Have you ever read a story you didn’t know you needed? Well for me, Kiss and Repeat is one of those books I wish had been written 15 years ago when I was feeling so different from my peers in school.
Kiss and Repeat is a relatively short and entertaining YA novel written by autistic author, Heather Truett. Let me just point out that, while the neurodivergent lead is not autistic, Stephen’s experiences and Heather’s voice are so authentic and relatable that I saw myself as the very character I was reading about.
Kiss and Repeat tells the story of Stephen, a high-schooler with Tourettes Syndrome, who realizes that his tics momentarily disappear at a party when he kisses a girl during a game of “Spin the Bottle.”
When his friend suggests that kissing could be a natural aid, Stephen begins to wonder whether this was just a one-off occurrence, and the two teens set out on a mission to test their theory via the scientific method.
Their purpose? To calm Stephen’s tics, which he believes to be contributing to his nonexistent relationship record.
Image text reads: Pre-Order Now! Releasing: May Twenty-fifth, Two-thousand and Twenty-one. Image description of the book’s cover, shown on an e-reader, a cell phone, and on a paperback book: a teenage boy and girl are both sitting on a bike, their faces very close to one another’s. They are about to kiss.
As a neurodivergent reader, I found Stephen’s high-school experience relatable in ways I couldn’t have begun to expect. There were times when I laughed, triggered by a line that resurfaced a memory long-forgotten. Other times, I found myself in pain, relating to childhood emotions I’d once felt would never leave me.
With an honest, easy, and clear writing style that effortlessly takes a reader back to high school, Kiss and Repeat is definitely suitable for its intended teenage audience, as well as adults and educators wanting a peek into the life of a disabled teen.
There is an authenticity to the author’s voice in this story – one easily recognized by another neurodivergent reader and impossible to duplicate. This, and any future work by Heather Truett, definitely deserves space on my bookshelf and would be an amazing asset to school libraries around the world.
If you are looking for a great “Own Voices” tale for your or your older child’s enjoyment, this book would be a great place to start. I believe neurodivergent adolescents and adults will find Stephen’s journey identifiable in a way that transports them back in time, and I am so grateful to have been given the chance to read Kiss and Repeat before it hits shelves, this May 25th.
Buy Kiss and Repeat here (order ships for release date of May 25).