Saturday, March 5, 2011

Is Kissing A Girl Who Smokes Like Licking An Ashtray?

This novel by Randy Powell is one of my favorites and probably a book that I have re-read more than any others. When I first picked up this book at age 17, I was instantly drawn in. I related so much to the characters and everything about it. I think it has been a big influence on the graphic novel I am currently working on.

Here is a brief summary of the book:

Biff is a pinball addict who has had an overwhelming crush on Tommie for 23 months. He is 18, but looks like he is 14, and his High School career is about to come to a close without ever having gone on a date. He seems to be making some progress with Tommie, but can't get up the nerve to actually ask her out. And he's still uncertain about what he is going to do after High School. Will it be working at his sister's gas station or attending the local community college? Either way, his enthusiasm is lacking…wouldn't life be so much better if only he was able to share it with a girl?

Over Spring break, Biff wants to get his head straight by taking a hike up into the mountains. In his search to find a book on secret hikes, he ends up meeting a rebellious chain-smoking 16 year old. Heidi is thinking about dropping out of school. Or maybe moving into her burnt-out father's trailer. At first, Biff and Heidi don't get along at all. She thinks he's weird and he thinks she is flakey. But while hanging out at a local diner after midnight and taking long drives together, the two begin to grow fond of each other. And suddenly, Biff begins to realize that his love for Tommie may not mean the end of the world.

Randy Powell writes realistic, somewhat low-key stories about teenagers living in Seattle. His novels often have athletics as a background element, but these aren't really sports novels at all. Instead, Powell writes honestly about relationships. His characters are often confused about what to do with their lives. But far from being the cliché YA novel, there are few major epiphanies. Instead, this writer wisely allows the reader to draw his or her own conclusions and the result is always rewarding.

I'll read anything Randy Powell writes. Is Kissing A Girl Who Smokes Like Licking An's a classic YA novel. Thanks Randy!

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