Title: Lips Touch: Three Times
Author: Laini Taylor
Publication Date: October 1, 2009
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Date Started: November 3, 2018
Date Finished: November 7, 2018
The second book under my belt for the N.E.W.T.s read-a-thon! I used Lips Touch to meet the “Exceeds Expectations” requirement for Charms: “A book with a cover that charmed you.” The cover, and inside art corresponding to each of the stories, were illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo, who fun fact, is married to the amazing Laini Taylor! And his art was beautiful! (And he liked my tweet about the book, so I had a mini freak-out panic attack. Did Laini see it too?!?!)
Lips Touch is a collection of three short stories that each center around a young girl before her first kiss. Trust me, the stories are not as sappy as I just made them sound with my broad generalizations.
In the first story, Goblin Fruit, we read about a young girl with family from the old country. She is in high school, and just wants to be normal, to be that girl that gets all of the attention. But all she can do is sit and stare and wish to be noticed. Until one day, she is. By a handsome boy. And all of her grandmother’s warnings about goblins and their need to eat souls come rushing back…
This story was my third favorite story of the three. It was beautifully written but I feel that the trope of the unnoticed, plain girl being the target of some tragic attention is slightly overplayed. What I couldn’t believe about this story, however, was that it referenced a very obscure science fact, which happens to be the focus of my PhD research!!! That’s right, there was a discussion, in this story, about butterfly reproduction. I’ve never in my life seen that in a fiction book, and never thought I ever would in my life. For little details like this, Laini Taylor is my personal icon.
The second story, Spicy Little Curses, delved into the afterlife in India. A baby is cursed by a demon to have a voice that would kill anyone who heard it. As she grows up, she never utters a sound, but then a soldier falls in love with her, and begs to hear her voice…
I LOVED this story. I’ve always been fascinated by different underworld stories, particularly those of ancient Greece, and this story mirrored such lore in beautiful ways. Having this tale set in a far off land added to the mysticism and intrigue.
Finally, we were left with Hatchling. A girl awakens one morning to find her eye has changed from brown to blue, and her mother fears her mysterious past has finally caught up to them.
Wow. This one was seriously disturbing. In fact, I think this is the piece out of all of Laini’s works that has been the hardest to stomach. The world building and backstories of the characters were fascinating and really pulled me in, but there were parts that made your heart bleed for the mother. A powerful, powerful piece.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. I’ve come to realize I am a huge fan of short story collections, and I wish more authors did them. They can leave such a profound level of emotion after reading a well constructed one, and naturally Laini Taylor does just that with all three of her stories.
Overall, 4/5 moose