Un beso de Dick, by Fernando Molano Vargas

16076882English title: Dick’s Kiss

Un beso de Dick was written by Colombian author Fernando Molano Vargas in 1990. I read it in Spanish, but it has been translated to English as Dick’s kiss and published by University Press of the South in 2005. It’s not an easy book to find (not even in Spanish), but I assure you is definitely worth the search.

It’s a coming-of-age novel about teenage love, narrated entirely by Felipe, a sixteen year-old boy. We have access to his inner monologues, we’re literally reading his mind. We see the world through his eyes: his school life, his relationships with his classmates and friends, his family and, mostly, his subject of desire: Leonardo. They start as comrades, they’re in the same class and same group of friends, and share a lot of time playing football (soccer) (and in the showers, as well). We know almost from the start the deep feelings that Felipe has for Leonardo. He can’t stop thinking about him, he can’t stop staring at him. Luckily for him, things escalate quickly and in a party they declare their attraction to each other, and we become witnesses of their incipient -and secret- relationship.

I absolutely loved this book. I knew about it from a podcast I listen to, so I didn’t get to it blindfolded, I knew where I was going, but I didn’t expect to like it this much. The characters, specially the kids, are so endearing! It’s lovely to read Felipe’s thoughts and see how he can barely contain all the love he has for Leonardo. Just like Felipe’s aunt says: their love makes one envious of not being sixteen to fell in love being sixteen.

Unlike other YA novels I read, this story and its characters felt more real to me. Felipe at one point says (thinks) something like he doesn’t know why some people like to behave as if they were in a bad movie, unnaturally and overacting. This is how I feel about most YA books, the language the authors (or maybe the translators?) put in their characters seems unrealistic, the way they act seems forced. Sometimes is like the book is obnoxiously screaming “Make me a movie, I was born ready!”**. After reading this book I thought “WHY they haven’t made a movie ALREADY?”***. Is so candid and genuine, and asks all the right questions.

**Maybe I’m reading the wrong kind of YA

***I found out there was a play based on the book. It’s something