Literature / Kiss

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How did your first kiss go?

He leaned forward a little. He had only to move a fraction more, angle his head sideways, and we would be kissing.

Kiss is a Jacqueline Wilson novel about a teenage girl named Sylvie and her lifelong best friend Carl, whom she has a crush on. However, Sylive's attraction to Carl hits a snag when Carl comes out as gay.


Provides Examples Of:

  • All Love Is Unrequited: The most cynical interpretation of the book. By the end you're left with almost all of the characters still struggling with feelings for someone they can't have. Jake has a crush on Sylvie, who is in love with Carl, who is infatuated with Paul, who has a thing for Miranda, who Sylvie wryly notes "doesn't love anyone".
  • Ambiguously Gay: Paul. He seems to be interested in Miranda and incredibly derogatory about gay guys, but Carl claims that when they kissed, Paul actually kissed him back for a moment and could be treating Carl so badly because he's also struggling with his sexuality in a very anti-gay all boys high school. Whether this is viable or just Carl being blinded by his feelings is left ambiguous.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: One interpretation of Paul's behaviour.
  • Betty and Veronica: Sylvie worries she and Miranda are this for Carl, with her as his loyal childhood friend and Miranda as the glamorous newcomer. Turns out, the Veronica she should have been worrying about was Paul.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: Carl and Sylvie made one, which Sylvie desperately hopes will follow through. The ending leaves it ambiguous as to how things will turn out - Carl tells her he'll always love her and they kiss, and Miranda points out they can still be together (even if they don't have sex), but Sylvie seems to be accepting nothing will happen.
  • Dark Feminine Light Feminine: Sophisticated, sexy Miranda and small, sweet Sylvie.
  • Disappeared Dad: Sylvie's dad who left her and her mum for another woman.
  • Gaydar: Jules and Mike suspected Carl was gay or bi, and Miranda picked up on it pretty quickly. Sylvie spends most of the book worrying about Carl liking Miranda, but admits to herself she isn't surprised when Carl comes out and was clearly repressing the possibility to keep her own hopes going. For the readers, Carl's crush on Paul is made obvious from the start.
  • Gayngst: Carl.
  • Good Bad Girl: Miranda, who delights in flouting authority, drinking underage and ditching school, but does turn out to be a loyal friend to Sylvie and Carl.
  • Good Parents: Mike and Jules, Carl's parents who handle Carl coming out sensitively and are also substitute parents to Sylvie.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Sylvie and Carl.
  • Jerkass: Paul Sylvie even wonders how Carl can love someone who treats him so badly.
  • Nice Guy/Nice Girl: Carl and Sylvie respectively.
  • Parental Neglect: Miranda's parents are barely around and hardly pay any attention to her, which explains a lot of her more extreme behaviour.
  • Platonic Life Partners or If It's You, It's Okay: The two different interpretations of the ending. The first is generally considered most plausible.
  • Second Love: Gerry, Sylvie's mum's new boyfriend is shaping up to be this for her, though it's still early days. The ending opens the possibility of Sylvie moving on from Carl though it's ambiguous. Jules also reassures Carl that he'll love again after Paul.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Gentle, artist Carl and boyish footballer Paul.
  • Shipper on Deck: A few characters support Carl/Sylvie, although most of them realise it's unlikely. Jules views Sylvie as a daughter, knows how much Sylvie loves Carl and admits the two of them getting together would be the simplest and happiest outcome for everyone. However, she's very supportive of Carl when he comes out and tells him she suspected it for a while. Miranda, after realizing how devastated Sylvie is about losing Carl, gives up on her own crush on him and encourages Sylvie that things might still work out.
    • At the end of the book Jules, Carl and Miranda all seem hopeful about the possibility of Sylvie/Jake.
  • Spin the Bottle: At Miranda's party.
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