Hardcover: 297 pages
Publisher: St Martin's Press (1 Aug. 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?
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I thought this was going to be a very cute, somewhat angsty YA contemporary - that would have me wiggling my fat toes with glee … but. BUT. ALAS! Of course, you can already see where this sentence is going - this was not what I wanted at all and instead I am left with pent up annoyance which I shall lovingly unleash upon you all today.
There was just so many things I found wrong with this book. This is a problematic book. And here’s why. Ok. So, where to start. I’ll start with some good things. The title - ok kinda liked it. Same with the cover. So far, so good? But it ALLLL goes downhill from there on.
The story is about Jill and Max. Neighbours and once-upon-a-time best friends, an event causes them to drift apart. But now, both have grown up, and hormones are allll up in the air, and they’re both undeniably attracted to each other. The problem, isn’t the fact that Max has a girlfriend. I’ve read many YA books where the MC has either a girlfriend/boyfriend and has feelings for someone else or just hasn’t realised it yet. BUT. Here, the problem is that Jill and Max both know Max has a girlfriend, YET THEY BOTH DECIDE IT’S OKAY TO KISS, NOT ONCE, BUT MANY TIMES, AND NOT CONSIDER THE FACT IT’S CHEATING? This my friends, is where the downward spiral begins for me.
Based on the writing and the justifications behind some of the MC thought processes, it almost seems like the author wants us to believe that this infidelity is somewhat ok, because Jill and Max have feelings for each other, they have a history, and that Max’s girlfriend is some kinda bitch and horrible character and so it’s OKAY that these two went ahead and cheated. Max’s girlfriend could be the biggest bitch in the world, but that does not make what Max and Jill do, ok in any way, shape or form. Cheating, is cheating and for me both Max and Jill are as bad as each other for all the instances where this happens.
I’m pretty sure I disliked all the characters in this book - Jill and Max being the most obvious choices. Both annoyed me, both came across as selfish, hormonal driven characters who I found no connection with and certainly no sympathy. I can’t even remember the other characters? Though I distinctly remember remember that Jill’s Dad also cheated, irony where art thou.
Another thing which annoyed me greatly and festered as I continued to read the book, is that Jill saved a lot of money to fulfil her dream of going to the International Culinary Institute - until she finds out that her parents used up her money for fertility treatments which resulted in the incoming baby. Was Jill annoyed? Of course she was, she was fuming.. at first. And then it’s like she’s completely forgotten about the utter betrayal? This is mainly a personal thing, but if that was me I would be pissed 5eva, throwing that in their faces at every given opportunity - but she seems to let that go (.. along with her conscience when she continues to kiss Max despite the fact she has a girlfriend). (Just wanted to slip that in there). (Ok done).
Like with many other reviews and reviewers who didn’t like this book, I had the same issues as they did in the reasons as to why this was not a good book. There was a lot of slut-shaming, girl on girl hate, drama, bad decisions, ridiculous justifications behind those bad decisions. For me, it was such a mess of a book. I eye-rolled most of my way through it and I’m surprised I somehow even finished it. This book was a let down and I’m baffled as to how so many people really, really love it but I guess people could be looking at all the books I love and rave about, and wonder the same thing. So, touché - that’s me done for the day. Kissing Max Holden really was a terrible idea indeed.