Kiss Number 8

Kiss Number 8

Amanda can’t figure out what’s so exciting about kissing. It’s just a lot of teeth clanking, germ swapping, closing of eyes so you can’t see that godzilla-sized zit just inches from your own hormonal monstrosity. All of her seven kisses had been horrible in different ways, but nothing compared to the awfulness that followed Kiss Number Eight. An exploration of sexuality, f...

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Title:Kiss Number 8
Author:Colleen A.F. Venable
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Kiss Number 8 Reviews

  • laurel [suspected bibliophile]

    Mads' parents are strained, and what's worse, she thinks her dad is cheating on her mother with another woman. And her dad won't tell her anything about it. But Mads keeps her thoughts away hanging out with her best friend Cat, and kissing boys. Even if the kissing is...gross. Where's the appeal?

    Then everything starts to unravel.

    And everything starts to make sense.

    Forgive me while I mop up the massive tears rolling down my face, k? This was an

    Mads' parents are strained, and what's worse, she thinks her dad is cheating on her mother with another woman. And her dad won't tell her anything about it. But Mads keeps her thoughts away hanging out with her best friend Cat, and kissing boys. Even if the kissing is...gross. Where's the appeal?

    Then everything starts to unravel.

    And everything starts to make sense.

    Forgive me while I mop up the massive tears rolling down my face, k? This was an emotional roller coaster

    . I was thinking, mmm, okay, maybe 2-3 stars, nothing special, and then the second act hit and

    .

    But I want to start with one thing first—Cat is a colossal asshole and 100% complete hypocrite.

    After that, well, there's not much I can say without spoilers, but there's a lot of figuring out who you are, and realizing that you're not alone. And that sexuality is a weird and wonderful thing, and that being trans doesn't mean that you're diseased. And that maybe what you remembered as a child isn't what actually happened, but how you rationalized events in your mind in order to survive.

    This is a definite must-read, but um, get yourself in a good headspace and beware of those trigger warnings because...whew. There's some heavy shit in this. It was such a great reminder that the early 2000s were a such a shit time for gay students.

    But there's always hope, and you are never alone.

    Although spoiler: Kiss #14 is totally my favorite.

    I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.

  • Jay G

    Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my youtube channel:

    Thank you to First:Second and Raincoast books for sending me a copy of this in exchange for my honest review

    4.5/5 Stars

    Amanda's best friend Cat is surrounded by drama and loves kissing boys. Trying to fit in, Amanda has had 7 kisses in her 16 years of life which have been...unremarkable at best. But nothing compares to how awful Kiss number 8 was and what follows afterwards. Not to m

    Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my youtube channel:

    Thank you to First:Second and Raincoast books for sending me a copy of this in exchange for my honest review

    4.5/5 Stars

    Amanda's best friend Cat is surrounded by drama and loves kissing boys. Trying to fit in, Amanda has had 7 kisses in her 16 years of life which have been...unremarkable at best. But nothing compares to how awful Kiss number 8 was and what follows afterwards. Not to mention that her family seems to be hiding a big secret from her. Now, with a secret of her own, Amanda tries to navigate between falling for her best friend and trying to figure out what her parents are hiding.

    I loved this so much. I loved Amanda, she was such a great character who dealt with so much in such a short period of time. I think the themes and topics explored were so well done and thought out. I loved watching her figure out who she was and come to terms with what that meant for her, her family and those around her. I also loved how the family secret was dealt with and explored as well! The character development of ALL the characters, not just Amanda was so nice to see. I also love how the ending isn't completely neat and perfect. Not everything works out, but that's how life is. I also cried at the ending, so there is that.

    I really loved the artwork in this! My one complaint is that there was no colour at all... I think it would have been nice to use the blues from the cover with little pops of colour here and there, but the black and white still worked for this story. Usually I am not a fan of just black and white panels, but that's just me!

    Highly recommend this one!

  • Rod Brown

    I found myself totally engaged with this family drama despite its fairly slow pace and a possibly triggering amount of

    . I didn't feel nearly done with these characters by the end, and I'd love to see the last dozen pages expanded to another 300-page graphic novel.

  • Calista

    It took me some time, but I got into this book.

    I love how they are telling the story through who she is kissing. Kiss number 8 is a game changer for our protagonist Mads. She never finds a reason to stay with boys, but she realizes that her best friend might be more than Mads thought. Her friend is Cat, a wild and boy crazy girl. Kiss #8 was not with Cat, but it was a girl and she finds out that it feels right. This is what she has been looking for, or so she thought.

    There is a lot of high dram

    It took me some time, but I got into this book.

    I love how they are telling the story through who she is kissing. Kiss number 8 is a game changer for our protagonist Mads. She never finds a reason to stay with boys, but she realizes that her best friend might be more than Mads thought. Her friend is Cat, a wild and boy crazy girl. Kiss #8 was not with Cat, but it was a girl and she finds out that it feels right. This is what she has been looking for, or so she thought.

    There is a lot of high drama with relationships an friendships and all the high school drama at play. Mads does go to a Catholic high school, very tiny and once she kisses the girl, her school is horrible. She is the center of gossip and no one will talk with her. She is completely alone. Sad.

    There is also drama within the family. There is a mystery surrounding her grandfather. That is a rather interesting detail I side story.

    It took the first third of the book to draw me in and then I couldn't put this book down. I tore through the rest of it. There are plenty of hurt feelings and queer phobias in this book. It deals with the subject well. I thought it was a good story and I enjoyed reading it. It's an interesting book.

  • Amy Bruestle

    This is my first graphic novel/comic book style of writing that was in an actual chapter book length that I’ve ever read. I was hesitant at first because I generally steer clear of this type of writing. The only reason I gave it a chance was because of the topic.

    I still don’t think I will ever be into this type of book, and definitely don’t see myself searching out other similar books. However, I was pleasantly surprised about how well the comic book themed writing still read like a normal nove

    This is my first graphic novel/comic book style of writing that was in an actual chapter book length that I’ve ever read. I was hesitant at first because I generally steer clear of this type of writing. The only reason I gave it a chance was because of the topic.

    I still don’t think I will ever be into this type of book, and definitely don’t see myself searching out other similar books. However, I was pleasantly surprised about how well the comic book themed writing still read like a normal novel! I was able to follow it easily and I was able to remember everything without a problem.

    I had a few issues with the story itself though. I didn’t like how the author didn’t spend much time or energy on background for “Sam” and I felt like the book was a bit all over the place as far as “the point of the book” went. They didn’t really touch on “being lesbian” until the last part of the book...which is the main reason I wanted to read the book to begin with. So that was kind of disappointing. I just felt like the book didn’t have very much depth, if that makes sense. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t what it could be. I would’ve liked to learn more about each of the characters and maybe have more of their perspective on things too. I don’t know. Something was for sure missing.

    All in all, I don’t regret reading this, but I don’t think I’ll ever pick one up in the future!

  • Tatiana

    This is not a light, fun kissing book. It's a story about family secrets. I didn't like how coy it was about the religious roots of the characters' bigotry. And it was odd how dated the first half of the book felt compared to the progressiveness of the ending. There was a strange disconnect there.

  • Erica

    2 stars for the story, additional star for the artwork.

    You may have seen other reviews saying the cover art does not match the interior story. This is true.

    You may have seen other reviews saying there are a lot of plotlines in this book and none of them are really given full service, especially the tale of a transman, and the end result is chaotic. Also true.

    You may have seen other reviews saying this takes place in 2004 which makes no sense for a book that's supposed to be aimed at contemporary

    2 stars for the story, additional star for the artwork.

    You may have seen other reviews saying the cover art does not match the interior story. This is true.

    You may have seen other reviews saying there are a lot of plotlines in this book and none of them are really given full service, especially the tale of a transman, and the end result is chaotic. Also true.

    You may have seen other reviews saying this takes place in 2004 which makes no sense for a book that's supposed to be aimed at contemporary youth, some of whom wouldn't even have been alive in 2004. So very true.

    I'd like to add that I have not been able to confirm this is an #ownvoices story which leads me to question why it was written. Ok, I know why it was written; the author and illustrator include an interview they did with each other in the back of the book and the author mentions she was inspired to write this story - in 2004 - when her sister came out. But this isn't a story of allyship, this is the story of a teenager questioning gender roles and her sexuality. I suppose this could be aimed at kids who have friends who are LGBTQA+ but for the kids exploring their own sex and gender ideals, this may be more painful than useful.

    In this case, I think it's the art that carries the story. There is so much emotion in the characters' body languages, so much being told via illustration that's not told in text. In some cases, the two oppose one another - a character is telling a story in text while the actual story is playing out in pictures.

    While I liked the idea behind this, I don't feel it was executed well nor do I strongly believe it was told by the person(s) who should be telling this story. Other reviews suggest better stories of LGBTQA+ youth and those may be worth looking into if this one seems like it's not going to please you as a reader.

  • Lola

    I should have known from the very beginning that this would be a VERY dramatic book, not a romantic comedy like I expected. Rom-com, really? That could not be farther from reality. After all, the cover itself is overly dramatic. Mads’s friend is whispering who-knows-what in her ear while she is blushing and holding a CROSS.

    But I had to give it a chance because it’s a GRAPHIC NOVEL and it has LGBTQIA+ themes. That’s a combination that should have worked—after all, BLOOM by Kevin Panetta was abso

    I should have known from the very beginning that this would be a VERY dramatic book, not a romantic comedy like I expected. Rom-com, really? That could not be farther from reality. After all, the cover itself is overly dramatic. Mads’s friend is whispering who-knows-what in her ear while she is blushing and holding a CROSS.

    But I had to give it a chance because it’s a GRAPHIC NOVEL and it has LGBTQIA+ themes. That’s a combination that should have worked—after all, BLOOM by Kevin Panetta was absolutely lovely. But this was not lovely. Actually, I dare say it was kind of a mess and not a pretty one at all.

    The author focused on too many things at once! There’s Mads’s sexuality and crush on her best friend Cat, which she doesn’t really understand and has no one to talk to about or so she thinks. There’s her relationship with her dad which is a love/hate one since he appears to be lying to her. There’s the mystery surrounding her grandparents. There’s her other friend who she’s not sure she even likes. There’s Adam who is in L-O-V-E with her and she couldn’t care less, and yet somehow it’s a source of stress for her because it forces her to face her own desires.

    Boy oh boy. It’s as though the author wanted to write multiple different stories about different things but then suddenly decided to put all of those stories together to form just one. It’s HEAVY and DRAMATIC because there’s too much going on. The characters rarely take time to just calm down. It’s dramatic scene after dramatic scene.

    I did find the illustrations cute and the characters three-dimensional, but as for the story… It wasn’t a winner for me.

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  • Kate ☀️ Olson

    I had to really ponder this review bc I had such high hopes that I had to grapple with the difference between what I wanted it to be and what it actually is.

    As a school librarian, here’s what disappointed me and made me decide not to add it to my collection:

    - the setting of the book in 2004 was only put out there in the very first panel and it could be so easily overlooked. Without that being solid for the reader, so much of it including LGBTQIA language and tech like AIM and old phones was just

    I had to really ponder this review bc I had such high hopes that I had to grapple with the difference between what I wanted it to be and what it actually is.

    As a school librarian, here’s what disappointed me and made me decide not to add it to my collection:

    - the setting of the book in 2004 was only put out there in the very first panel and it could be so easily overlooked. Without that being solid for the reader, so much of it including LGBTQIA language and tech like AIM and old phones was just weird. At the almost-end it seemed much more like a modern story too but we had only passed a few months.

    - the unchecked homophobia, transphobia and racism made me so uncomfortable and although I understand that the story arc led to “redemption” it was too little too late for vulnerable teens. If it were an adult memoir I could understand, but in fiction for teens - not cool. The checking can be done via expressions on faces even but in this case it wasn’t. I get the intention of the slurs as showing what it was like for queer teens in 2004 but don’t appreciate the execution.

    - Mads’ sexuality was never really out there for readers until it was expressed blatantly by Jess. Her longing for Cat wasn’t all that evident and the story gave no reason for why she’d even want Cat since she was such a horrible friend.

    - Undeveloped story line re: transgender family member - this could have been so much stronger and got lost in Mads’ rebellion, sexual awakening, family secret, friend drama, baseball, religion, etc.

    Overall, it is a book that on the surface looks like an amazing addition to the teen LGBTQ+ market but is actually harmful. Please consider recommending LAURA DEAN KEEPS BREAKING UP WITH ME or BINGO LOVE or CHECK PLEASE or BLOOM instead.

    Oh, and the art was good and I liked the layout - that’s what made me give 2 stars instead of 1.

  • McKinlay Dennis

    *I received an ARC of this book from netgalley and the publisher. This does not affect my review.*

    DNF at page 166

    TW: transphobia

    I’m genuinely baffled why this has such good reviews that call it “light hearted.” I was annoyed basically from the start. Mads is incredibly disrespectful toward her parents, ESPECIALLY her mom, who she repeatedly calls a bitch AND doesn’t tell her friend to NOT talk about her mom. I get not liking your mom, but there’s a line, okay? You don’t let your friends call yo

    *I received an ARC of this book from netgalley and the publisher. This does not affect my review.*

    DNF at page 166

    TW: transphobia

    I’m genuinely baffled why this has such good reviews that call it “light hearted.” I was annoyed basically from the start. Mads is incredibly disrespectful toward her parents, ESPECIALLY her mom, who she repeatedly calls a bitch AND doesn’t tell her friend to NOT talk about her mom. I get not liking your mom, but there’s a line, okay? You don’t let your friends call your mom a bitch. You just don’t!

    That wasn’t the worst offense though. There are some seriously transphobic comments made by the MC’s dad. Like, i think it could be really harmful to trans teens, and children of trans parents. Because I quit, I don’t know if he came around but after Mads’ “best friend” outted the trans character I was done.

    I think if this book wasn't marketed as like a cute coming of age queer graphic novel, I would maybe have been less frustrated. But the back of this book makes it seem like it's just a girl kind of realizing she might like girls. That is definitely NOT what I took from it.

    0/10 do not recommend.

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