When thinking of a favorite things post I could do for February I decided it would have to be kissing. I've already done couples and I was feeling in the mood to do something fluffy and Valentine's related. So kisses it is. I read more MG than YA, and the YA I read tends to not focus on romance so this was actually harder than I expected it to be though a few jumped into my head right away. (And one of my choices does actually come from a MG book. One is adult. Gasp!)
The actual scene from the book is quoted followed by my thoughts.
The king lifted a hand to her cheek and kissed her. It was not a kiss between strangers, not even a kiss between a bride and a groom. It was a kiss between a man and his wife, and when it was over, the king closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the hollow of the queen's shoulder, like a man seeking respite, like a man reaching home at the end of the day
.-The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
Turner doesn't write these scenes often but when she does she is, or course, brilliant at them. I love the way she describes it so that it is not detailed and we see it from the outside. She tells the reader (and the onlookers in the scene) so much about their relationship with this and uses few well placed words to do it.
The Proctor, stumping grimly past with averted eyes, reflected that Oxford was losing all sense of dignity. But what could he do? If Senior Members of the University chose to stand-it their gowns, too!-closely and passionately embracing in New College Lane right under the warden's windows, he was powerless to prevent it.
-Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers
This is another scene that is viewed from an outsider happening to see it. And you may be thinking I'm crazy, that there is nothing romantic about this at all. If you read these books you get it. Because it took so long to get to this point, three books and five fictional years. Long time. The scene that comes before this makes it even better, but it is excellent simply because it is Peter and Harriet and it does say "passionately".
And then we're both at that moment where you both go and get what you want or you both go back. The moment when you say, Stuff being scared; what's on the other side is better. That moment when you inch closer to each other little by little, till your skin starts and ends in the same place. Till your faces get so close your lips start and end in the same place, too. Till you taste milk shake and salt and sugar days and the world spins and the stars sound like harmonicas.
-A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley
I love this one because it is such a wonderful perfect description of everything a first kiss should be. And fits the voice of the narrator so well. As a reader you can't help up but be so happy for Charlie, that she has reached this moment and that it is as wonderful as it should be for her.
My heart pounds and I feel the tingle starting in my toes again. Jason drops his phone in the grass and uses the free hand to brush a fat, wet curl out of my eyes. His fingers brush my cheek and I feel that pull in my bell button that goes straight through to my spine. As he tucks the hair behind my ear, his hand cups my chin. It's surprisingly soft, and I nuzzle lightly against it. He leans down slightly then pulls back a bit. So many thoughts are whirling around in my head at once, I can't hold on to any of them. Is he-? Does he want to-? Do I want to-? Are we going to-? And then he's kissing me.
-Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Another romantic one. It's raining and they are laying-mostly in the mud-in a field in Stratford Upon Avon. What's so great about this scene to me is the surrounding action. I love everything about Julia and Jason. Their chemistry is great and this whole scene is one of my favorites. The field. The rain. The geese. And I love Julia's uncertainty and Jason's hesitancy as they are both still figuring things out at this point.
Suddenly, he yanks me against him and bends his head to kiss me. I melt into him as his fingers tangle in my wet hair. My mouth opens to his, and our tongues meet for the briefest instance before he pulls away. We stare at each other. I read dismay in his face, as if he can't believe he did such a thing.
-The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
There is a bit more swoony kissing scene than this in the book, but this is Hector and Elisa's first kiss. The one I had been waiting for since they met way back in book one, so this is the one that stands out to me, because it made me happy. Yet it's not the most romantic kiss ever. They are in a GARBAGE CHUTE running from the bad guys. Seriously. A garbage chute Hector? But that it was completely out of character for him is what makes it sort of wonderful.
And he's coming closer and closer and the way he's looking at me makes me think that I'm going to have the most romantic night in the history of my life. I open my mouth to say something and he sticks his tongue down my throat. We're in a corner, pashing, and I don't even know what's got me to this point. A look in the corridor? A flirt outside my nonna's house? All I know is that no one exists around us. I don't know whether we're kissing for five minutes or five hours and my mouth feels bruised, but I can't let go.
-Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
And speaking of unromantic first kisses...not so cool Will. Awkward. And yet I love it. Adele at Persnickety Snark brought this one up in a recent post about First Kisses and she perfectly explains why it works so well. Marchetta builds these characters that you feel like you know inside and out, and what she surrounds this less than romantic first kiss with makes it work. Frankie and Will being Frankie and Will make it perfect. Her, "Do that sober and I'll be impressed." that ends the encounter is the perfect closer and 100% Francesca. I have made no secret of how much I love these two. I know Will is not everyone's favorite but he's mine and I can't help but smile at this introverted, awkward, slightly lost boy and his complete lack of finesse in the face of a girl who throws his world into chaos and who he doesn't know what to do with. Their later conversation about it is also brilliant. Pretty much every encounter between them whether in Saving Francesca or The Piper's Son is brilliant in my opinion.
For one quick moment we both had the same agenda. I looked at him and he looked at me. Both of our heads moved forward. It must have been in slow motion, because i had a split second there to be reminded of Mr. Birkway's drawing of the two heads facing each other, with the vase in between. I wondered, just for an instant,if a vase could fit between us. If there had been a vase, we would have squashed it, because our heads moved completely together and our lips landed in the right place, which was on the other person's lips. It was a real kiss, and it did not taste like chicken. And then our heads moved slowly backward and we stared across the lawn, and I felt like the newly born horse who knows nothing but feels everything.
-Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
Here is our MG kiss. If all awkward first kisses experienced in middle school turned out so lovely it would be nice. Creech set this one up so well too. Knowing both Sal and Ben going in helps. I read this book with my 5th graders every year and every year when we got to this part the kids would all have the goofiest grins on their faces. Yes, even the boys.
There was a clatter as the basilisk fangs cascaded out of Hermione's arms. Running at Ron, she flung them around his neck and kissed him full on the mouth. Ron threw away the fangs and broomstick he was holding and responded with such enthusiasm that he lifted Hermione off her feet. "Is this the moment?" Harry asked weakly, and when nothing happened except Ron and Hermione gripped each other still more firmly and swayed on the spot, he raised his voice. "OI! There's a war going on here!"
-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
This scene. I had an issue with it, but still couldn't help but love it. Upon reflection I decided I still like it better than the movie version though. What I don't like is that the house elf comment sparked it. That was never my favorite plot line. BUT. It's Ron and Hermione. FINALLY!!! I love that Hermione initiates it and basically throws herself at him. And while Ron is gobsmacked he doesn't waste time responding and does it enthuiastically . Harry's reaction is great too.
What about you? Do you have a favorite? Or is all this kissing making you nauseous? Don't worry I'll be back to my usual non mushy self soon.