Lips Touch Three Times

Book review by
Debra Bogart, Common Sense Media
Lips Touch Three Times Book Poster Image
Wildly inventive, wonderful fairy tales for mature teens.
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational value
Positive messages

Unlike more traditional fairytales with messages of abandonment or loss, these tales are suffused more with an air of wonder, and risk. The young women, and in the third story Hatchling that includes both the mother and the daughter at various times, are supported and inspired by the upbringing they have had. The women in their lives have passed on stories of what might happen; but these girls are independent and wise enough to know they must make their own choices.

Positive role models & representations

Features strong, wise, and brave females, although they do not all choose to give up love for safety.

Violence

Some fairy tale type violence; goblins who steal souls, a demon who trades adult lives for those of babies. In one story, a girl is cursed -- if she speaks she will kill all those who hear; in another a race of demons have the ability to borrow human bodies and enjoy having sex from within them. In that world, children are kept as pets, cats are fed to monsters as bridge tolls, and two human pets are forced to have sex while "overtaken" and conceive a child. These sex acts are not described in any detail and are viewed as depraved by the humans.

Sex
Language

Infrequent or single  use of "hell," "damn," "bastard," "ass," and "bitch."

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

The only story set in modern times has a teenage girl who smokes cigarettes and drinks wine at a picnic.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, like all fairy tales, these three tales have a dark side. The third and longest story is the darkest and most adult, with a land of demons who can take over human bodies and make them have (barley described) sex. The first two stories involve older teens coming of age and having first romances. There are goblins, curses, demons, and danger throughout but it's not to the point of feeling like a horror novel. Also of note: One of the stories has characters who visit Hell, and a demon who can visit above. The author's Afterward discusses her views of Hell and some of the world religion stories she was inspired by.

User Reviews

Parent of a 8 year old Written bybook addict August 27, 2010

For mature teens only. 16+..

Blatant objectifying of young women. Concerned about this for teens under 16.
Parent of a 17 year old Written bylemuel27 August 10, 2010

girl on a ghost

love it...its a fairytale in its for a child and everyone....
Teen, 14 years old Written byLinsey November 14, 2009
i hate it....
Teen, 13 years old Written byvampiregrl February 18, 2010

its ok i guess

i wouldn't reconmend this for my little sister but it was a good book for teenagers can't wait to read it again its really addictive

What's the story?

In each of three brand-new fairy tales, a young woman comes of age and discovers a first love while also uncovering secrets about herself. The first is contemporary, and a 16-year-old hears ghosts and is pursued by beautiful goblins despite her grandmother's warnings. The second is set in colonial India where a girl is cursed at birth and like so many fairy tale heroines, her first kiss might kill her or her beloved. A strong matriarchal figure and her brave beloved help her outwit her curse. In the final and longest tale, high fantasy creates a world of demons who keep children as pets, inhabit human bodies for the vicarious thrill of sex, and remain completely hidden from the modern world. But one of those human pets, Mab, escapes to save her own daughter, Esme, and creates a new fairy tale life. The demon who helped her longs for his lost humanity, and finds a way to use Esme to also restore a soul to his beloved queen.

Is it any good?

Each of these three fantastically imagined tales could stand as the quintessential fairy tale. Each heroine is modern enough to make up her own mind about love, despite inherent dangers. Each is helped by a distinctively wise older woman, and handsome, honorable, and good men are also cast. Delightfully creepy goblins and monsters and not a few demons also come to life:  Like all fairy tales, there is some danger mixed in with the beauty. 

The lush language is as delicious as a peach, with phrases so beautiful you could almost believe that Laini Taylor sold her soul for the magic ability  to craft them. A beautiful book design with rich endpapers and several pages of black, white, and red illustrations for each story depict the worlds within. Readers of fairy tales and fantasy both will love this book.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the universality of fairy tales and folk tales. Are their lessons relevant today?

  • One of the stories has characters who visit Hell, and a demon who can visit above. The author has a note afterward that discusses her views of Hell and some of the world religion stories she was inspired by. How do they inform her stories?

  • There is some danger that comes with these three kisses. Do the three heroines make the right choices?

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