Cover image for First French kiss and other traumas
First French kiss and other traumas
Bagdasarian, Adam.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, [2002]

Physical Description:
x, 134 pages ; 22 cm
The author recounts humorous, sad, traumatic, romantic, and confusing episodes from his childhood.
General Note:
"Melanie Kroupa books."
Reading Level:
1050 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.9 5.0 69790.

Reading Counts RC High School 7.8 9 Quiz: 34935 Guided reading level: NR.
Electronic Access:
Publisher description
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Zeroing in on the moments of comic confusion and tender transformation that make up one boy's wild ride through childhood and adolescence, this collection of stories follows Will, a boy with an overactive imagination who grapples with "what kind of man will I become?"

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-12. Bagdasarian's Forgotten Fire (2000) was a wrenching YA historical novel about the Turkish genocide of the Armenians. This book couldn't be more different. It's a wry, self-absorbed narrative with vignettes based on the author's coming-of-age in a happy, affluent family in Beverly Hills. The title story is hilarious, and not because the protagonist is the usual nerdy sixth-grade outsider (even though he has distinctly nerdy features, including hypochondria, and has grandiose plans to win the Nobel Prize). The girls like him, and the prettiest one chooses him at a party. It's the drooling French kiss ("wet, dark, suffocating, hot, and uncomfortable") that he can't handle. He's not always so popular, of course, especially after he is beaten up in front of everyone in a bloody, eighth-grade fight. A few pieces read like literary exercises by an adult looking back, but the uncertainty and confusion are timeless: the sense of how hard it is to climb a mountain, overcome a fear of spiders, shoot a pigeon, please Dad, or write a story. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

This volume of brief, sparely wrought stories encapsulates significant moments during a boy's youth. Writing alternately in the voice of the boy, Will, and in third person, Bagdasarian (Forgotten Fire) poignantly re-creates universal "traumas," both minor and major. Some vignettes are humorous, such as Will's account of his disappointingly unromantic first make-out session, his memory of being Scotch-taped by his older brother and his explanation of how he became one of the "popular boys" at age 10. Other scenes, more somber in tone, evoke Will's recurring fears and expanding knowledge of mortality. The narrator's obsession with the aging process, eloquently expressed in "Time" ("His heart was sick with sorrow and nostalgia and grief and the knowledge that even this moment was doomed to pass"), foreshadows the death of Will's father. Although the entries are not arranged in chronological order, readers will perceive Will's steady forward movement. And if the shifts between first and third person don't enhance the storytelling, the narrative is nonetheless evocative in its entwinement of childlike candor with adult wisdom. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-Memories of childhood and adolescence are revealed through stories told by Will as he grapples with karate lessons and school-yard fights, and dreams of being a writer. A hilarious account of a first kiss unfolds through the refreshing voice of a delightfully honest sixth grader. Stories flash back to the age of 5 and forward to the age of 20 with a fair amount of time devoted to the wondrous, yet tortured, years in between. A story about the ambivalence of going steady in seventh grade describes "Linda" as someone who "-was looking for someone to love much as a boa constrictor looks for a small pig or owl to swallow." The account of the day Will's brother leaves for college is a touching piece with a hint of sadness. The last stories involve the protagonist's famous songwriter father, who is portrayed as larger-than-life, loving yet critical; his death marks Will's transition from boy to man. Well-developed characters and amusing insights into some universal experiences make this title a rewarding choice.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



From First French Kiss Going Steady That night I called her and did my best to sound as docile and love struck as possible. This I accomplished by lowering my voice an octave and whispering as though I had laryngitis. A half hour into our conversation she asked me if I loved her, and I said, "Of course," and she said, "How much?" and I said, "A lot," and she said, "I love you more," and I said, "No, you don't," and she said, "Yes, I do," and I said, "No, you don't," and she giggled and I giggled and she hung up and I felt a little queasy. The Fight When I heard Mike Dichter say, "Hey, buddy!" Somehow I knew that he meant me. Somehow I also knew that all kinds of jigs were up and that something momentous was going to happen. I turned to look at him. "I hear you want to fight me," he said. "That's right," I said. "I'll meet you after school." "I'll be there," I said. Then he walked away, and I discovered two interesting things about myself. The first was that the idea of fighting terrified me, and the second was that in moments of extreme fear my body produced ice-cold sweat. Excerpted from First French Kiss: And Other Traumas by Adam Bagdasarian All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.