Kissing Tenessee: and Other Stories from the Stardust Dance
by Kathi Appelt
Published: April 1, 2004
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Mason and Carrie Marie can't get up the courage to ask each other to dance. Russ's girlfriend has died, and now he's just trying to live without her. Peggy Lee has grown up with Tennessee--how can she ever think of him as more than a friend?
In these moving tales and others, Kathi Appelt captures the sometimes amusing, sometimes touching missteps of some unforgettable students, who come together one last time for the most memorable night of their young lives.
I picked this up because really who can resist a bunch of stories centered on a dance? Okay, so lots of people. I however am not one of them. I was lucky enough that my junior high had dances every month in addition to the lunch time sock-hops the last Friday of every month (No, I didn't grow up in the 50's!).
I loved the idea of this book, and some of the story blurbs were exactly what I was looking for. That said, it just didn't deliver. I wanted drama, romance, fun, and a few tears. What I got was vague emotions from the characters, little to no character development, and a tiny little book with a large number of stories. I really feel that Appelt should have just focused on a few of the short stories and built them up enough to get the reader to actually care about what is happening. I can understand not wanting to turn everything into a novel, but even short stories need to have some character depth.
This would be a book I'd recommend for a tween with a short attention span.