Published by Swoon Reads on August 1st 2017
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?
Kissing Max Holden is very slow and very sweet. I’ve been looking forward to reading this book for quite a bit, and while I did have some issues with it, it was still a cute and meaningful read.
Jill and Max’s friendship has never been easy. They fall in and out of love with each other faster than people change underwear, but the timing has never been right. So when the story starts out with a full-on make-out session between the two, it’s the perfect launch for a helluva lot of drama. Exhibit A: Max was kind of, sort of drunk when it happened. Exhibit B: Max kind of, sort of had a girlfriend at the time.
So I’ve never been a big fan of cheating stories. I mercilessly DNFed a book named Mercy, tore down a chicklit called Sleeping Arrangements, and I have a few thoughts on my mind about Étienne St Clair from Anna and the French Kiss, as well. It’s also really typical that the girlfriend is a bitch, because otherwise there’s no reason for us to root for Jill and Max. So yes, even though the girlfriend is supposed to be this terrible person, I found it hard to root for our protagonists.
They did have a lot of chemistry, though – the author definitely came through when she decided to put “Kissing” in the title. It is a kissing book, and the more heated scenes are good enough to shoot tingles down everyone’s spines. And when you have a less-than-ideal home situation on both sides of the equation, it is not hard to imagine that they would seek refuge in each other’s arms (and mouths).
I did appreciate the fact that Jill’s storyline parallelled with troubles in her own parents’ marriage, and how she was able to use that to evaluate her own actions as The Other Woman. I also enjoyed watching her relationship with her stepmother grow because of these issues. And though I often grew really weary of her on-again-off-again fling with Max – seriously, sometimes this book felt so much longer than 304 pages – it was good to see that things didn’t immediately become sunshine and rainbows, both as casual friends and as boyfriend and girlfriend. The hard topics are handled quite well.
One more thing I really loved was the fact that Jill had a passion for baking, and therefore described people like pastries. For instance, there was a character who was described as being like a crème brûlée – soft and sweet on the inside, but in order to get there, you have to crack a hard wall first. I thought those little nuggets were a really cute touch, and all the baking made Jill a softer and more caring character.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy