I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Swoon Reads on August 1, 2017
Genres: Romance, YA
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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?
Sitting down to start this book I wasn’t actually sure what to expect. I read romance, alot of romance actually and have definitely read my fair share of great and not so great YA romance this year. I expected to find a cute, light romance, nothing too serious or complex but I was incredibly impressed by this debut effort!
Here are FIVE reasons you should read Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman!
#1: It’s a Debut
In the last year or so I have tried to make a more concerted effort to read, review and promote great YA debuts since it in many ways is crucial to their success. Whether it’s here on the blog or on Goodreads, Twitter or Instagram I always try to share my reading experience with these books and let others know about them. Kissing Max Holden is from the publisher Swoon Reads (a imprint of Macmillian) which publishes novels based around reader feedback. This can be an incredibly powerful vehicle to getting more quality YA into the publishing market and insure greater success!
2. Friends to Lovers Romance
Of the many romance tropes being published this is one of my favorites. Jillian and Max are not only neighbors but close friends but through a series of circumstances seem to lose touch in many ways. One of my favorite things about this trope is that there is usually a plentiful back story for a believable romance to develop since a friendship is involved. Jillian often remarks about going over to Max’s home as a child and spending time with his Mom and Dad which really gives a rich depth to these characters and their relationship overall.
3. Jillian is a Baker
Definitely my favorite part of this book is the inclusion of Jillian’s love of all thing confection! I really enjoy cooking and baking so to see this love infused throughout the novel was really very special. Jillian has a great desire to bake and even dreams of going to a special cooking school and opening her own patisserie one day. I adored this aspect of her character because it really gave what could have been a very one-dimensional character and extra layer of depth and complexity that made her so real and genuine. I work with young people every day, much like Jillian and Max, who have incredible gifts and talents that I don’t always see showcased in current YA right now. Seriously, this was probably my favorite aspect of the entire novel!
4. Complex Family Dynamics
I’m a such a sucker for complex relationships in YA, that is probably why realistic fiction is one of my favorite sub-genres in Young Adult fiction! Saying that, I don’t always see that in romances for this age group. Many times parents and/or family are not even featured which is not only sad but mostly unrealistic and not a representation true reality. Fidelity, tragedy and tempering parental expectations are explored throughout and really provide an essential framework to this romance.
5. Strong Friendships
Both Jillian and Max have a core group of friends that often provide advice and support that challenge them throughout. One of my favorite relationships is between Jillian and Kyle an their light, fun banter. You can obviously tell that they both care for each other deeply as friends and for Jillian in many ways, Kyle’s support and love is more necessary than Max’s acceptance of their budding relationship.
So as you can see, I adored this novel for these reasons and so many more! If you are in the mood for a well written debut or a YA romance with more complex themes and great friendships than Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman is for you!
Please consider picking up a copy and supporting this fantastic new author, you won’t be disappointed I promise!
If you would like more information about Katy, Kissing Max Holden or Swoon Reads please follow the links below:
Katy Upperman’s Blog and Social Media Links
Swoon Reads Website