First Kiss (Then Tell): A Collection of True Lip-Locked Moments edited by Cylin Busby. Bloomsbury, 2007. 224 pp. ISBN 9781599901992 $7.99
His name was Mike. I was old– 15 and 3/4, and dreading turning sweet-sixteen-and-never-been-kissed. I agreed to play spin the bottle, hoping no one would be able to guess at my inexperience. I almost instantly regretted not holding out for someone I truly and genuinely liked.
Popular authors for teens reveal the stories of their first kisses – first kiss ever, first kiss with a new person, first LAST kiss at the end of a relationship…the memoirs, by the likes of Jon Scieszka, David Levithan, Cecil Castelluci, Donna Jo Napoli, Deb Caletti are much more entertaining that MY story. Well articulated, diary-intimate, and full of delectable and gory details, they are funny, embarrassing, tender, and evocative by turns.
Some of the stories are presented in comic panel format, and others in poetry. Some gems: Sarah Mlynowski and Leslie Margolis provide a self-help spoof, centering around kissing advice. Scott Westerfeld offers a simple haiku, Robin Wasserman’s second person point of view tale is one of woe, and Deb Caletti breaks the rules and writes about her second kiss.
The stories are interspersed with facts and tips: great screen kisses, how to avoid a kiss, what not to eat before kissing. The cover screams summer reading – the close together bare feet of a couple on a beach, one on tiptoes, suggests an intimate moment at days end. Indeed, this is a perfect summer read: light and easily digestible in chunks between sunbathing and running through the sprinkler. Whether you are still anticipating your first lip-lock or been kissed a hundred times, girls age 12 & up will probably get a vicarious thrill from reading these sweet reminiscences.