Title: The Kiss Instructor
Author: V. Anton
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Published: November 19th 2012
Source: Provided by author via Goodreads.com group Making Connections YA Edition in exchange of honest review
For Alana Summer, ballet dancer and magnet for awkward moments, life is far from simple. She struggles with an alcoholic father and an abused mother. She vents her frustration through dancing
and spending time with her two best friends: Chris and the hot looking Adin.
She has been secretly in love with Adin for as long as she can remember and is pretty sure he feels something for her. So she concocts a plan to make him confess his feelings for her. But when one of her biggest fears come true, she is forced to leave the ones that keep her sane. Choosing between her family and her heart, she has to make tough decisions, even when the one she loves the most, loves her back.
Alana Summer is a ballet dancer. You’d think life would be easy for her, like on of those fairy tales. Not quite so. Having to live with an alcoholic father that abuses verbally of her mother, she liberates through her dancing. And her two best friends, Adin and Chris. Alana has been in love with Adin since childhood, but she’s never gotten the guts to say her true feelings to him, or the other way around because she’s very sure he feels the same towards her. Decided to give Adin a push, and to show him how she feels, she makes a plan: that he becomes her kiss instructor. When life starts to look more positive against the abuse of her father, she’s faced with having to abandon him for good. And Adin, and life as she knew it, to start again.
This is one of those stories that start with life being normal, or as normal as it could be. We have an insight of how Alana’s life is when she has a father that’s an alcoholic. This isn’t one of those stories that things seem unrealistic or of fantasy. No mean girls, boys, or anything like that. It’s a true story of how life can be for a teen with an abusing parent. But not only that. Adin’s father left him, so we have insight too of how women can go on in life to raise kids with a missing father, or the other way around. We have Chris’ parents that are married but those aren’t mentioned as Adin’s and Alana’s. I’d say this is a book to have in a list with The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a book I’d recommend to anyone going through a hard time when it comes to a having parents in a dysfunctional marriage, or would like to know a side of how it can be.
Alana is a very enjoyable character. Caring and funny, she stands for the ones she loves the most and herself. But even heroes need some help some time; Adin was always there for her, and Chris. She’s this strong person that even with the difficulties in life, she strives to give more for her and her mother, to not succumb to the sadness and frustration of living with her father brings.
The other characters were good, funny, comprehensive, and most of all, the important ones to Alana always stood by her side even if they were miles away. The one I loved the most was Adin. Even though we see him in some parts as the perfect gentleman, he has his faults that make him even more sighworthy.
Another thing I loved of this book were the descriptions of Puerto Rico. Half the story is located in Long Island, but the other half or so, Alana fins herself in Puerto Rico. The descriptions are so vivid, colorful, and amazing it makes me love my island more, to really appreciate its beauty.
“Today I have seen the greenest of mountains and the bluest ocean of water of all my life. Traveling on the roads of Puerto Rico is like watching a live slide show about nature. One minute you are seeing big mountains and in the next you are captured by a view of waves crashing on the shore.”
V. Anton takes the verbal abuse topic and domestic abuse, delivering it to the reader in the most vivid way. It was like I could feel what Alana was going through, though I can barely start to imagine how it would be to live with that all my life. But not all is of that. The story has its stages. After we see this abuse, how both daughter and mother leave for a better life, we see how life moves on if we really put our minds into it. It gives us hope, that we can’t always let ourselves in the ground and instead to stand up and face it. That there will come a moment when we have to say “enough”.
“In that second, I realized that in life you can’t take anything for granted. The good news is you can depend on your family and on good friends–that are usually few–to lean on them, to take a respite when your life seems to be running ahead of you, leaving your exhausted self behind.”
And now, a few quotes I really liked from the book–other than the ones above:
“People are like living encyclopedias, each about a unique and distinct world.”
“They showed me it’s okay to feel despair, to be angry with life, to feel fatigue. The important thing is not to succumb to those feelings. To not let them direct your life. You need to be able to see through them and stand like a victorious soldier after a battle. There are gonna be injuries but they will heal and when you see the scars you will feel proud because you are still there, stronger, ready for whatever life may put in your way.”
“Some say that life is like a game of chance–that you win or lose but when you have God on your side you will always win.”
“Your heart will always help you see hat your mind is too afraid of.”
Rating: 4.5 stars
Author: Goodreads Profile
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