Posted on Friday, July 27, 2012. By Toni V. Sweeney
Emily Stokes is a senior in high school. She has a little sister, her mother’s a probation officer and her father runs a gun shop in Topkea. She’s fairly popular, has friends, a boy she likes—Alex—and the Prom’s coming up…and her father has just ruined her life. Dad has just announced they’re moving and that’s it. Then Alex doesn’t ask Emily to the Prom and that deals the finishing blow. It seems Alex has problems no one knows about and he’s hiding them well. Nevertheless, he cares for Emily and on the day she leaves, he gets up enough courage to tell her how he feels…too late.
While strolling in the woods near her new home, Emily falls and strikes her head and shortly afterward, meets Sam, a young farmer. They hit it off. Sam’s handsome, intelligent, and barely out of his teens, and though he’s a little cautious because of their bare age difference, he appears to like Emily as much as she likes him. He tells Emily about himself but most of it is revealed in a guarded way. In the meantime, Alex is getting into drugs, and his frantic texts to Emily are ignored. When Emily tries to take her friends to meet Sam, however, his farm appears to be nothing but a deserted patch of land. Since no one has seen Sam but Emily and his home doesn’t exist, Emily’s parents believe she’s having hallucinations brought on by hitting her head. Taken to a hospital for observation, she falls into the hands of a doctor who epitomizes the words “Mad Scientist.”
Now Emily’s in big trouble, and headed for worse if Dr. Kendall has any say in the matter…
In the meantime, Alex is deep into drugs and getting worse…
And little sister Kat decides it’s up to her to find Sam and save Emily…
…and the truth about Sam Easley is finally revealed…
MY OPINION: This is a novel which is a bit difficult to synopsize because there are so many Spoilers involved. It is, however, thoroughly enjoyable, and, in spite of its abrupt ending—or perhaps because of it—will make the reader want to know more.
At first glance, A Kiss for Emily appears to be simply a YA romance…girl likes boy, girl moves away, boy becomes despondent… but with Sam Easley’s appearance, it changes. Emily’s almost mystical description of him immediately sends out signals that this young man isn’t exactly what he appears to be but he’s so likable one hopes he isn’t going to be the villain. My impression of Sam, with his “courtly manners” and genteel way of speaking, is of a very young “Bill” from True Blood, without the vampire characteristics. (Got to stop there or here comes Spoiler #1.) Sam is such a contrast to poor Alex, who obviously has a horrid home life and seeks drugs to ease his losing Emily for whom he cares deeply though he can’t seem to be able to tell her properly.
Emily is shown to be a resourceful, intelligent young woman suddenly thrown into confusion as she begins to learn the truth about Sam. Her parents are shown as loving and caring for their daughter, though I did question the way they left her in the hands of a doctor so obviously intending her harm.
This was an enjoyable book, fraught with teenage angst and something deeper hovering on the edges. Writing from Emily’s POV gives it a perspective it wouldn’t otherwise have. It’s a love story of a slightly different kind…of a young woman seeking that first kiss from the young man she loves, but finding much more in its place. After Sam’s identity is discovered, it almost becomes a comedy, but the seriousness of his situation continues to come through (another Spoiler in place). Because Alex is mentioned early on and seems to be such an important character, only to disappear except for a few cryptic paragraphs after Emily leaves Topeka, I wondered what was going to happen to that budding relationship. I was a little off-put by Emily’s callous ignoring of his obvious calling out for help, however.
Since this is only Book 1, I’m already looking forward to Book 2. This series has a lot going for it in the way of plot, and the characters are likable and definitely ones the reader can care about. I’m already building my own scenario of how this threesome, which isn’t really yet, is going to come to terms with itself and create an HEA for Alex, Sam, and Emily.
Rating: 5 stars
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