From Fierce Ink Press:
Popular high school senior Jessica Stone has a secret: she used to be a nerd. But she gave herself the ultimate makeover and applied all her academic genius to study and imitate the social elite and now she rules the school. With her cool new friends and hottest-guy-in-school boyfriend, life’s a beach — and that’s where she’s headed for spring break. That is, until her biology teacher breaks the bad news that she’s failing and her only chance to make up the grade is to join the conservation club in Panama to save the golden frog.
Jess finds herself in a foreign country with a new social crew, including a ghost from her past that could threaten her queen bee reputation. Travis Henley may have grown up, but he still likes to play childish games and as payment for retrieving her lost ring from the bottom of a jungle pool, he wants three non-dates. The last thing Jess wants to do is be around him any more than she has to, but she’s desperate to keep him quiet and agrees. Soon she begins to realize the worth of her inner nerd, and that one frog in particular could be her prince in disguise.
Kissing Frogs by Alisha Sevigny (Fierce Ink Press) is a modern-day spin on the fairy tale “The Frog King”, with an environmental twist. All Jess wants is to keep her hard-won queen-bee status, go on spring break with her boyfriend and the rest of her elite social circle, and survive the rest of high school without anyone finding out she used to be queen of the nerds. But when she finds out she is failing biology, all of those desires vanish is a puff of smoke. Instead she must spend her spring break saving golden frogs in Panama with the conservation club, which includes a boy she hoped never to see again—a boy who knows the girl she used to be.
Adorable and light, with a good message about conservation, Kissing Frogs is a great read for anyone looking for a change from all of the dark dystopian and fantastical YA books out there. Like so many teenagers, Jess’s world is the size of high school and her position in the hierarchy is everything. Knowing what it was like to be picked on and laughed at, she never wants to go back to that life again. But in clawing her way up the social ladder, she’s lost herself along the way. Going to Panama, meeting new people and learning new things, helps Jess realize what she doesn’t like the person she has forced herself to become. I like that this book shows that the world is bigger than high school and encourages being yourself without being preachy about it.
Those familiar with “The Frog King” will also find a little something extra to love about this book. Allusions to the fairy tale woven throughout the story, like the lost treasure in a deep pool, and promises made and broken, will draw a knowing smile from readers. I enjoyed how Sevingy took a well-known fairy tale and made it into something new without pulling the story into the fantastical.
From the teeny golden frogs to the sun-tanned boys to the bubbly writing, Kissing Frogs is a very cute book. It is an all-around feel-good read.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (4/5 hearts)
Full disclosure: I was one of the proofreaders on this project. However, this review was written of my own volition and the opinions expressed in this review are my own honest views and were in no way influenced by my role in this book’s production.