Book Review: Kiss & Blog

Original 2007 cover
Original 2007 cover

Title: Kiss & Blog
Author: Alyson Noël
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (Macmillan)
Original publication in: 2007

This is the original paperback edition.

Date read: June 27th 2013

Winter and Sloane are best friends who have vowed to get into the popular crowd no matter what. They also have promised to each other that whoever gets in first will help the other cross the side. It turns out, Sloane isn’t keen on keeping her promise… so Winter decides to set up an anonymous blog spilling all of Sloane’s dirty secrets.

I feel like I have to strongly express that Kiss & Blog is not a very authentic novel. It belongs to the category ‘realistic fiction’ because technically, it all could happen. But especially the blog part… there is something that bugs me because Winter got too easily off the hook. You can’t reveal a person’s most intimate, embarrassing and personal details to the whole town (albeit unintentionally – but that’s a risk factor you have to take into account the minute you decide to go online) and just shrug it off and say “Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have done this, so I’ll say goodbye to the blog now.”

Look, we have Winter here, right? She’s the daughter of two divorced hippie parents (she still is, he isn’t), older sister to artistic and mini-hippie Autumn, a book-lover and sarcastic yet shy 15-year-old teenager. She’s also hypocritical because she criticizes and makes fun of the popular girls and their inane conversations, all the while secretly longing for the fame. She wants a make-over, a new wardrobe, a sense of coolness that awes people, yet she does not want to become one of those fake-laughing, image-checking so-called popular girls.
Winter reminds me of me a little. Only I don’t have a best friend (actually pretty glad after reading this book, for obvious reason), was more angsty and rebellious when I was sixteen and a whole lotta more insecure. And I had – still do – tighter and stricter conscience.

So I’d say Alyson Noël has managed to bring crazy-impulses-hormonal, doesn’t-make-sense, insecure-yet-here-I-am teenager to life pretty well.
What I’m more skeptical about is the fact that Winter practically destroyed Sloane’s life and yet isn’t that sorry. (Thirteen Reasons Why – private, personal details told by someone else other than the owner are deadly.) In this regard Kiss & Blog reads more like a Hollywood movie. There is intro, a Turning Point, turns and twists, and finally, the big smack down. The bitchy ex-best friend is now a social outcast, the main character is secure in her happiness, let’s throw popcorn!
I guess Alyson Noël maybe meant the book to be one of the light-hearted “chick lit” kinds. I personally wish she would have pushed more, I think she has the ability to strike that tone between realistic (by which I mean authentic) and humorous. Winter’s impulse trip to her dad and the Social Exile are indicative of that.
The Queen of the kind of authentic and unique voice that feels so real you can picture the whole surrounding places and people and events is E. Lockhart, especially her Ruby Oliver series. (So, to a lesser scale on funny, is Susane Colasanti.)  So if you were a bit let down by Kiss & Blog, I suggest you check out Lockhart’s books if you haven’t already.