Graphic Novel Review: Kiss Number 8

Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable, illustrated by Ellen T Crenshaw. First Second, 2019. 9781596437098. 314pp including a conversation between Venable and Crenshaw in the back.

At the beginning of the book, Mads (Amanda) kisses one of her best friends from church, and she kisses her back, which starts some very difficult times for Mads. Flash back to a month earlier where she’s hanging out with her friends Laura (quiet) and Cat (party girl), avoiding the affections of Laura’s hot younger brother Adam, and on the verge of finding out that her father has a secret (Mads suspects he’s had an affair, but it’s pretty clear she’s wrong). Mads and her dad are super close, so the whole situation is difficult for her and her family, though it does give Mads a chance to get to know her mom and others better.

It’s always hard to review a graphic novel with a plot built around a secret, but here’s what I’d want to know if I was buying this for my library: it’s LGBT-themed, has little nudity but conversations about off-page sex (plus drinking and a few swears), and it takes place in the past (flip phones instead of smart phones). I’d have let me daughter read it in middle school without me looking over her shoulder, and I think she’d still enjoy it in high school.


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