A girl's gotta do who a girl's gotta do.
Chastity Bryan has never been shy about going after what she wants. And when sexy, mysterious, so-not-from-this-town Sebastian walks into Chaz's life, she knows in an instant that what she wants next is him. Chaz has no intention of playing for keeps—but she most definitely has intentions. Who needs true love when you've got true lust?
Sebastian has no idea what he's in for—but maybe neither does Chaz?
OPINION: 5 STARS
Promiscuous while still emotional and in depth, Kiss It is a hilarious journey of one girl to lose her virginity. Born and raised in a very small town with few options, Chastity battles against her hormones while still wanting to at least have her first be something other than simply giving it up. The small town setting comes through strongly, as does Chastity’s mentality and personality that is partly spurred from it.
Chastity is an entertaining, rich character and very focused on all things sex. From fantasies at random times to a strong determination to find the right boy- given her options- to lose it with, she spends much of her time thinking about sex. While it’s true not all teenagers are completely focused on sex, some are and Chastity falls in the latter category. The fact that her best friend, who has been in a steady relationship for two years, is now sexually active only fuels her drive, and the differences between the two add a fantastic element to the story. Despite the sex preoccupation, Chastity is still a girl with dreams and a mature mindset, wanting to get out of her town and considers things as much as she can given her age. Despite her disagreements with them, her love for her parents- especially her father- comes across strongly and helps build her overall personality.
Despite her interactions with the people in her town, the majority of the plot is driven by Chaz herself, particularly after Sebastian shows up. Spending his Christmas vacation with his father, Sebastian seems to instantly be exactly what Chaz is looking for in the person to take her virginity. Despite how platonic Chaz imagines things to be, there is a certain spark between the two from the start even with Sebastian’s resistance. Her determination to get him- and his determination to spare her from his own sordid past- launch an interesting tension between the two. Sebastian is a bold, mysterious character and he provides intrigue for both Chaz and the reader.
The plot moves at a pretty steady pace with several other elements, arcs and twists thrown in. Downing does a noteworthy job tying several different events together and creating a strong story line with it. While some of the twists were predictable, others were not and this all happened in the midst of Chaz finding other ways, besides Sebastian, to get rid of her virginity. Her plight is both amusing and understandable and the way things play out are logical and engaging. While there is a lot of talk of sex and sex related acts, it isn’t brash or needlessly included.
As the other plot twists and story arcs progress, Chaz must learn to see a bigger picture and extend her world. There is a wide cast of characters, many of them comical and playing into the story line perfectly. The final ending is very understandable for the story and leaves the reader in a good place, tying most things up while still leaving a few lingering questions to ensure the reader doesn’t close the book and simply forget the story.
The writing is witty and brings Chaz’s personality out, also keeping the plot going. Many of the characters- not only Chaz- develop throughout and tie together in surprising ways. Downing inserts a surprising level of depth not immediately expected based on the premise, making this book even more memorable over all. Bold and well developed characters, an overall satisfying ending, a hilarious premise, in depth plot and deeper events and final implications combine to make Kiss It a great summer read.