August 5, 2017

[Review] Kissing Max Holden - Katy Upperman

Summary: After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn't himself. His long-time friend Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn't know how. So when he climbs through her window one night, she knows that she shouldn't let him kiss her. But she does. When they're caught in the act by her dad, she swears it'll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea.

With a new baby sibling on the way, and her parents fighting all the time, Jillian spends more and more time with Max. And not kissing Max is easier said than done, even though she knows he still has a girlfriend. Will Jill follow her heart, and allow their kisses to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden altogether?
(Pub Date: Aug 1, 2017)

Honest review based on an ARC provided by Netgalley. Many thanks to the publisher for this opportunity.

To be honest, I didn't hold any expectations previous to reading the book. I just knew that, despite the not-so-different summary, stories from Swoon Reads are usually well edited. And that goes far with e when it comes to YA's.

Jillian and Max are neighbors, strained childhood friends and they see their relationship get a second chance when a drunk Max climbs Jillian's window and kisses her. The problem is that he has a girlfriend and his erratic behavior ever since his father's stroke hasn't earned any points with her own father.

From the way the story starts, I knew I wouldn't like Max and I was ready for him to be the worst. But here is something good, although I really didn't fall for him, I think he fared generally well. So many times I was almost going "aha! I knew you weren't worth it!" and then, Max would either act differently or take it back in time. I'm sorry for being so abstract but of course I couldn't spoil anything. Just know you can trust Max to be at least decent.

Jillian is a also a nice girl but not a character I liked much. I think her best feature for me was not finding out she is an innate child whisperer. Don't you all hate how the YA heroine will from no previous experience be the best thing to ever happen whenever her love interest's little brother needs a sitter? For once, Jill is far from that. She actually ringed very true, aside from her super gift when it came to baking, and well some people do have a gift. I liked her reactions, I think those would have been mine back when I was her age—perhaps, even nowadays.

But not being so into the main couple kind of doomed the romance into apathy from my part. And while I liked the side story, I think it fell out of sync with the main story. I can't say the author came up with too late to adapt the scene sequence but I still suspect of something of the sort. No matter what went on backstage, in the book, we saw the main plot be more or less concluded right after the half mark. Then we were left with tiresome drama between the main couple, so the side story had time to develop and be solved. I think that kind of planning is a little boring, being it deliberate or not.

Unfortunately, it all meant I was reading about a third of the book just to get it done with. Not a good feeling when you're not that warm about the main characters. At least, the conclusion was just what I wanted, so I'm satisfied.

Still, it's an above-average YA. The main plot is a little too common, the characters weren't all that enchanting to me but the book was well written and that side story I mentioned even more delicious than the main one. It was worth my time, and it'll be yours if the plot is your thing. Unbelievably, this seems to have been her debut novel, I can't wait for Katy Upperman's next work, The Impossibility of Us.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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