The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams
Genre: YA contemporary
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Walker & Compnay
Piper, Cassidy, Mei, and Izzy have been best friends their whole lives. And they've always agreed on one goal: to get out of tiny Paris, Texas, and see the world. The school's foreign exchange program seems like the perfect escape: Piper will go to the original Paris; Mei will go to China; Cassidy will go to Australia; and Izzy, unable to afford the program, will stay at home. To add spice to their semester away, and to stay connected to their best friends, the girls start The International Kissing Club, a Facebook page where they can anonymously update one another and brag about all the amazing guys they're meeting. After all, these girls are traveling abroad: amazing guys abound at every turn! But sometimes fun, flirty vacation flings turn into more serious romances, and sometimes you don't return from abroad the same person you were. Will the girls' relationships-and their friendships-be able to survive? (Goodreads.com)
Upon hearing the premise for The International Kissing Club, I was extremely intrigued. A book focused on kissing? Yes, please! As far as contemps go, I thought it had a pretty unique little twist to it and I was really happy to get the opportunity to read it. However, the novel didn't contain that certain spark that I wanted it to.
The story begins with a prologue from Piper's perspective. I'm not a fan of prologues, so I probably would have liked it a lot more if it was just chapter one, but the prologue did help me easily sympathize with Piper. I mean, being humiliated in front of the entire town by having to kiss a pig? Not a particularly ideal situation. The prologue also helped readers grasp just how far Germaine, Evil Popular Girl, is willing to take her and Piper's feud. Maybe it's because of the prologue that I felt for Piper the most, and that out of all four girls, I was rooting the hardest for her.
As for the other girls...I liked them, but I didn't really connect with them to a full extent. Each one of them was strong, independent, and good for some laughs. But like I said above, Piper was my favorite of the girls. Out of the boys, Lucas, Cassidy's love interest, was definitely my favorite, because he was the only one where I saw how great he was, rather than being told. Well, that's not true. It was obvious how great a guy Guiran, Mei's love interest, was, but he fell a little flat to me. Piper and Izzy both went on and on about how sweet and hott their guys were, but I couldn't really see it or feel it.
The way the perspective alternated between Piper, Cassidy, Izzy, and Mei wasn't particularly annoying or bothersome, because it was all very necessary, but it definitely made it difficult for me to fall for all of the characters and connect to them. In the beginning I also kept getting their background stories confused and I'd have problems following along with who is saying and doing what, but once I learned about the girls it was a lot easier.
I didn't like the way this novel ended. I know that some authors like to keep the ending open in order for the readers to make inferences about what happens, and that's fine. I didn't want an epilogue twenty years in the future, but I felt the ending of The International Kissing Club was unsatisfying. None of the major conflicts were really resolved. And I also didn't expect everybody to live la-dee-da-da happily ever after perfect lives, but it's like by the end, the girls were in the same position they started - only worse because they're friendship is being tested and some of their hearts have been broken.
Aside from those things, though, I did enjoy the novel. It was really cute and great for a good laugh! The writing was clear and sweet and snarky and I absolutely adored reading the posts on the IKC facebook page between chapters! The dialogue between the girls is hilarious because they don't take any crap from each other.
My favorite part of this story, though, was the power of friendship. Every girl craves the kind of friendship that these girls have, and some have even found it themselves. It's the kind of thing that makes my heart happy, as lame as that sounds.