Title: Come to My Window
Author Name: Mia Kerick
Publication Date & Length: January 15, 2015 – 182pgs
Justine Laraby and Kemina Lopez are intimate acquaintances yet they have never exchanged so much as a single word. For months, high school senior Justine, and famed model, “Kemina, the Baby Vixen” of Nightingale Lingerie, have been peering at each other across a narrow alley between brownstones in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. This mutual observation soon turns into the exchange of handwritten messages on signs they hold up whenever they come to their bedroom windows. Via this “sign language,” a friendship grows, and Justine learns that Kemina is, like her, a high school senior, but with a controlling mother and a modeling career that requires her to maintain an unnaturally thin physique. And through the window, she also witnesses her new friend exercising fanatically, hoarding food, and being physically and emotionally abused by her ambitious mother.
Window messages evolve into clandestine meetings and soon a tentative romance blooms. But Justine must come to terms with her own “mommy issues,” as well as accept her gender identity and sexual orientation, before she can provide Kemina with the support she needs to survive a family life that resembles a ruthless business transaction.
Will Justine be strong enough to throw open the window so Kemina can escape society’s suffocating expectations?
I found this to be an unusual and unlikely storyline. Two teenage girls watch each other from each other’s windows. They begin writing notes to each other they press up against the window. It is through this form of communication they develop a friendship which grows into more as they decide to meet outside of their four walls.
Justine attends a private school and Kemina does an online school so she can pursue her modeling for Nightgale Lingerie. When Kemina is not studying, going on photo shoots, she is exercising in her room and being weighed and measured by her controlling mother. Kemina’s mother (only known as Mrs. Lopez) is her manager. She supports both of them with money made by her modeling career.
Kemina invites Justine over one evening via note to the window when she mom is out for the evening. It seems like Kemina is not satisfied with seeing Justine the few times she has in public. Unfortunately, their first kiss is interrupted by Mrs. Lopez coming home early. Being teenagers, they lie and say they were studying. Justine goes home.
What I did like about this book was the fact that Kemina wants to start a new line of clothing for women who aren’t a size 2 and can be proud of their bodies. Not surprisingly, her mom goes ballistic and Justine tells Kemina she can stay at her house so she can be safe.
Kemina does start a new clothing line with Nightgale Lingerine and begins spending late nights working with designers. One evening Justine cannot get in touch with Kemina and is getting ready to go to sleep and looks into Kemina’s old room. She sees suitcases open on her bed full of clothes, but there is no one in the room. She tells her dad her fears and they go to Kemina’s house. I was shocked to read what Mrs. Lopez had done. She put Kemina in the backseat, gagged her and zip–tied her hands behind her back. Guess she was really mentally unbalanced after all. The police are called and Mrs. Lopez is called and is arrested.
This would be a good book for Young Adults who are worried about being a size 2. They can read this and know it is okay to be the size you are.
But it’s not until the screen fills with the image of this baby seal,
all white and fluffy with dark vulnerable eyes that we both gasp a
little bit and then turn to look at each other. I can feel her breath on
my lips and my nose is nearly touching hers, and, well, I don’t know
about Kemina, but I’m all kinds of spellbound by this moment. She
reaches up and touches my jaw, just below my ear, with this soft
brush of her fingertips, and I have no choice but to lean down and
kiss her. Not that I was looking too hard for another option. Cuz I
I kind of thought that my first kiss would be like an electric
shock or the sharp poke of cupid’s dart or fireworks exploding in a
dark night sky, but it’s not like any of those things. The way it feels
when my lips touch Kemina’s is soft and gentle and tender. It’s a
yielding of her mouth to mine, and then mine to hers. It’s an intimate
moment that’s breathy and warm and sweet and just ours.
“Ummmm….” She lets out this sound that makes me think of
how it feels to sink into a hot bath after a long afternoon of ice
skating in frigid temperatures. “That was my first real kiss.”
“Real kiss?” I ask. Our lips are only about an inch apart. I have
a strong feeling that her second real kiss is only a moment away.
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.
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