mmm...don't you just wish it was valentine's day so you can get like eight boxes of those sweethearts candy, not even to eat but to read every. single. one. of the messages trying to find (who knows what, the man of your dreams' number?) a new one. no? oh well. that's what i thought when i first saw the cover of after the kiss. and my second thought was "i'm about to dive into a delicious marshmallow pit of fluffy reading!" but that is not what happened. and although i am quite sad that i did not dive into a marshmallow pit (who doesn't want to do that?!) i thoroughly x a million enjoyed this novel (i also loved pure, you should check it out).
set in alternating points of view and poetry/poetic prose, the novel is about two girls camille and becca who are each inexplicably drawn in opposition over a kiss from a boy. a boy who happens to be becca's boyfriend. a kiss that was shared between camille and the boy (his name is alec but i hate him so hence forth he is "the boy"). the novel is beautifully told. both girls, besides sharing the lips of the same boy, have a whole crap load of other things going on in their lives. so self-discovery is a huge thing here. i love the idea of being a trapeze artist, jumping, and taking risks which the poetry refers to a lot.
the story is completely told though "dear diary" like poetry but without the "dear diary, let me tell you what happened today in gym class" simplicity that many diaries have (which, not to knock diary entries, is their purpose. this novel just sorts through the meaningless everyday play by plays-which also makes it more interesting for the reader).
let me share some quotes from this novel. they will take your breath away.
he is dynamite wrapped in a swirl of smoky cinnamon, clenched between lips that have take me home written all over them. his mouth is a complicated question, is something you should maybe avoid for your own good
as he pours over me-smothering me melting me
so I am liquid and lava too,
flowing with him spreading pushing surging seeing
nothing but orange-
orange orange orange orange orange
and those yellow dots that are the hot center of a flickering fire
We are burning everything in front of us.
is that not enough to get you to pick this book up? so becca breaks up with the boy after he kisses camille but camille just moved there and still has no idea that the boy even had a girlfriend. and every time becca sees camille (becca works in a coffeeshop that camille goes to often) she can't understand the nerve of that girl coming into the place where she works-almost taunting her. while becca is learning to cope with seeing camille (and not, well, ripping her head off), camille just thinks the boy is another asshole (which, he is) and is just plain confused. and actually, the most infuriating thing about this novel is waiting for the confrontation between camille and becca. but there really never is one. and it drove me nuts ("becca, she had no idea!!!") but it was quite brilliant. i love that mcvoy just doesn't give us what we want. she creates this situation with real friction and not everything resolves in a cookie-cutter like manner. again, which makes me angry, but i can truly respect that.
and while becca is trying to get over the boy, camille is learning that saying good-bye isn't always good-bye. moving from place to place frequently is hard on her (will she ever write back the guy she's in love with?) and we see her struggling with that throughout the book.
this novel was amazing. inspirational.
favorite character: the guy camille is in love with from chicago. i would totally date him, because, he's super hot and an artist. i fall for those guys.
favorite moment: i loved seeing becca grow. i felt wicked sympathy for her and was cheering her on the entire time. the moment she finally knows she's over the boy is empowering. i wish i was as awesome as her.
in conclusion, i wish this novel had more marshmallow-y goodness in it because i was really in the mood for marshmallows. but, nevertheless, it was beautiful and real.