She’s giving up boys forever… again!
Good old Wildfire, always good for a Valentine’s Day-themed title, right?
The Plot: Actually, this is not up to the imprint’s usual level of competent writing-meets-wacky-cover. In fact, there is so little going on in this story that whole chapters are padded out with things like descriptions of sorting magic markers in order to make it to 156 pages.
High school junior Lindsey (I don’t think she even gets a last name) is moping over her break up with Ross Jordani, who despite his hilarious 1980s hunk-name, seems like a real turd. Both Lindsey’s younger sister Trina and her best friend Blaine (who is a girl, not Andrew McCarthy) try to cheer her up by reminding her of this fact:
“Ross couldn’t be trusted. Look how he always treated me; a piece of dirt got more notice.”
“Remember when Piper was a brand new puppy and he fell asleep on Ross’s jacket? You’d have thought our poor baby basset hound did something much worse, the way Ross yelled.”
Lindsey is talked into joining the committee for the Spring Carnival to benefit the school’s mandatory Service Club, of which we are frequently reminded that every student is automatically enrolled in. Blaine seems to be scheming to get Lindsey together with Bill “The Spark” Stark, who is back in town for his senior year after an unexplained absence. Lindsey isn’t having it:
“Boys don’t want girlfriends, they want slaves. I won’t tolerate chauvinism. I’m now an independent woman.”
Lindsey gets her chance to do more speechifyin’ at the Carnival committee meeting, when she insists the students elect co-chairpersons and shouts down suggestions for a beauty contest.
Still, somehow she is talked into taking over the plans for the Kissing Booth, challenged by the prospects of creating one that involves zero kissing and will be approved by the school principal.
This puts her in the position of closely working with Bill, who immediately wins over Lindsey’s friends and family (and dog) by virtue of not being Ross Jordani.
Despite the fact that Ross Jordani has a new girlfriend (the totally un-liberated Ruthanne Kramer), he still sleazes around Lindsey every few chapters trying to win her back, including coming over to her house to ostensibly retrieve a photograph of himself to give to Ruthanne.
“You said no one was home. I only want to kiss you, babe. Then you’ll remember how good it was with us. Lindsey, we belong together. You belong to me.”
He looked at the photograph. It was hard to tell what he was thinking. “No. I think you should keep it a little longer, babe.” He handed it to her, then strolled back toward the door. “You’ll come back to me, Lindsey. I know it.”
In fact, the only thing that tops the gross-factor of Ross Jordani is 12-year old Trina’s crush on Rob Lowe:
“Look at this Lin. My absolutely favorite movie star.” Trina unrolled a poster of Rob Lowe. “Kelly got a new one and gave me this one.”
“What happened to his face?” Lindsey pointed to the red smudges.
“Oh, that.” Trina giggled. “Those are lip prints from Kelly kissing him.”
EWWWW! Who hangs up a used Rob Lowe poster in their room????
Lindsey finally comes up with a way to have a Kissing Booth that doesn’t involve kissing, which she keeps a secret from everyone, including Bill. There are still like 70 pages left to go in this book, so here is a description of the French fries at the local teen hangout:
Frannie’s french fries were the best- long, thin, hot and salty.
Carnival Day finally (FINALLY!) rolls around and Lindsey shows up with signs reading “KISSES FOR SALE! BUY KISSES! GET A FREE HUG! Donation: $1.00”
Of course it turns out that behind the curtain you get a pouch of HERSHEY’S KISSES for your dollar, which greatly disappoints the first person in line, who is the grown-ass adult man who waited on Lindsey and Bill at the hardware store:
She handed him a small plastic bag filled with candy kisses.
“Oh, ho,” he said. “Pretty tricky.”
“No sweeter kisses anywhere,” Lindsey said.
“All right.” He sounded disappointed.
“And for being such a good sport, you get a hug.”
“Now that was worth a buck. I may get back in line.” He winked at Lindsey.
Ewww! Why is everything so inappropriate!?!
Lindsey tells Ross Jordani off for good and starts dating Bill. The end.
Sign It Was Written in 1985 Department:
“He doesn’t sound like a boy; he sounds like a man. In fact, if I didn’t love that dreamy movie star Rob Lowe so much, I might flirt with Bill tonight when he comes to pick you up.”
Attention To Detail Department: Wildfire admirably shunned stock photography for the cover: both Lindsey’s outfit and the sign on the booth are exactly as described in the book.