Tess Sharpe, Six Times We Almost Kissed (and the one time we did), Hachette Children’s Books, February 2023, 374 pp., RRP $19.99 (pbk), ISBN 97814444967876
This is a book about two girls who always seem to look after each other but who take a long time to acknowledge and act on the attraction they have for each other. Penny and Tate have known each other ‘forever’ as their mothers are friends. The mothers seem to recognise before the girls do that the two really want to be together.
There are quite a number of social issues covered in the book. Penny’s father dies in a kayaking accident when the two of them are out together and Penny is unable to save him. She lives with the guilt and physical injury of that traumatic event as well as with her mother blaming her and banning her from going on the river again. Her mother is severely depressed and the two of them move in with Penny’s grandmother. Tate’s mother has severe kidney disease and needs a transplant – and Penny’s mother donates a kidney. Friendship and love both thus figure prominently in the book.
I felt the book could have been shorter and it is sometimes rather sentimental. It does, however, add to the genre of queer fiction for young adults, an area that has been neglected in the past.
Reviewed by Margot Hillel