Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: August 1st 2017
Genres: Young Adult
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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?
Jillian and Max pretty much grew up together. They were great friends until they got older and then grew apart. Max was currently dating a horrible girl that treated him badly but yet he stayed with her. Max is having family problems as his once vibrant father had a stroke and his whole world is in upheaval. On Halloween night he knocks on Jillian’s window as he used to do and they talk. Max is drunk (yes, he’s only 17) and then he ends up kissing her. She’s shocked but into it until her father finds them and is livid. He kicks Max out and tells Jillian to stay away from Max as he’s no good.
Jillian’s not sure how to feel about Max. She knows he has a girlfriend and she shouldn’t have feelings for him but she does. Max comes clean to his girlfriend about the kiss and the girlfriend, Becky, actually treats Jillian worse than before, which she didn’t think was possible. Jillian’s life at school and with Max is frustrating as she’s not sure how Max feels and all of the mixed signals he’s throwing her way.
As if the situation with Max wasn’t confusing enough her father and step-mother Meredith, who are expecting a child, are fighting constantly. Her father is always gone at work and when he’s home he works on his computer or fights with Meredith. Jillian finds out that her college money was spent and while she wants to hate the “leech-baby” as she calls it, she just can’t. Jillian ends up being there for her step-mom when her father can’t be found and this creates a bond between the two that hadn’t been there before. Jill also ends up loving her little sister to death and that made me smile. Oh, the power of an infant. 🙂 Meredith also understands about Max and feels that Jill should be with him if that’s what she wants.
This was a cute and sweet story about teenage angst. To Max and Jillian trying to figure out the ins and outs of their relationship were major issues – and they were to the average teenager. They were frustrating and unclear and while they were working them out it set them both into turmoil. I really liked how Jill was there for Max when he needed her. She made him understand that his father having a stroke wasn’t his fault and that drinking himself into oblivion all the time wasn’t the answer. Max truly had a good head on his shoulders, his emotions overwhelmed him regularly and that’s what sent him into his tailspins.
The issue with Jillian’s dad was, to me at least, quite obvious. I was sad for Meredith as she was such an innocent in the whole situation. I didn’t like that man at all and it was hard to see what Mer ever saw in him. With the book being from Jillian’s POV only it was hard to look at it from other angles.
The POV was frustrating at times in this book. When the book first starts and Max is knocking on Jill’s window it’s so out of character and something that he hasn’t done in a long while. We never find out what he’s thinking or why he decided to knock at that time. I wanted so badly to get into Max’s head, but alas it never happened. Despite that I thought the author did a decent job of telling Max and Jill’s story and enjoyed the book overall.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5