Kissing Max Holden
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Equal parts swoonworthy romance and deeply affecting family drama, this debut novel about the boy next door turned super hot bad boy will have readers hooked from the very first kiss.
After his father’s stroke, Max Holden isn't himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help, but she doesn't know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows 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 suddenly 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?
Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan's young adult imprint Swoon Reads, Katy Upperman’s debut novel Kissing Max Holden skillfully navigates the tenuous territory of bad influences, good friends, and complicated families.
Praise for Kissing Max Holden:
"Kissing Max Holden is like the perfect slice of pumpkin pie: it's equal parts sweet and spicy, and you can't get enough of it! What a treat!" —Jessica Love, author of In Real Life
“A moving book with depth, Kissing Max Holden is perfect for readers wanting a strong female character in a realistic romance. Wonderfully written and swoony.” —Miranda Kenneally, author of Catching Jordan
“Sarah Dessen fans rejoice—you are going to love Kissing Max Holden!” —Lisa Schroeder, author of Chasing Brooklyn
“Full of wit, humor, and spine-tingling smooches, Kissing Max Holden combines the classic themes of contemporary romance with riveting family drama. . . . I literally could not put this book down and would buy a physical copy for my shelf in a heartbeat. I can't wait to read what Katy writes next.” —Erin Bowman, author of Vengeance Road
Be still my heart! I loved this book!
BE STILL MY HEART!
This book grabbed me from page 1. There’s so much I love about this story. On the surface it’s a friends to lovers romance, but it’s deeper than that.
First of all, there may be some spoilers here. I’m trying to keep them VERY mild so they won’t spoil your enjoyment of the story.
The characters in this book are amazing.
Jillian is the good girl. She’s an only child, a straight A student, and an excellent baker with dreams of going to a prestigious cooking school in New York City.
Max is the bad boy. He was Jillian’s best friend growing up, but after his father had a stroke, he took it really hard. He started acting out, getting drunk, and partying.
But these characters are so much more than that. When Jillian’s family life gets rocky, we see her struggle to cope. Meanwhile, we see that Max is more than a party boy. He’s really broken up, wracked with guilt over his father’s stroke, convinced it’s his fault. He’s in a rocky relationship with his sisters best friend, and though she treats him like garbage, he knows that part of that is because of how he’s treating her. But being a teenager under so much stress, he doesn’t have the maturity to handle things properly.
When Jill and Max fall into a physical (kissing/making out) relationship this sparks new feelings and emotions in both. They both know it’s wrong, because Max has a girlfriend, but they both want it.
If you hate cheating under any condition, this might not be the book for you. I personally feel it was handled well. There are actually multiple cheating storylines going on here, and I felt like the author tackled them nicely. Because here’s the thing. We’re all human. People make mistakes. Is cheating right? No. It’s selfish and disrespectful. But what makes this story so beautiful is how the characters deal with their actions. The consequences they suffer. I really don’t want to say too much because it would really spoil the book. I’ll just say this, Jillian feels 100% guilty for having ever kissed Max while he was still seeing his girlfriend, even if he instigated it. She even puts an end to things because even though she does want to be with him, she doesn’t want to be the other woman.
So should you read this? If you have zero tolerance for cheating story lines under any condition, run far away. However, if you want a steamy/funny/sweet romance with a good message – despite the cheating – dive into this one.