July, 1969 — The Apollo Eleven astronauts are hurtling toward the moon, and somewhere down below, two eleven-year old boys who meet on vacation launch their own mission — to try to kiss a girl before the week is over.
It’s a hot week in the lusty resort town of Grand Haven, Michigan, where Patrick Cantwell — the juvenile delinquent from Never Hug a Nun – meets a new friend who reveals to him the secret of the ages… where babies come from.
Astonished and ashamed that he has overlooked this hidden activity at work throughout history, an activity which apparently even Abraham Lincoln knew about, Patrick wonders what else he has missed and decides he needs to open his eyes and start living.
Shaking hands with his new friend Rex on a five-dollar bet, Patrick rockets into high orbit to try to be the first to kiss a girl before their vacation is over.
But it’s not that easy. There’s Mr. Jawthorne, the protective father of the kissable, young Tammy and her ChapStick-loving friend Ginny. There’s a biker just back from Vietnam on a road trip to no longer be a killer who meets two boys in Grand Haven he’d just love to kill. And there’s Patrick’s big Catholic family whose puzzle nights, dirty diapers and warnings about sin and death threaten to cost Patrick five bucks.
Try to Kiss a Girl is a Kodak snapshot of the station wagon era, when the simulated wood grain was unfaded, and parents were young and a cooler full of orange soda and WonderBread sandwiches prevented back seat anarchy. Well, most of the time.
Up ahead — beyond the Burger Chefs, the Sinclair Dinosaurs and Stuckey’s – was a rental cottage with crooked floors and a lake view, a land of relaxed adult supervision and freedom. A place where an eleven-year old boy could body surf on a red flag day, ignore thoughts of the approaching school year, work on his pinball game at the Khardomah Lodge and try to figure out someway, somehow… to kiss a girl.
Blank Slate Press Publisher Kristina Blank Makansi plans to release the book July 1, 2014.