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  • Confessions of a Serial Kisser
  • Written by Wendelin Van Draanen
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Written by Wendelin Van DraanenAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Wendelin Van Draanen

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On Sale: May 13, 2008
Pages: | ISBN: 978-0-375-84992-3
Published by : Knopf Books for Young Readers RH Childrens Books
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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

EVANGELINE LOGAN WANTS a kiss. A spectacular, heart-stopping, life changing kiss. Somehow The Crimson Kiss (a romance novel she’s become obsessed with) and Four Steps to Living Your Fantasy (a self-help book she’s reading) have fused in Evangeline’s mind and sent her on a quest for a kiss. But the path to perfection is paved with many bad kisses—the smash mouth, the ear licker, the “misser.” The phrase “I don’t kiss and tell” means nothing to the boys in her school. And worse: someone starts writing her name and number on bathroom walls. And worst of all: the boy she's just kissed turns out to be her best friend’s new crush. Kissing turns out to be way more complicated than the romance novels would have you believe . . .


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

1

Dirty Laundry

My name is Evangeline Bianca Logan, and I am a serial kisser.

I haven’t always been a serial kisser. There was a time not that long ago when I had next to no kissing experience. It’s interesting how things can change so fast—how you can go from being sixteen with very few lip-locking credentials to being barely seventeen and a certified serial kisser.

It all started one day with dirty laundry.

At least that’s what I trace it back to.

My mother had said, “Evangeline, please. I could really use some help around the house.” She’d looked so tired, and what with homework and the amount of time I’d been wasting at Groove Records looking through old LPs and CDs, I had been slacking. Especially compared to the hours she’d been working.

So after school the next day I kicked into gear. I had the condo to myself because Mom was working her usual eleven a.m. to eight p.m. shift, and since my taste in music is old blues and classic rock (probably thanks to being bombarded with it since my early days in the womb), I selected an Aerosmith greatest hits CD and cranked it up.

I made the kitchen spotless during “Mama Kin,” “Dream On,” “Same Old Song and Dance,” and “Seasons of Wither,” sang along with “Walk This Way” and “Sweet Emotion” while I cleaned the bathroom, then tidied the bedrooms through “Last Child” and “Back in the Saddle.”

It was during the pulsing beat of “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” that I began my fateful search for wayward laundry.

Laundry at the Logan girls’ residence isn’t found in hampers. It’s found on the floor, draped over chairs, putrefying in boxes and baskets . . . it’s anywhere my mom and I want to dump it. And in my rocked-out state I was checking for laundry in places I’d never looked before. Like on her closet floor, behind and between the big packing boxes that still serve as my mother’s dresser, and then under my mother’s bed. It was there that I discovered one dusty sock and a whole library of books.

Not just random books, either.

Romance books.

At first all I could do was gawk at the covers. I’d seen these kinds of books at the grocery store, but they were so obviously stupid and trashy that I wouldn’t be caught dead actually looking at one.

But now here I was with a whole library of trash in front of me and no worries that someone might spot me.

So as strains of “Angel” began playing, I looked!

I checked out all the covers, then started reading the blurbs on the backs. Aerosmith eventually quit playing, but I didn’t even notice. I was skimming pages, laughing at the ridiculous, flowery prose, my jaw literally dropping as I read (in great detail) how one book’s chisel-chested man and his luscious lady “joined souls in sublime adoration.”

I couldn’t believe what I’d found. Couldn’t believe my mother! While I was slogging through The Last of the Mohicans and The Red Badge of Courage for my insane literature teacher, Miss Ryder, my mother was reading books with bare-chested men and swooning women? Miss Ryder would have an English-lit fit over these books, and for once I’d agree with her!

But for each book I put down, I picked up another. And another. And another. Why, I don’t know. Was I looking for more soul joining? I don’t think so. Something to hold over my mother’s head? She didn’t need any more ravaging. I think it was more that I was still in shock over my mom being a closet romance freak.

But after ten pages out of the middle of a book called A Crimson Kiss, something weird happened: I actually kind of cared about Delilah, the woman that the story was about.

I read some more out of the middle, but since I didn’t get why Delilah was in her predicament, I went back to the beginning to figure it out.

I have no idea where the time went. I was carried away by the story, swept into the swirl of romance, racing hearts, anticipation, and love. They were things that were missing in my real life. After six months of watching my parents’ marriage implode, I found it hard to believe in true love.

But inside the pages of this book my parents’ problems vanished. It was just Delilah and her hero, Grayson—a man whose kiss would save her from her heartache and make her feel alive.

Love felt possible.

One kiss—the right kiss—could conquer all!

So I read on, devouring the book until I was jolted back to reality by my mother jangling through the front door.

Busted!

In my panic, it didn’t even occur to me that she was really the one busted. I just shoved her books back under her bed and escaped to my room with A Crimson Kiss.


From the Hardcover edition.
Wendelin Van Draanen

About Wendelin Van Draanen

Wendelin Van Draanen - Confessions of a Serial Kisser
Books have always been a part of Wendelin Van Draanen’s life. Her mother taught her to read at an early age, and she has fond memories of story time with her father, when she and her brothers would cuddle up around him and listen to him read stories.
 
Growing up, Van Draanen was a tomboy who loved to be outside chasing down adventure. She did not decide that she wanted to be an author until she was an adult. When she tried her hand at writing a screenplay about a family tragedy, she found the process quite cathartic and from that experience, turned to writing novels for adults. She soon stumbled upon the joys of writing for children.
 
Feedback from her readers is Van Draanen’s greatest reward for writing. “One girl came up to me and told me I changed her life. It doesn't get any better than that,” she said. Van Draanen hopes to leave her readers with a sense that they have the ability to steer their own destiny—that individuality is a strength, and that where there's a will, there's most certainly a way.
 
Her first book was published in 1997, and since then her titles have won many awards. Now in its sixteenth installment, the Sammy Keyes Mysteries have been nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Children’s Mystery five times, with Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief bringing home the statue. Additionally, she has won the Christopher medal for Shredderman: Secret Identity, the California Young Reader Medal for Flipped, and the Schneider Family Book Award for The Running Dream. Her books have been translated into many foreign languages, Shredderman became a Nickelodeon made-for-TV movie, and Flipped was released as a feature film, directed by Rob Reiner. She lives in California with her husband and two sons. Her hobbies include the “Three R’s”: Reading, Running and Rock ’n’ Roll. 
 
Fun Facts
Born January 6 in Chicago, IL 
 
Previous Jobs
Forklift driver, coach (sports), musician, high school math and computer science teacher 
 
Inspiration for writing
The past, the future, and the struggle for a happy ending!
 
Favorites
. . . food: sushi
. . . clothes to wear: Sneakers, shorts, and sweatshirts
. . . colors: Emerald green with a splash of midnight blue

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