Thursday, January 13, 2011
Book Review - 'Second Kiss' by Natalie Palmer
The main character, Gemma, is subject to the usual dumb mistakes that adolescents make, but she has a real flair for taking them a step further. This obviously causes her great embarrassment, and the social blunders take their toll on her social life.
That's not really all that bad as far as she is concerned as long as her closest friend, Jess, is there. He was assigned to walk her to school when she first started attending, and their friendship began there. He became her a protector, and he's been doing it ever since, providing her with strength, understanding, comfort, and support. He truly has her back.
But little does she know just how much this handsome, popular boy relies on her for his own strenth.
I love the way the story develops over the course of about 18 months. You get to see the long-time friendship of these two young people and watch as it evolves with them. Any friendship can survive in good times, but its true mettle is how it grows and changes in adversity.
I got sucked into the story and couldn't put the book down. My time on the exercise bike and the treadmill this morning went way too fast, and I had to take the book with me to work today, so I could finish it at lunch.
I really enjoyed the character development. When I was a girl, I grew up on Nancy Drew--until I found my library had this even older (seeming) series about a girl named Judy Bolton. I enjoyed Judy's mysteries so much more than Nancy's because Judy was believable. She wasn't the perfect at everything character that Nancy always was. Judy made mistakes, and even more importantly, Judy grew.
Palmer's characters aren't one dimensional but come across as flawed human beings, who make mistakes--just as we all do. Junior high is one of the most brutal battlegrounds youth have to survive. I liked how the characters--even the 'villains'--had the ability to show good qualities or at least be worthy of some sympathy by other characters and the reader.
I really enjoyed this book and recommend it.