Book Review: Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable

Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable
Rating: ★★★★★
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Source: Borrowed

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, family, and faith, Kiss Number Eight is a coming-of-age tale filled with humor and hope.

Before I write this review, let me get one thing out of the way. When I first started reading this, I was pretty sure I’d give it one star. Given the serious homophobia and transphobia at the beginning of this book, I couldn’t believe that I’d seen it advertised as a great LGBT graphic novel. In addition to that, Amanda was incredibly rude to her mother, constantly referring to her as a bitch and flat-out refusing to listen to her or spend any time with her at all.

Let me tell you, books like this are the reason I rarely DNF. The character development in this was amazing.

It’s hard to talk about what happens in this book without spoiling the whole thing, so here are some kind of vague bullet points:

  • This book deals with family secrets while also making the point that the way we remember things (or were taught things) from childhood might not necessarily be what actually happened.
  • I absolutely loved that Amanda’s religion played a fairly big role in the story. While I’m not particularly religious, I did attend 13 years of Catholic school (and was in Catholic high school during the time that this book takes place) and can absolutely see these things happening.
  • The friendships in this book were heartbreaking but realistic. Just like Amanda doesn’t always say or do the right thing, neither do her friends.
  • I loved the character development in this book. Both Amanda and many other characters start the book off by thinking that homosexuality is unnatural, that being transgender is a disease, but they gradually learn and grow and question what they’ve been taught and it just made me so happy.
  • I thought that the ending was perfect. When I first finished, I was kind of annoyed that some things were left hanging, but then I realized that it was more realistic that way.

I think that the only other thing I want to say about this book is that the art was amazing. I absolutely loved the art style, and the facial expressions and body language of the characters was some of the best I’ve ever seen. I’m looking forward to reading more by this author (and the artist).

Highly recommended as long as you think you’ll be okay with the homophobia and transphobia at the beginning.

#mm19: one sitting reads

Have you read Kiss Number 8? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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6 thoughts on “Book Review: Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable

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