A 14-year-old girl tries to follow her Catholic faith but wants to get her first kiss too.
Gloria Jean likes Connor, but on her first date with him she has a bout of the Troubles, an ailment that requires embarrassing emergency trips to the bathroom at awkward times. Connor’s not the only boy around, though; she meets another boy, Ian, in her Confirmation classes. In fact, she learns more about the ethics of kissing from her Confirmation classes than from the sex-ed class she takes at school. She goes through a minor rebellion when she learns that her Troubles are caused by celiac disease, which means that she will no longer be able to take the host in Communion. Wondering why the church requires wheat to be used in the host, she investigates. Even as Gloria Jean breaks a few rules in her anger and frustration, she nevertheless comes across as a basically good and sincere girl. Leigh titles each chapter with an amusing “Commandment” for kissing and writes convincingly from inside the head of her main character, who comes across as a fully realized adolescent. She presents a credible portrait of teen friendships and their angst over romance.
A nicely balanced, believable and interesting view into adolescence, sex education and the power of faith. (Fiction. 11-14)