Synopses & Reviews
Senior year is flying by, the prom is approaching, and Dana, her best friend, Avra, and Avras boyfriend, Emil, are about to encounter the pains and pleasures of that intricate beehive called adult life. While Dana plans on college, Avra plots escape once school is over—and plans to take Emil along for the ride. What does Emil want? Hes not saying. Dana studies bees for a biology project, fascinated by their habits and their mythological imagery - but in real life, emotions can sting, and while twos company, these three may just become a crowd. As Dana reminds us, in every hive there is only one queen bee.
With remarkably textured language and a distinctive heroine, Kissing the Bee is a novel of rare depth and stark honesty that will draw readers in from the very first page. Kissing the Bee is a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
"Koja (Buddha Boy) incorporates facts and folklore about bees as a metaphor in this spare and haunting novel. As the last few weeks of senior year unwind, Dana completes her bee research for a biology project, and draws comparisons for readers: 'The one fact everyone knows about bees there is only one queen. Which in our little three-person hive was Avra.' Most people think Avra and Dana are best friends, but Dana knows otherwise; Avra stays focused on herself and demands Dana's full attention, too. 'She was basically what I did,' Dana admits to herself. But who is really the 'queen bee'? When Dana falls for Emil but Avra cements a relationship with him, the relationship grows increasingly complicated and, once Emil kisses Dana, it can no longer survive. Koja's timing is perfect as she builds the sexual tension between Dana and Emil.Her understated, tightly focused language evokes vivid scenes and heady emotions. Almost without the audience's awareness, the author sketches the characters' family histories Dana's widowed mother, Avra's perfect older sister and overinvolved mom and even-tempered father each line of dialogue, each interaction illuminating struggles that readers face as well. Ages 14-up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“Captures first loves exquisite, earth-shattering joy and the struggle and thrill that come with claiming ones own life.”—Starred, Booklist
“Her understated, tightly focused language evokes vivid scenes and heady emotions...each line of dialogue, each interaction illuminating struggles that readers face as well.” — Starred, Publisher's Weekly
“Teens who have suffered their own stings will appreciate Koja's honest and hopeful rendering.” —Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“...a short but rich psychological exploration of the intense complexities of frienship and love in a teen world.” —School Library Journal
“This is a beautiful novel about relationships.” —Publishers Weekly, ShelfTalker
“Readers will find it hard to pry themselves away from this brilliantly written story...A must read for young romantics.” —IRA
Featuring remarkably textured language and a distinctive heroine, this novel of rare depth and stark honesty follows three high school seniors who are about to encounter the pains and pleasures of that intricate beehive called adult life.
About the Author
KATHE KOJA is the author of several notable books for young adults, including The Blue Mirror and Buddha Boy, both ALA Best Books for Young Adults, and, most recently, Going Under. She lives near Detroit, Michigan.