Kiss Number 8 (Paperback)
Kiss Number 8 deals with a lot of difficult topics including transphobia, homophobia, understanding sexuality, and religion. Mads is a teenager living in a small Christian town who attempts to reconcile her identity with a complex family past, her religion, and her friendships. Mads has had seven kisses thus far, and none of them have been very good. After nursing a crush on her best friend Cat and a confusing 8th kiss, Mads is left questioning herself and those around her. I feel that the author did a good job of balancing these heavy topics with a well-paced story, convincing characters, and amazing artwork. Understanding your sexuality can be a difficult task, especially when surrounded by those who may not support you, and this book did amazing job of showing how truly complex it can be. Mads was a very strong and well developed main character, and it was very easy to empathize with her and her struggles. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good graphic novel, or a story featuring realistic trans, gay, and questioning characters, especially understanding all of this through the eyes of a teenager.— Nava K., Tattered Cover Teen Advisory Board member
A 2019 New York Public Library Best Books for Kids
A 2020 Tayshas Reading List Selection
A 2020 Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List Selection
Mads is pretty happy with her life. She goes to church with her family, and minor league baseball games with her dad. She goofs off with her best friend Cat, and has thus far managed to avoid getting kissed by Adam, the boy next door. It's everything she hoped high school would be… until all of a sudden, it's not.
Her dad is hiding something big—so big it could tear her family apart. And that’s just the beginning of her problems: Mads is starting to figure out that she doesn't want to kiss Adam… because the only person she wants to kiss is Cat.
Kiss Number 8, a graphic novel from writer Colleen AF Venable and illustrator Ellen T. Crenshaw, is a layered, funny, sharp-edged story of teen sexuality and family secrets.
Colleen AF Venable is an author, designer, and maker. Her books include the YA graphic novel Kiss Number 8 (illustrated by Ellen T. Crenshaw), the quirky counting boardbook One More Wheel (illustrated by Blythe Russo). Her graphic novel series Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye (illustrated by Stephanie Yue) was nominated for an Eisner for Best Publication for Kids and awarded “Best Book” recognition from Kirkus Reviews, NYPL, Bank Street, and the Junior Library Guild. In 2017 she was named a Publisher's Weekly StarWatch Top 5 Finalist.
"Venable’s frequently heartbreaking recollection of the abuse and torment that people went through for being 'different' — and the fact that it still happens all too frequently — is a powerful reminder of how far we still have to go." —New York Times
"[This is] a story of family and friendship and love in all its forms, perfect for the graphic novel format and elevated by the combined art and narrative...the characters shine, fully human and permitted to be flawed. Hope prevails. A rare blend of tender and revolutionary." —Kirkus, Starred Review
"Thought-provoking... A solid addition to YA shelves." —School Library Journal
"The interest here is in comparing GLBTQ experiences across a gap of generations—it was difficult then, it can be difficult still, but there’s a promise of genuine happiness that makes following the heart worthwhile." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books