by Ron Koertge Candlewick, 2005 Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on May 1st 2007
Walker's father died a few years ago, and his mother has just taken a job as an exotic dancer to make ends meet. She is not even embarrassed by this, and says she enjoys the work, most of the time. Walker gets a new girlfriend, Rachel, however, and he lives in fear that she will find out about his mother's job. He is also a bit overweight, but Rachel does not seem to mind that. He talks over his problems with his best friend Sully, and the two of them understand each other well. They bond with their humor, and the two of them sound like modern high school versions of Hawkeye and B.J. from TV's M*A*S*H (a reference that current high school students may not get). Rachel has recently moved into town, and she is able to relate to Walker because she has also lost a parent: her mother died some time ago. Her father has a dream of building a new mall, outside of town, and while she likes malls, Walker hates them. So she tries to convince him that they are not so bad. Walker's father left him some land, which is currently an unused field, and it is just where Rachel's father wants to build the mall. Walker has other plans though: he wants to start growing crops there.
Where the Kissing Never Stops nicely ties several relationship themes together. We get the growing relationship between Walker and Rachel, which is sexual but never explicitly described. There is his close friendship with Sully, who has his own commitment issues with his girlfriend Peggy. There's Walker's awkward but loving relationship with his mother as she gradually comes to accept her work as a stripper. And there is even his changing relationship with his father, as he starts to work on the land that his father left him. Koertge's writing is strong and his dialog flows easily. This novel for young adults is touching and enjoyable.
Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Reviews. His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.