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After the Kiss


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About the Author

Terra Elan McVoy has held a variety of jobs centered around reading and writing, from managing an independent children's bookstore, to teaching writing classes, and even answering fan mail for Captain Underpants. Terra lives and works in the same Atlanta neighborhood where her novels After the Kiss, Being Friends with Boys, and Pure are set. She is also the author of The Summer of Firsts and Lasts, Criminal (an Edgar Award nominee), and In Deep. To learn more, visit and follow Terra on Twitter at @TerraMcVoy.


McVoy's (Pure) roots are showing-in a good way. A love of language, literature, and the city of Atlanta, where she lives, pervades her sophomore novel, a thoughtfully wrought coming-of-age story. Camille, whose second-person narrative is light on punctuation and heavy on metaphor, has moved all over the country with her parents and is starting her final semester of high school in Atlanta. She tries to avoid creating attachments, but is having trouble getting over a boy in Chicago. Another senior, Becca, who tells her story in free verse, lives for her jock/poet boyfriend, Alec. Camille connects with and then kisses Alec at a party, unaware that he has a girlfriend. The aftershock of the kiss affects both girls, but this rich story also encompasses their struggles with family and friends, as well as their respective journeys of self-discovery. McVoy's prose is confident and adventurous- some of Becca's poems are styled after her favorite poets ("The only empress is the empress of gossip magazines")-and while not every stylistic gambit pays off, on the whole it's a fresh, observant story. Ages 14-up. (May) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

Gr 9 Up-Midway through senior year, Camille moves to Atlanta (her family's sixth move). She plans to simply go through the motions until she can escape to Europe after graduation. Meanwhile, at another school in town, Becca is jolted from the dreamlike state of her relationship with Alec when she gets in a fender bender and must find an after-school job to pay back her debt. The girls' lives collide when Camille meets Alec at a party, and, unaware that he is "taken," allows the haiku-spouting-but-athletic catcher to kiss her. At first blush, such a story line has the potential to play up every teen "mean girls" stereotype, yet McVoy elevates the narrative well above any predictable cat fight. Camille tells her side in stream-of-consciousness entries, while Becca speaks in free verse. The girls have distinct, believable voices, and the way in which they slowly become aware of one another rather than facing a direct confrontation shows that given different circumstances they might have been kindred spirits. Literary references and odes to famous poets pepper the pages. These are unobtrusive so that discerning readers will revel in their inclusion while others will skip over them but still enjoy the drama of the story. The result is a poignant tale of two girls on the brink of adulthood faced with real decisions about their future, who they want to be, and what role boys will play in their decisions.-Jill Heritage Maza, Greenwich High School, CT Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

"A love of language, literature, and the city of Atlanta, where [McVoy] lives, pervades her sophomore novel, a thoughtfully wrought coming-of-age story....McVoy's prose is confident and adventurous....A fresh, observant story."

--"Publishers Weekly"

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