I admit it-- I like books with the potential for kissing. I’m not saying it’s a requirement or anything, but the possibility for K-I-S-S-I-N-G is an element that adds to the page-turning-excitement, and often to the power, of an already awesome story.
But like any kind of scene, kissing for its own sake is a missed opportunity to enhance our stories. It's about more than the physical act, but the emotions, what's driving the characters to act, and just as importantly, how they REact.
Whether characters brush lips after stammers and blushes, or lock lips with intensity after a raging argument, kisses can (and should!) offer insight about the characters, highlight their strengths or even their flaws, deepen our understanding of who they are, and move the story forward.
Here are some examples of kissing scenes that left me knowing more about the characters and the story... and OKAY, they're a lot of fun to read:
Sweet Kiss: ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins
Anna and the French Kiss had one of the sweetest kiss scenes I've ever read. The romantic buildup left nothing rushed; every breathless, hopeful, will-they-really-kiss moment led to beautiful, generous description, and I love that the author wasn’t skimpy in the details, while Anna’s ever-humorous and adorable internal monologue ran the entire time.
Passionate Kiss: GRACELING by Kristin Cashore
Graceling is one of my all-time favorite books. The first kiss was a long time coming, and after so much hesitation, denial, uncertainty, I was right there with Katsa when she finally moved forward and fully accepted her feelings. Like everything else between these two characters, they came together as equals.
Forbidden Kiss: CITY OF ASHES by Cassandra Clare
Mention the Seelie Court, and anyone who’s read The Mortal Instruments series will remember this infamous scene in City of Ashes. It’s one of the most intense kissing scenes I’ve ever read, not because of how they kiss, but because of the suppressed longing behind it. Emotion runs high, even if the kiss is achingly short.
Other books with well-done, meaningful kissing scenes include PERFECT CHEMISTRY by Simone Elkeles (for its intensity) and CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins (for the sadness behind it).
Do you agree every kissing scene should have a purpose beyond just the act of kissing? I could be overthinking this... is kissing for its own sake worth putting in our novels? What books would you add to this list?
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Diana Paz is a web content writer and aspiring YA author. She grew up on Miami Beach, moved to Los Angeles in high school, and went to college in San Diego. Basically, she's a beach bum, but she did graduate from California State University, San Marcos with a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts. She loves old movies, epic fantasy, all kinds of music, and heading to the beach with a good book. Preferably sipping a caramel frappuccino. Find her at her blog: dianapazblog.blogspot.com or on Twitter @dianapazwrites