzzies. It's charming, hilarious and frankly irresistible. Just beware of the snorting.
Split by a Kiss is like a cross between the movies Sliding Doors and Mean Girls. It's fun, original and very hard to put down.
Jo/Josie has a brilliant voice, and reminded me of Georgia Nicolson from the Angus, Thongs... series. She's funny, honest and is your typical sixteen year old girl. I laughed out loud quite a few times, especially at some of her UK to US vocabulary mistakes. Speaking of US to UK, this aspect of the book is one of the things I liked most. It's interesting to learn about the different phrases and words that each country uses to describe the same thing: for example, 'closet' and 'cupboard'.
All the characters are likeable and realistic, especially Tori (the nice mean girl), Albie (Tori's lovely brother) and Chelsea (rich bitch clique leader). I won't spoil the plot, but I was very happy to see who Jo ended up with. I think I may have clapped at the end, or something along those lines. That's how much I wanted her to end up with the character-that-can't-be-named.
I like how the story has been left open, and I would love to know what happens to the characters in the future. I also liked the sneaky hint about the voodoo doll, and the possibility that it could have been the cause of Jo's split. Very clever.
If you're a fan of Louise Rennison or Liz Rettig, then you should enjoy reading this book. Split by a Kiss has reminded me why I love UK teen fiction, and I am now eagerly awaiting Luisa's next novel, Extreme Kissing, which is being published this April. It sounds great!