Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman
Publication Date: August 1st 2017
Source: ARC from Swoon Reads
Link to the author: https://katyupperman.com/
RATING: 3.5 Stars
Kissing Max Holden is not the kind of book I would pick up. The genre, the title, and even the cover would normally make me look right past it. I must have been in a very rare swoony mood when I requested it and yet, I’m really glad I did.
It isn’t often that I can even make it to the end of a high school contemporary romance let alone enjoy it as much as this book. No one is perfect here, everyone was flawed and made a bunch of awful choices, some owned them and others didn’t. I think I should mention that there is cheating involved and that can be a hot button issue for some. Many of characters are kind of awful actually, catty, bullying, lying, etc. Personally, I have experienced a lot of that in my life so it felt realistic to me, but let it be known I don’t condone that behavior at all.
I adored Jillian because she’s a chronic baker, whipping up delicious pastries for friends and family but also to deal with stress and anxiety. She wasn’t a fluffy girl though, she was strong and knew what she wanted in life. Until Max sort of turned it upside down. There were moments when he drove me crazy but I could also see why Jillian loved him. They were just perfect together and I ADORED his family. Again, I don’t condone his behaviors (his father was in a bad accident and he was not handling it gracefully) but I just loved the way the friends-to-more trope was done and that Jillian never gave up on Max. She didn’t condone his behavior and kept pushing him to get his act together. Max also encouraged Jillian to keep following her dream by any means possible and it was moments like those that made me feel he was worth all the trouble.
My favorite relationship though was between Jillian and her step mother. Despite feeling like they were very different from one another their bond grew throughout the story. It really hit home for me because I have a strong connection to a lot of people I consider my found family.
In contrast, the relationship between Jillian and her dad made me really angry. He was so condescending and controlling, I really couldn’t stand him. He blows up everything and expects Jillian to understand while telling her she can’t have an opinion because she’s a child. There ending leaves a lot open and I both liked that and wanted a little more from it. However, I acknowledge that again this is what life is like, sometimes there is never justice, some people never own up to their actions and relationships remain broken.
Overall I felt it was a well-written debut and I would pick up Upperman’s work in the future. I do feel that this book won’t be for everyone but I like books about people who are kind of a mess, I’m kind of a mess too.
Thank you for reading this review of Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman curtsy of Swoon Reads, in return for my honest opinion. I hope you enjoyed my insights and look forward to more reviews from me in the future.