Kissing Max Holden – ARC Review

Kissing Max Holden

By Katy Upperman

Spoiler Free!


Title: Kissing Max Holden


Author: Katy Upperman


Page Count: 304


Publisher: Swoon Reads


Publication Date: August 1st, 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?


My Review:  

             Katy Uppeman takes her own unique twist on the classic boy next door story in her debut novel. It’s the perfect amount of fun, witty, and serious, and I think that Upperman did a fantastic job. She created lovable characters, hatable characters, a ship that everyone will enjoy, and some seriously awesome make out scenes without making the book too cringe or too unbelievable. 

            A majority of the Contemporary YA Romances set in high school read as completely unbelievable or fake, but thats not an issue I had at all with Kissing Max Holden. By the title alone I thought I was gonna be in for another cheesy teen romance, but I ended up finding so much more. Both Max and Jill have a lot of shit going on in there personal lives, and Upperman does not skip over that. She goes into deep detail on how Max’s father’s stoke has effected him and how the strained relationship of Jill’s parents (and her father in particular) change her over the course of the novel. I feel this is something most typical YA romances lack, and I found it rather nice.

            One aspect I believe Upperman did particularly well was create sone truly incredible characters. There was Jill and Max and Betsy and ivy and Leah and the parents and so so many more. Max as well as Jill go through some major character development throughout the story that really helps to build their personalities past the cliche good girl and bad boy. i especially loved how Jill was a pastry chef–I found myself craving cookies and brownies and cakes on more than one occasion. Upperman didn’t skip out on the side characters as well, all of Jills friends had interesting characteristics and I would kill to have a friend as great as Kylie. Also, I think that families/family dynamics that Upperman created were just outstanding. With Jills family, I thought that having a new baby on the way which caused some financial issues helped to set up for later….things (I WANT TO RANT SO BADLY BUT NO SPOILERS!), and that Meredith and Jills relationship wasn’t terrible like the normal stereotype of stepmother/stepdaughter relationships. Now, Jills father may be my least favor character. He just has no bounds, and even though I could see where Upperman was going with his character I still hated him so, so much. Max’s dad (Bill), on the other hand, I really felt for. Having had a friends father go through a similar thing (a stroke that lead to him just living in a vegetative state for years) really helped me imagine Max’s family and understand them better. Max and Ivy (his younger sister) both act out in response to this, their poor mother tries to keep their family together, and their old sister treats Bill like he can’t do anything on his own. I found all of the character so intriguing and I really have to give Upperman major props for this feat.

            The story itself was fantastic, but as I stated with Jills father, I could see some major plot points coming from a mile away. This isn’t a terrible thing, but I found some things to be very predictable and almost wished that Upperman went in a different direction to change things up to make a fantastic thing even better. She did manage, however, to throw me off guard with sever things as well. One thing in particular that had me literally scream out “HOW COULD THEY!” has to do with Meredith’s medical bills–you’ll just have to read and see. To summarize things, it was just really cute, fun, and I really enjoyed it.

           In conclusion, I give Kissing Max Holden four out of five stars. It was really adorable and fun, but also believable with interesting characters. The only issue I found with it was there were some predictable plot points. I highly suggest Kissing Max Holden to anyone looking for a fun contemporary read, and if you go pre-order Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman  there’s a pre-oder giveaway going on for it right now, and everyone gets a prize if you email proof of purchase.

If you would like to purchase Kissing Max Holden

Book Depository

Barnes and Nobles


Author Website


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