About Kicks


(Fawcett Books, 1996)
(Young Adult Reading Level)

This is my first novel, that no one even knows exists–it was published in 1995 and disappeared without a trace.  When it was published I had a party and put my rejections up on the walls of my living room.  They reached from baseboard to over my head on all four walls.

Laurie thinks Carla is the luckiest kid in Los Angeles. After all, Carla has parents who let her do anything she wants. Laurie’s mother keeps her on a short leash, demanding that she keep the house clean, cook for her sick father, and stay out of trouble. Still, at Carla’s instigation, they manage to keep things on the street exciting. Sometimes it’s shoplifting, sometimes it’s hitching a ride, sometimes it’s smoking and flirting on the beach with older guys. If Laurie could only be as brave and daring as Carla, she knows her life would be a lot more interesting.

But Laurie also knows that Carla sometimes takes crazy chances. And one night when Carla is in trouble only Laurie can help her–only Laurie and one other person, someone who loves Laurie more than she realizes, someone who would do anything to be with her. . . “Capture[s] the dark underside of growing up . . . Teens will empathize with Laurie’s desire to be free from familial rules and responsibilities, and the realism of some scenes will horrify yet fascinate them.”

20 Responses to “About Kicks”

  1. Natasha Says:

    Hi Janet!

    I actually found a copy of this at a used bookstore and you better believe it is sitting on my bookshelf at home. 🙂

    • Hi Natasha!
      Great to see you checking me out… how fun you found Kicks. How’s the writing going?

      • Natasha Says:

        It’s going! I have a new job as the Relationships Editor of a women’s mag so I’m getting to put some of my material out into the world. 🙂 Still working on my book at night, too.

  2. Excellent. I’m going to see if I can find this on the Sony Reader/E-book library.

  3. It’s at my library in Sacramento. Hard cover.

  4. ha i found this at my library and i was so confused as to whether it was by you or not. Cause my copies of White Oleander and Paint it Black both say you only wrote those two. But I did so enjoy it (:

  5. Dear Janet Fitch,

    I just finished “Kicks” and I was amazed. A friend of my late mother’s got me a copy for my twenty-first birthday. Over this summer “Kicks” was what I read while sunbathing by the pool. Reading “Kicks” reminded me of my mother (as all of your books do). The imagery that your books paint of Southern California is so vivid. And as I have said before, your books remind me of stories that my mother told me about growing up in ‘Long Beach’ and heading north to attend Stanford University. Almost every day your books help me cope with my mother’s death (back in 2003). I can see my mother easily being Laurie.

    I have heard that “Paint It Black” is someday going to be a movie and I’m all for it. However, it would be nice to see it as an ‘R’ rated film. I don’t know if the story would be adaptable as a ‘PG-13’. However, if it can be done I will gladly go see it and buy the Blu-ray and / or DVD.

    A few days ago (right after finishing “Kicks”), a friend of mine told me that it would be interesting to see “Kicks” as a graphic novel. The idea sounded cool to me at the time, but that’s just me. It would be nice to hear from you what you think about the idea. I don’t mean to offend you at all or creep you out. I’m just a college guy that loves your work. Kicks, White Oleander, Paint It Black, they are my three favorite books and for many reasons, especially how it reminds me of my mother.

    My sister is going off to college in a few weeks. She’s going to Stanford University as both my mother and father did, however, her first choice was Pomona. Over her winter break after flying to Anaheim she will be driving from LA to Palm Springs. I asked her to take some pictures of the Twenty-nine Palms motel from “Paint It Black” (if it actually exists).

    Thanks for reading this,


    • Thanks for this kind note. Yes, that motel actually does exit… it’s not called the Paradise though, it’s the Harmony… though they’ve fixed it up A LOT from the pictures I found on the internet. The movie of PIB is still a possibility, it looks like the film company is going to option it for another year–but with film projects, evidently, it’s a long winding path to an actual movie. Yes, I’d like to see it very much an R film… hard to have that much nudity in PG. Sorry about your mom… you lost her very young. I love that you read Kicks, it’s hard to find… what a cool idea, as a graphic novel. The rights have reverted to me, I can do anything I want with it. Hmmm.
      Good to hear from you!

  6. Kathleen Malloy Says:

    I’ve spent a long time googling your novel ‘kicks’ with no luck. I’m so excited that I found this website. I read ‘kicks’ when I was 14, I’m now 24, and it was one of those books I will never forget. I let a friend borrow it and never saw it again, I couldn’t remember your name (sorry) and there a lot of search results that appear when you google ‘kicks’.

    I see that some people found a copy at their local library, I’ll have to see if I can find a copy there, I’d love to read it again, it affected me in such a positive way. I’m so glad I know your name now so I can begin reading your other work.

    thanks for the great story!

  7. Emily McCall Says:

    First, I’d like to state how wonderful it is that you actually reply to such posts! Also, this isn’t entirely related to the novel Kicks but I’m truly looking forward to finding it so I can see how your style may have evolved and take note of what changes affect the reader.
    I first read White Oleander after a good friend and similar-writing-style buddy of mine suggested it. It was amazing, and I got that heart-thumping-in-my-ears sort of admiration. After falling in love I noticed how it positively affected my own writing and I thank you so much for the freedom it gave my style. I had a habit of stopping by the shelf with your novel on it at the bookstore just to see if it was there, and to my delight I stumbled upon Paint It Black. Again, I fell in love with the detail and the emotion shown simply through the forceful nature of jam-packed sentences. Please, keep keep writing and I’ll keep having something to pour over through the night!
    And again, thank you for the possibilities your work has shown mine. You have a beautiful style and a very strong identifiable style.

  8. Melania Says:

    Found ‘Kicks’ online at Amazon for $65. That can’t be right. Not that you aren’t worth every penny Janet.

  9. Cheryl Young Says:

    You can find “Kicks” online at Abebooks.com ranging from $5.00 to $100.00 (author signed). Just a headsup.

  10. I had seen the movie “White Oleander” quite some time ago and remembered how I felt afterwards. I could relate to every part of Astrid’s journey. Reading the book was good for me. It will be forever on my bookshelves. I will look for “Kicks” first chance I get.

  11. Janine Kozanda Says:

    I borrowed a copy of Kicks from the library and really enjoyed it. It shows such a good understanding of what makes young girls tick, and it’s fun to read the details from another era. Well worth tracking down.

  12. Hello, my name is Wivine, I live in Ostend, Belgium. I’m an educator but my passions (it’s more than a hobby) are reading and drawing. went to the library yesterday like e every weekend and I chose two books: White Oleander (I’m reading it now, in dutch, I know, I prefere to read books in English but this is not always possible here in Belgium! Most of the books are translated in our two more important languages: French and Dutch) and Paint It Black. I began to read yesterday evening and I could’nt stop reading! I love the story but I also love the characters and the poetry! My favorite writers are Jan Kerouac, Jack Kerouac, Sallinger, A.E.Poe, David Vann, Annie Proulx, Ginsberg (I love American litterature) and I already can say after a book I didn’t finish yet that Janet Fitch is a name I will add to my list!

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