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Kissing Max Holden

Review

Kissing Max Holden

Katy Upperman is the author of KISSING MAX HOLDEN, a young adult debut that was crowd-sourced from Swoon Reads. She graduated from Washington State University and used to work as an elementary school teacher before becoming a writer full-time. Her second novel, THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US, will be released in 2018.

Jill’s dreams include moving to New York City, attending the best culinary school in the country and opening her own pastry shop. Jill’s life seems to be going her way until her neighbor and childhood best friend, Max, shows up at her window one night and kisses her. Max has had a rough time lately. His dad had a stroke, he is in a miserable relationship with his girlfriend, Becky, and he has been drinking every time he is upset. Jill’s dad does not approve of their kissing, and her stepmom is having a baby soon. Jill must figure out a way navigate her increasingly complicated life and relationships with her parents and Max.

"KISSING MAX HOLDEN...is an entertaining and thoughtful read. Katy Upperman has created a novel that is going to capture teens and get them to keep reading the whole way through her addicting blend of mystery, romance and drama."

KISSING MAX HOLDEN is an endearing read that captures both real problems and realistic teen reactions. Neither Jill nor Max have a simple high school experience, and it made the story that much more relevant. Max’s family dynamic piqued my interest, and they are an exceptional example of a realistic and imperfect family. Max’s sister was best friends with his girlfriend and that complicated matters with Jill and added the element of teenage angst to the story. Even though the novel is primarily about the romance between Max and Jill, it takes a significant portion of the story to explore family relationships and issues, as well.

Jill’s relationship with her father and stepmother was unique to any book I can think of. Jill had a growing relationship with her stepmother, Meredith, and a deteriorating one with her father due to his secretive and increasingly busy behavior. Meredith ended up being the parental and friendly figure I would have expected Jill’s father to be. Meredith became one of my favorite characters; she and Jill’s friend Kyle made excellent advisors.

KISSING MAX HOLDEN goes beyond the surface of high school drama and is an entertaining and thoughtful read. Katy Upperman has created a novel that is going to capture teens and get them to keep reading the whole way through her addicting blend of mystery, romance and drama. With numerous characters adding their personalities into the mix, this book is a whirlwind of emotion and unique voices.

I recommend KISSING MAX HOLDEN to readers looking for a charming romance between two teens dealing with unusual problems. Readers who appreciate a gripping plot will adore it. Pick this book up if you are looking for a quick and captivating next read.

Reviewed by Grace P., Teen Board Member on August 15, 2017

Kissing Max Holden
by Katy Upperman