I want to thank Fierce Reads and Swoon Reads for sending me a copy of KISSING MAX HOLDEN in exchange for an honest review.
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 hate writing negative reviews. I hate it so much. I finished reading KISSING MAX HOLDEN last week, and honestly, I knew 100 pages in that my rating was going to be low. But I had to finish it, just in case the ending would maybe change my mind. It didn't. So I waited a week before writing this review in the hopes that I could view it a bit more objectively. And I think that at this point I can. But that doesn't change the fact that I still had problems with Kissing Max Holden.
I'll cut to the chase here- my biggest issue, and this one's a whopper for me, with this book is how it simultaneously condoned and hypocritically condemned cheating. I will never, ever enjoy a book where cheating is made to seem ok, or where there aren't realistic consequences for cheating. Now, I'm partially to blame here, because the synopsis of Kissing Max Holden specifically says, "...and Max still has a girlfriend." Honestly, I think I missed this, because normally I wouldn't have picked up a book if it said that. So again, this negative review is partially my fault and I'm definitely willing to admit that. That said, I did read it, and I hated how the cheating in this book was dealt with. The main character, Jill, is the other woman in her relationship with Max Holden. Throughout the book, her friends encourage her to continue her relationship with him, to even take it further, despite the fact that he still has a girlfriend. His girlfriend is constantly dumped on by several characters, called names, shamed behind her back, but I never really felt that this treatment was totally deserved. Sure, maybe she wasn't nice, but the way they talked about/treated her wasn't either. And when she freaks out about finding out HER BOYFRIEND IS CHEATING ON HER? Yeah, I'd be pretty freaking mad too. But Jill and co. act like she's overreacting. Um. No. She's not. I thought she handled it pretty well to be honest.
Ok. So the second part of my issue is the hypocrisy toward cheating in this book. This part is a bit spoilery, so fair warning. A big plot twist towards the end of the book is when Jill finds out her father is cheating on her step-mom. It's super not-cool of him. Jill is, understandable, pissed off. BUT. She was involved in the same type of behavior, and where she found forgiveness and even acceptance, she is unable to give either of those things to her father. Which I understand, totally! But the hypocrisy is strong with this one. The moment though that finally pushed me over the edge is when Jill has a conversation with her step-mom about her father's adultery, and the step-mom basically tells Jill that her cheating behavior was okay and different from her father's because she was doing it for the right reasons and has a good heart. NOPE. Cheating is cheating to me.
So, obviously this book wasn't for me. That's not to say that others won't enjoy it. If they cheating aspect doesn't bother you, then you might actually REALLY enjoy this one. Kissing Max Holden is full of great writing, fun dialogue, and really likable characters. And like I said before, if I'd fully understood what this book was about, I wouldn't have read it in the first place. It is a fast, easy read that made me laugh out loud at several points. It just really wasn't for me.
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