Split by a Kiss by Luisa Plaja - When her mother gets a job in the USA, Jo goes with her. It’s America, of course she’s going! But what she doesn’t expect is to become two different people. During a game of seven minutes in heaven, Jo is picked by the hottest guy in school, and something weird happens while they’re in the closet; Jo is at a fork in the road and can take two paths – so she splits, and takes both. Josie the Cool, friends with the it girls and girlfriend of Jake Matthews, and Jo the Nerd, social outcast and friends with the “freaks” live very separate lives, but will they manage to become one person again?
W-o-w! Well, if I loved Luisa’s other book, Extreme Kissing, then I adored Split by a Kiss! I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this book, or how annoyed with myself I am that I read the whole book so quickly! It was too good!
Compared to Extreme Kissing, I would say Split by a Kiss is a more grown up book, with more references to sex, but also in the issues covered; friendship, loyalty, and most importantly, being true to yourself. I enjoyed this book for several reasons, but one of the main ones was that I related to Jo so much – not in what she does, or experiences, but in how she feels, and what she likes. I was Jo the Nerd at school, I knew exactly how she felt like a loner, and more, like not wearing make-up much, and not wearing designer clothes (on principle mostly, they cost far too much!). But unlike this Jo, I never tried to fit in. Jo does try, and she tries real hard, and as upsetting as it is to read, she learns invaluable lessons along the way.
What was great about this book, also, was how believable Luisa’s writing was, because it was spot on. I have this preconceived idea that American authors write “American” books, and British authors write “British” books, but aren’t able to do the other. Luisa corrected my thought. The teenagers in this book are just as American as they are in books by American authors. There’s no over use of cheesy, stereotypical American phrases, or any stereotypes, but Jo sticks out for being British. I suppose it helps that Luisa has actually lived in America.
This book would make a great film; think Mean Girls or perhaps Never Been Kissed, but with a British girl. I’ve never seen it, but I’ve always been told I would like Sliding Doors, and from what I’ve heard of it, Split by a Kiss is like that two – but at school.
I love how Jo talks about the differences between America and the UK, from language right down to plug sockets. It was cute. I also loved the fact that a band was involved; put a band or a musician in a book, and I am going to love it – guys with musical talent? I’m sold.
What I loved most though, was what Jo learnt about herself; who she is, what she wants, and forgetting about everyone else. Both paths Jo takes have their fair amount of problems, and the ending of the book, how the story was resolved, was just awesome!
There’s one thing about the book I’m not so keen on though; the cover. It’s cute, it’s girly, it implies a fluffy, cute story for the younger end of the YA range. In my opinion, I think it’s a cover that would be overlooked by older teenagers, which would be a terrible mistake. There is so much more to this book, and so much any reader could get out of it, and I think the cover overlooks all this.
However, Split by a Kiss is a truly amazing book, and I am so glad there is going to be a sequel! I can’t wait to find out what happens with Jo next!
Thank you to Luisa Plaja for sending me a review copy.
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Luisa Plaja’s Website