Guest Review: Kiss the Morning Star by Elissa Janine Hoole

Release Date: May 15, 2012

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Age Group: High School

The summer after high-school graduation, a year after her mother’s tragic death, Anna has no plans – beyond her need to put a lot of miles between herself and the past. With forever friend Kat, a battered copy of Kerouac’s DHARMA BUMS, and a car with a dodgy oil filter, the girls set out on an epic road trip across the USA. Maybe somewhere along the way they’ll prove or disprove the existence of God. Maybe they’ll even get laid . . . It’s a journey both outward and inward. Through the Badlands and encounters with predatory men and buffalo. A crazy bus ride to Mexico with a bunch of hymn-singing missionaries. Facing death, naked in the forest with an enraged grizzly bear . . . Gradually, Anna realizes that this is a voyage of discovery into her own self, her own silent pain – and into the tangled history that she and Kat share. What is love? What is sexual identity? And how do you find a way forward into a new future – a way to declare openly and without fear all that lies within you? 

Jennifer is one of my greatest blogger friends, and just recently stopped blogging. I like to joke that she is my "virtual twin" because we both dance, read/blog, and have twins. I wish she lived in Tampa, but we email all the time! She's also a fantastic reviewer, and when she stopped blogging, I asked her if she would like to do a few guest reviews on my blog occasionally. She's also on Twitter, tweeting under the name @dancingreader, so go say hi!Today, Jennifer is reviewing KISS THE MORNING STAR by Elissa Janine Hoole.

Jennifer's Review:

I think I might have expected too much out of this book.

Let me explain. 
Prior to reading Kiss the Morning Star, I found out that it was a road trip book. I was like, "HECK YES GIMME THAT BOOK". I absolutely ADORED Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, which is also about a road trip. I just had to read this one. I read the synopsis and it sounded like a fun, self-realization type of read. It turned out to be kind of theopposite, in fact. It was, yes, a self-realization type of read, but it was also way-over-the-top religious (for the first half of the book), and a bit depressing. Kiss the Morning Star gave me something that I unexpected, which turned out to be something I didn't enjoy, because of multiple reasons.
First, the plot. Anna's mother recently died in a fire, and she is still getting over the fact that her mother has left theearth. Anna's best friend Katy, (Kat,Katherine, whatever you want to call her) decides to go on a road trip with Anna to find God's faith. Why? Because Anna lost faith in God after her mother's death. So Katy uses DHARMA BUMS to decide where in America they're traveling to next. The story kicks off from there. Throughout their journey, many unfortunate events occur and they meet good and bad people. Alright, the first half of the book made sense. They're on a road trip to find answers from God. But then all of a sudden, the second half of the book was all about Anna & Katy's relationship, how they start like-liking each other and all. The whole point of the road trip, the whole religious aspect, is pretty much forgotten. I was all, "What?". The main point of the story sort of just wandered off into theunknown. For me, the plot was all over the place. The series of events that happened were random as well. It didn't flow together, at all.
Another problem I had was with the characters. Anna was supposed to be recovering from the grief of her mother's death throughout the story. She is weak, and keeps to herself. Three quarters into the book, she is still weak, and still keeps to herself. I felt like she never slowly progressed into recovery. It wasn't until the VERY END that she is suddenly alright. LIKE BAM. Correct me if I'm wrong but.. aren't people supposed to recover with gradual progression? Then there was Anna and Katy's relationship. It was.. awkward. I mean I understand how they are transitioning from best friends to a couple, but...they never agreed on anything, and Anna was never honest with Katy. There were so many secrets that were hidden, that I felt like their relationship was never THERE. Goodness, I just didn't feel it.
Also the DHARMA BUMS book--I got a little annoyed with it. It seemed super random that they would use that as a way to decide where in America to go next. I never really understand the reasoning behind it. 
The only thing that kept me reading was Elissa's writing. I do have to say that I loved it. The descriptions and metaphors, I did adore those. 
All in all, Kiss the Morning Star was a big letdown for me. I expected so much more out of it, and just didn't get what I wanted. 

Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer! If you're interested in reading any more of Jennifer's reviews, check out The Perks of Being a Wallflower on my blog, or check out her old blog, The Dancing Reader.