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?
This is a terrific book. I couldn’t put it down, and I didn’t want it to end. Both the narrator, Justine, and the other main character, Kemina, are complex, interesting girls. The pleasure is in watching them unfold through the story.
Justine is a great narrator–honest, sometimes brutally so, but likable nonetheless. From putting her father’s girlfriend in her place to admitting her own struggles, she tells it like it is. I loved her interactions with her world. She’s the kind of person girls can admire for her ability to withstand whatever is thrown at her.
I loved the theme of perfection woven into the story and how every character struggles with it in different ways. There is definitely a pretty clear black-and-white line between the truly evil characters and everyone else, but there are also a lot of shades of gray. There’s also an undertone of hope and forgiveness in the side plot about Justine’s mother and her ongoing battle with addiction.
Someday, I hope to share this book with my own daughter. It’s a good one for parents of girls to read and talk about, especially with regard to body image, perfection, and what it means to be beautiful.
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.
Author’s GoodRead Page