Monday 26 March 2012

Kiss Kill

Kiss Kill by Jeni Mawter (Really Blue Books)
Epub, PDF RRP $4.40
ISBN 978-0-9872606-1-1
Reviewed by Vicki Stanton

Sixteen-year-old Mat can't believe his luck when he snags the hot new girl, Elle. She's stunning, witty and his. She's perfect. But then Elle's behaviour changes and she swings between adulation of Mat to humiliation and violence against him. Mat can't understand why things are different now, what he's done wrong, or how to fix things. He detaches from those around him thinking that this will help. He finally realises that he is not at fault. He also realises it is up to him to stop allowing Elle to rule how he behaves and to believe in his own self worth.

Fortunately for Mat, as he rides this roller-coaster of emotions, his best mate Jonno and Jonno's girlfriend Nadia stick by him. It is through their support that Mat comes to realise the toxic nature of his relationship with Elle. Jonno also intervenes by going to the school counsellor - something which Mat would never have considered especially following the talks at school where males are portrayed as abusers and females the abused. For Mat to confess to his abuse is tantamount in his mind to denying his masculinity. The thoughtful manner in which the counsellor deals with the situation allows Mat to begin the process of easing his way out of the relationship.

Kiss Kill presents Mat's story in a unique manner. It is not told as a traditional prose narrative but rather as fragments of prose, lyrics, scripts, social media, comics, texts (displaying the phone screen), drawings, photographs, poems and essays. The story flits from one to another at breakneck speed much like young adults can watch television, listen to music, do their homework and chat on facebook all at once making this format perfect for the intended audience

Author Jeni Mawter has also extended the book into an interactive forum. Mat blogs at (the entry with the dogs is hilarious!), there is ongoing utilisation of Youtube and reader feedback is encouraged.

Books such as Kiss Kill are a brave new world where the reader's involvement with the story and characters have been elevated to a whole new level not even imagined until recently. Rather than computers, Youtube and the entertainment of the digital world sounding the death knell for the book, they are the birth of a whole new way of seeing books and young adults will be leading the way. Kiss Kill's publisher Really Blue Books, Australia's first digital only publisher, and Jeni Mawter are to be congratulated for being at the forefront of this evolution of the book.

Kiss Kill can be bought through Really Blue Books, ($4.40) or through Amazon ($5.95).

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