Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

Extreme Kissing by Luisa Plaja

extremekissing I have to own up before I begin… I had already read Extreme Kissing before it became a book.  In fact, I am beyond thrilled to be mentioned on the inside.  My main involvement however was to say things like “fabulous”, “this bit is brilliant” and “I am soooo loving it”, but if that merits a mention in the acknowledgements then…. yeeeeha!

So, since I’ve known this book for quite a while, I consider myself well placed to share its brilliance with you.  Think of this review as me introducing you to a much loved friend.

Extreme Kissing is the story of Bethany (Bets) and Carlota (Lots) and told from both perspectives.  As the story begins ‘feisty Lots’ has been grounded and ‘stressing Bets’ has to use her good girl charm to get her out.  That accomplished, Lots drags Bets on an Extreme Travelling adventure in order to try and make her forget about her boyfriend.  Lots knows a secret about him but she doesn’t want to break the news until she has shown Bets that there are other fish in the sea.  Bets is stressing to the max though – exams, her boyfriend hasn’t called or texted and she thinks she might be pregnant.  Extreme Travel is the last thing on her mind.  But Bets goes along with Lots in her mad scheme as they pick pages from their favourite magazine, Teen Spice and do exactly what the page tells them to do.  This leads into all sorts of hilarity, excitement and also trouble.  All the time though both girls are hiding their secrets from each other while thinking they’re the best friends in the world.

Extreme Kissing is not just a romantic comedy though.  By experiencing the story from both of the girls points of view we can see their attempts to share their troubles and their failures to disclose the most important things on their minds.  Meanwhile they carry on trying to keep each other happy.  This situation turns what could merely be an very entertaining, funny story into something with a much deeper meaning and experience.  It has poignant messages about betrayal, pregnancy, friendships and secrets and all pack a ferocious punch.

Extreme Kissing is hilarious, there are real laugh out loud moments like…

I flick through quickly, suddenly desperate to change the subject.  The magazine’s full of snogging, shopping and slebs, so I really don’t understand how this challenge thing is going to work.  Well, maybe apart from shopping. ‘I don’t get it Lots. Do adverts count? There’s a huge one here for a games console.  What would we do, pretend to be Lara Croft?’

‘Yeah, good idea.’ Carlota does the puffed-out-Lauren-chest thing again and then uses her knitting needle to pretend-shoot a cross looking old woman sitting at the end of the carriage. ‘Nah, we’d go to one of those Soho games places and chat up some boys.’

Boys again! Carlota just can’t stop.

She glances at the magazine. ‘And if you pick a Tampax ad…’

I flinch.

She puts on a new-age guru voice. ‘We’d goooooo with the flooooow!’

But there are some real heartbreaking moments too…

I think a bit more.  It’s making my head hurt. ‘Bets, how do you stand it?’

‘What?’

‘You know.  Caring so much about boys.  One boy, I mean. I’d forgotten what it was like, it’s so long since I’ve been with Yves.  I mean, it’s brilliant, but it’s also horrible.’

Her lips flicker in an almost-smile. ‘Yeah, I know.’

‘I can’t stand the thought of him with someone else.’

She sighs. ‘Yeah I know.’

Now I’m nearly crying, which is unheard of for me.

‘God, Bets, I’m sorry.’ I’m never going to be able to break her heart like that.  Stupid bloody Becca.

These multi layers, the humour and the heartbreak, the secrets and the betrayals and the two opposing perspectives from two very different girls are what makes Extreme Kissing a totally compelling page turner.  Without doubt this book is a prime example of the incredible quality of literature available to our sisters, daughters and grand-daughters.  It’s a book that will not only entertain, but one that they can put themselves into, identify with and hopefully find answers.  And you really can’t get much better than that.

About Eve Harvey

Eve Harvey is a bookaholic. She is forever to be found with her nose in a book. If there are none around then newspapers, magazines, the back of cereal packets, road signs or the tiny washing labels found on the seams of jumpers will do. Eve used to have full time job as a children's bookseller and she was the very first Waterstone's Children's Expert Bookseller in Scotland. Her first love was definitely literature for children and teens, about which she has nerd-level knowledge. However she has since become involved in grown-up books and has co-written her first adult novel with Cath Murphy. Eve and Cath Podcast, blog and have far too much fun on their website Domestic Hell. Eve lives in a field just outside Edinburgh in Scotland with her daughter and son and two dogs and two rabbits. She also has some tanks of tropical fish and vows one day to start up a marine aquarium. And the day she signs her very first publishing deal she is going to celebrate by buying a pair of Horsefields tortoises. You can find Eve through her Agent, Ella Kahn at DKW Literary Agency. She's also on Twitter or on her website : EveHarvey.com

5 comments on “Extreme Kissing by Luisa Plaja

  1. Sam
    April 4, 2009

    Sounds fab. Great review.

    Sam

  2. Jackie
    April 4, 2009

    This is completely different than what the title indicated.Sort of like “Sex in the City” which is about friendship more than sex. This book sounds the same.
    I like how you give an in depth review without telling us what happens. Is Bets pregnant? Does everything work out with her boyfriend or do they break up? What is the secret about him that Lots knows?
    How cool that you are mentioned in the book! That would be a treat & very flattering.

  3. Emily
    April 6, 2009

    I’m really excited about this book. Great review, Eve.

  4. Lisa
    April 6, 2009

    Brilliant review, Eve. I was in Plymouth this weekend and saw a massive stack of these in the Drake Circus Waterstone’s and can’t wait to get stuck into the book, as I was very impressed with “Split by a Kiss”. Well done Luisa and Eve 🙂

  5. Pingback: Swapped by a Kiss by Luisa Plaja « Vulpes Libris

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This entry was posted on April 4, 2009 by in Entries by Eve, Fiction: young adult.

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  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)
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