Kissing Max Holden, by Katy Upperman
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Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Length: 304 pages
Times Read: 2
Rating: There’s a good reason for this title, and I’m into it
Kissing Max Holden was a terrible idea…
After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn’t himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn’t know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn’t let him kiss her. But she can’t resist, and when they’re caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it’ll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea.
With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?
What I Liked: I have a love/hate relationship with Swoon Reads (generally more hate if you want the truth), but I REALLY LIKED this one! The first chapter of this books ends with a really good kiss, which automatically kept me interested. It was so good that chapter two picks up in the middle of it, and there are plenty more throughout the book.
Yes, yes it is
This book does involve cheating, so if you don’t like reading about that, you won’t like this. Personally, if it’s written well, I don’t mind it. There are no excuses for it, but Max has his reasons. And Jillian is no doormat letting him get away with it. She’s strong from the start, and doesn’t back down. She’s honest with herself about her feelings, and she doesn’t want to be Max’s second best. Max is cocky while still being sweet (when he wants to be), and he doesn’t want to be Jillian’s secret. They have some issues to work out, but they do, and they’re good together. Their chemistry is ridiculous, which makes their swoony scenes even more intense.
Jillian is a stress baker (I, as a stress cleaner, can relate), so we get lots of yummy food descriptions.
She’s better than this, I think
She also has a lot of responsibilities around the house, since her stepmom is heavily pregnant and her dad is hardly ever home. Jillian is not at all looking forward to being a big sister, but once the baby is born she really steps into her role. I liked watching this part of her character progression, and I really like the choices she makes regarding her family in the end. I don’t want to spoil too much, but there are a lot of big changes, and she handles them well.
What I Didn’t: Again, this didn’t bother me, but it IS a cheating-heavy book, so go into it knowing that. Other than that, I really hated her dad. Although I think we were supposed to. I also didn’t like Jillian keeping Max a secret, especially since it bothered him so much, and especially since her dad was such an ass and that’s largely who she was hiding things from.
Final Thoughts: This was my second reading, and it won’t be my last. It’s a fun take on the boy next door trope, and a good friends-to-more storyline. I can’t wait to see what Katy Upperman puts out next, but until then, I’ll be rereading all of my favorite Max Holden kisses.
Favorite Quotes: “Does genuine emotion pardon unfaithfulness?”
“I’ve lost my inhibitions and apparently my mind.”
“I will not-cannot-trade my priorities, my values, my sense of worth, to be his second best.”