Kiss Number 8 – Colleen A.F. Venable

Kiss Number 8 by Colleen A.F. Venable

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: March 12th, 2019
Publisher: First Second Books
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, LGBTQIA+, Friendship, Coming of Age, Family Drama


I should have known from the very beginning that this would be a VERY dramatic book, not a romantic comedy like I expected. Rom-com, really? That could not be farther from reality. After all, the cover itself is overly dramatic. Mads’s friend is whispering who-knows-what in her ear while she is blushing and holding a CROSS.

But I had to give it a chance because it’s a GRAPHIC NOVEL and it has LGBTQIA+ themes. That’s a combination that should have worked—after all, BLOOM by Kevin Panetta was absolutely lovely. But this was not lovely. Actually, I dare say it was kind of a mess and not a pretty one at all.

The author focused on too many things at once! There’s Mads’s sexuality and crush on her best friend Cat, which she doesn’t really understand and has no one to talk to about or so she thinks. There’s her relationship with her dad which is a love/hate one since he appears to be lying to her. There’s the mystery surrounding her grandparents. There’s her other friend who she’s not sure she even likes. There’s Adam who is in L-O-V-E with her and she couldn’t care less, and yet somehow it’s a source of stress for her because it forces her to face her own desires.

Boy oh boy. It’s as though the author wanted to write multiple different stories about different things but then suddenly decided to put all of those stories together to form just one. It’s HEAVY and DRAMATIC because there’s too much going on. The characters rarely take time to just calm down. It’s dramatic scene after dramatic scene.

I did find the illustrations cute and the characters three-dimensional, but as for the story… It wasn’t a winner for me.


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