Love and Kisses by Jean Ure
|Love and Kisses by Jean Ure|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: An excellent book about first love with characters you warm to and a great plot. Highly recommended for girls in the eleven plus age group.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 192||Date: April 2009|
|Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Tamsin and Katie were just thirteen and worried that they were boring. They'd been best friends since forever and were the good girls. Neither missed school, skipped her homework nor had boyfriends. Well, that is, not so far. Up until then Tamsin had been the boffin head – consistently strong academically and looking forward to going on to university. All that seemed to change when she met Alex. Well, when I say 'met' I should perhaps clarify and say that Alex pushed his wheelbarrow into her, from the building site where he worked. Oh, and did I mention that he was seventeen, Polish and spoke very little English?
Tamsin's parents were both actors and generally quite laid-back about what Tamsin and her sister Ellie did, but the fact that Tamsin chose not to tell them about Alex meant that she knew they wouldn't approve. And so began the lies, the flimsy excuses and the evasions. It's not just her parents who are being lied to either. She tells Alex that she's nearly sixteen. She's less than honest with her sister and then manipulates Katie into lying to cover her absences from home. And the standard of her school work plummets.
Jean Ure captures first love perfectly. There's the sudden onset, the obsession and the need to spend every possible moment with the loved one, no matter what the risks. No one else matters and when her parents find out – as they inevitably do – it's they who are being unreasonable. The charming, gentle daughter turns into a vituperative teenager prepared to hurl any accusation or sour remark at them in an attempt to get her own way. And then there's the planning for how she and Alex can escape together…
Tamsin might sound as though she's a right little madam, but she's not. She's a young girl caught in her first experience of love. You know that she's wrong and that she's running some ridiculous risks but you want her to come through it unscathed. The great strength of the book for tweenagers (or possible weakness if the book was aimed at an older market) is that Alex is a gentleman in the best sense of the word. He does genuinely feel for Tamsin and has a strong code of ethics.
The pages turn themselves in this book. Even a jaded reviewer like me couldn't wait to find out what happened to Tamsin and Alex and I finished Love and Kisses in one sitting. For girls in the eleven plus age group it's going to be a story they'll read many times.
I'd like to thank Jean Ure for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If this book appeals then you might also like to have a look at Perfect Girl by Mary Hogan.
You can read more book reviews or buy Love and Kisses by Jean Ure at Amazon.com.
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