Book Review

Cheating with Max Holden

Kissing Max HoldenKissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Thank you, Macmillan, for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Gleaning upon the tenets of Formalism (i.e. “The author is dead”), please note that my thoughts are not directed to the author
.

Kudos to my second 1-star read this year. I actually dislike writing negative reviews because it just brings out the mean side of me. Also, I don’t want to waste my time brainstorming about something I didn’t even like. Still, it’s only logical to justify my rating for a book that a publisher kindly gave to me. So here we go. It’s time for a rant. I would like to apologize to my family, who shot me questioning looks after seeing me read such fluff.

This debut novel follows two annoying protagonists, Jillian Eldridge and Max Holden. They were very close when they were children, but a particular tragedy caused a rift between them. Now that they’re hormonal teenagers, Jill can’t help but fall in love with Max. Unfortunately (for Jill), Max has a girlfriend (whose name I can’t remember). When Max visits Jill after arguing with his lover, infidelity and a bunch of drama ensues.

Ever since I watched LilyCReads’s review of Anna and the French Kiss, my attitude towards books with “complicated” relationships changed for the better. I just cannot tolerate that thing called infidelity, aka cheating. I especially hate it when the cheaters try to justify (and escape the consequences of) their actions. The characters in Kissing Max Holden were exactly like that.

Between Jill and Max, I wasn’t sure who was more at fault. However, let me shed a light on Jill first. Max was the one who initiated the kissing sessions, but Jill obliged him even though she herself admitted that she didn’t want to be his Other Woman. To make things worse, Jill sugarcoated everything by hating on Max’s girlfriend, who was supposedly a *****. Man, I just couldn’t handle the hypocrisy. Just because Max’s girlfriend was mean and manipulative didn’t mean that it was all right for Jill to play Querida.

Jill made me roll my eyes a lot, but Max made my temper flare. I couldn’t understand his appeal. He was a playboy, a disrespectful son, and a disgusting alcoholic. I wasn’t surprised that the girls who were attracted to him were similarly…unprincipled. I really disliked him because he was such a bad influence to Jill; he was able to eclipse whatever remained of her conscience. All hail, Max the Tempter. I wouldn’t want to be associated with a person like him.

This might come as a surprise. Are you ready for it? JILL AND MAX WEREN’T THE ONLY CHEATERS IN THIS BOOK. Salt was rubbed into my wounds when it was revealed that someone important to Jill was also unfaithful. I resented that predictable plot twist, and I wished that I could forget it.

Initially, my rating was leaning toward 2 stars. Sadly, my patience reached 0% when Jill’s step-mother, Meredith, justified her infidelity. Apparently, it was okay for Jill to be guilt-free because she only had “good intentions” when it came to Max. In other words, she wasn’t a complete infidel. WHAT THE HECK?!

I’m sorry, I can’t do this anymore. I’m only reinforcing my negative emotions. For the sake of “looking at the bright side,” I shall enumerate the few virtues of this book.

1. You can read it in one sitting. (Probably because you would just want it to be over ASAP)
2. Jill and Max are perfect for each other. (Probably because they’re both so flawed)
3. It will make you laugh. (Probably in a mocking, not-so-delighted way)

Ultimately, I guess reading Kissing Max Holden was not a waste of time because it taught me one of life’s most important lessons: STAY AWAY FROM PEOPLE WHO CAN’T KEEP IT IN THEIR PANTS.

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