Celise Downs

Secrets and Kisses


Skylar Knight is making her way through the final week of school. The subject on everyone’s minds is Blair Neuman’s Junior’s Only End of the Year Bash–and The Kissing Game. Skylar knows that her crush, Kedren Price, will be there but she has one little problem: nonexistent pucker power.

In between studying for finals, and getting some much needed tips on kissing, Skylar starts overhearing mysterious conversations about Blair and Kedren. And she begins to wonder if her classmates are friends…or foes.

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The Girl

Skylar Knight

Nickname: Sky

Height: 5′ 6″

Eyes: hazel-green

Hair: reddish-brown

Likes: reading, working at The Flip Side…and Kedren Price

Dislikes: Not knowing how to kiss (geez, how embarrassing is THAT), studying for finals, and Blair Neuman. Not necessarily in that order.

The Sitch

Hi. I’m Skylar Knight. During my final week of school I study for exams, get kissing lessons, panic about the End of the Year Bash, get kissing lessons, discover (by accident, of course) that the most popular girl has some SERIOUS skeletons in her closet, study for exams, find out my drool-worthy crush really is too cool for school, and oh…did I mention the kissing lessons? Find out how I deal with it all.

The Story

I came up with the idea for Secrets and Kisses from personal experience and a television show. I didn’t date at all when I was high school, although there were plenty of guys I thought were hot. I knew I didn’t know how to kiss and probably thought that I would have to learn from reading a book in order to do so. Realistically, kissing is a learn by experience type of activity. However, there is going to be a small population of females who believe that they’ll never get the chance to learn that way. And the alternative is getting pointers from a book. Skylar Knight was one of those girls.

Back in the 1980’s, there was a T.V. show called 21 Jump Street. The premise was about 20-something cops going undercover in school to catch the Bad Guy du Jour. It was also the first time I was exposed on a regular basis to Johnny Depp. But it got me to thinking: what if the guy wasn’t a cop? What if he was just a regular teenager trying to find justice for his parents…who just happens to have some cop-like skills? And Kedren Price was born.

And the Critics Say…

“Secrets and Kisses gives us a chance to revisit our own high school years. For some of us that’s a good thing. For others, those years are best left forgotten. As a first time author, I really enjoyed this book. This is a book in which I can re-read again and again. It’s like taking a step back in time. Remembering all the crazy things that were done in our youth. This book gives the reader a time to reflect on what is important in their current lives, by reliving a little of their past life. Celise, keep up the good work. I hope to read some more about the people from Valley View High in the near future. This book will make my keepers list for sure.”

~ Darlene Howard, EscapetoRomance.com

“…a fine job of portraying normal teenage angst but also shows the humor, intelligence, and maturity that underlie even what seems to be the most oblivious awareness of the world around them. This is a light, fun, and mysterious read that all teens will love. This reviewer tried it out on two teens, and they both want to read it soon!”

~ Vivane Crystal, Crystal Reviews

“The capital figures in the story, Skylar and Kedren, seem to be the normal teenagers that appear to be going through that phase in their life that so many other authors write about. However, Downs cleverly twists this normality into an abnormality that makes it modern and new. Downs writing style is, without a doubt, intelligible. There is no murder of the English language that other teen story writers seem to so enjoy, and she uses a wide range of vocabulary in order not to repeat herself, keeping the story moving throughout. The occasional use of slang is mentioned, though there is no cliche so Downs keeps the balance – she knows how to write about teenagers appropriately, correctly, and with a bit of that ‘High School hip hip beat’ to it. Other writers such as Sarah Dessen and Megan McCafferty also manage to successfully keep this balance as well – it is seen as a rare talent.

Overall, ‘Secrets and Kisses’ is a worthwhile read. You either don’t mind it, like it or love it. I highly doubt that the readers would strongly dislike this novel. What do I have left to say? Read it, and you’ll see what it’s all about.”

~ Ysabelle Cheung, 15, London England

“The author Celise Downs captures your attention initially with a love story, but the deeper the love grows, the deeper the secrets grow. Skylar Knight is a modern day teenager, who has a crush on a not so modern day Kedren Price. But is there a side to Kedren that Skylar doesn’t know about? Well as the two of them start to “bump into each other” Skylar also starts to get confused with all the secrets she is hearing. Will Skylar and Kedren be able to form a love strong enough to withhold all the secrets that are in store for them? Well, the only way to find out is to read Secrets and Kisses by Celise Downs.”

~ Tia Schenewerk, 13, Santa Ana CA

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3 Responses to “Secrets and Kisses”

  1. Joy Smith says:

    Wow. I miss working on my novel(s). I have one that I have been working on for about 10 years now. I love writing, but for the longest time I had writing bock and the fear that my novel would suck in the editors/publishers eyes. Okay, I can’t believe I just said that. You’re an inspiration. I think after I finish up my list of articles for my boss this week, I’ll start working on my novel again!!! Thank you!

  2. pserean says:

    i miss 21 jump street!
    sorry. i just HAD to say that.
    as for your book…
    interesting teen plot. you sound like you had fun picking out a name for your heroine. (*ahem* let’s face it…with a name like that, how can she Not be the new anti-cool?)

  3. Lisa Richards/alterlisa says:

    Now you got me to wondering if 21 Jump Street was available on Hulu. Off to find out.

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