Kisses for Lula by Samantha Mackintosh

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Kisses for Lula by Samantha Mackintosh

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Category: Teens
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: A warm and funny tale of a girl who is desperate to be kissed before she turns sixteen.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 360 Date: June 2010
Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd
ISBN: 978-1405249621

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Girls do worry, about all sorts of things. And one of the things they enjoy worrying about most is whether or not they are passing the milestones on life's journey at the same time as everyone else. The fact that they combine this with loud demands to be treated to be an individual is a major reason for stress-related hair-loss and gibbering in parents. Lula is no exception here. Her sixteenth birthday is approaching fast, and unless she gets kissed before then (by pretty well anyone: she's desperate) she is convinced she will be jinxed for life.

A lot of girls will wish they are Lula. She has interesting parents who are semi-famous and, being artistic, might even be seen as slightly 'cool', and she has the sort of freedom which will make a lot of her readers weak with envy. Not yet sixteen, she has her own car to take apart and play with in the cellar, her mother is warm and encouraging on the subject of boys, and by the end of the book she is living in an annexe of the house so she can come and go pretty much as she pleases.

Lula's problem is that she is seriously clumsy, and this, allied to the fact that her beloved grandmother was a white witch, leads to her reputation for being jinxed. It seems that every male who comes near her has some sort of accident, and once the rumour has been spread by a disgruntled boy, pretty well all the guys in her neighbourhood run a mile. When we join the book, she has a list of potential kissers, none of them particularly attractive, and a few short days in which to accomplish her goal.

There are a lot of plot-lines in this book, and it requires a little concentration to keep them all in one's mind. Her father is sick, and behaving strangely, and he makes secret phone calls to a woman called Freya. Important papers have been stolen from her mother's library, where Lula is working for the summer. Her grandmother's favourite spot is likely to be bulldozed. All her friends are away together, leaving her alone with her problems. Arnold, a boy she works with, needs her help with a makeover so he can attract the girl of his dreams. She believes someone is stalking her. Her younger sister is determined to get kissed before Lula's birthday to ensure the jinx does not spread to her. The boy she has fancied forever suddenly starts noticing her. Another boy hangs around, but seems rude and defensive. The list goes on, and to be honest the book is a little crowded, both with people and with plot, which means some scenes feel a little rushed. For example: Lula moves into the annexe, admittedly with the help of her sister, but the fact that she manages to clear, clean and repaint it, chase a humungous spider and even move all her belongings in, all in one day, and still find time to go on a big date, is a little breathtaking. This is a girl who would make millions if she went into the house-cleaning business.

But the tone of the book is light and funny, with just the correct amount of wryness, and Lula's self-deprecating humour is a pleasure to read. She gets things wrong, especially when it comes to family matters, which nicely balances her wide range of artistic and practical skills. She would be an amusing friend to have, and young readers will find this book a light, enjoyable summer holiday read.

Many thanks to Egmont for sending this book to Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion: Young teens who like to read books about girls going through the same crises and dramas they do, will also enjoy Planet Janet by Dyan Sheldon, and My So-called Life: The Tragically Normal Diary of Rachel Riley by Joanna Nadin.

Buy Kisses for Lula by Samantha Mackintosh at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Kisses for Lula by Samantha Mackintosh at

Buy Kisses for Lula by Samantha Mackintosh at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Kisses for Lula by Samantha Mackintosh at


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