Book Review: Kiss Her Once For Me by Alison Cochrun (Atria)

I have never read a holiday-themed book before, not unless you count A Christmas Carol and Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas. So, this year, this season, I decided it was time for a change and ordered a queer holiday romcom from Book of the Month. After all, I love cheesey Hallmark romcom movies with the predictable plot so why wouldn’t I love a book that may be a little more nuanced?

And I was right.

Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun, published by Atria, is not your typical fake-dating story. Ellie, who is heartbroken over what seemed like magic but was actually a one-night stand, and about to be evicted because she can’t make rent, sees an oppurtunity when Andrew proposes she be his marriage of convenience and he’ll pay her two hundred thousand dollars. First, though, they needed to get through Christmas with his family as fake fiancees. Ellie is all for this plan to get that life-changing money, until she finds out his sister was her one night stand she never got over.

The author, Alison Cochrun, is known for her debut, The Charm Offensive. Kiss Her Once for Me is Alison’s sophomore novel, and her third novel is coming in 2024. In the meantime, she lives in Portland, Oregon, and loves Taylor Swift.

Most of the characters in this romance are very loveable, and I think that’s because they aren’t perfect. With reflections on mental health and trauma passed on from parents, Alison did a good job at showing each character’s varying flaws, attatchment styles, and weak coping mechanisms, which allowed them room to grow over the novel. My favorite character was Dylan, a non-binary family friend who I would have loved to see more of.

I also thought the pacing was perfect, if conventional, for a romcom–all down to the third-act break-up. But I’m not complaining. Even though the author worked hard to turn a trope we know and love on its head here, there is still an area of predictability that us romance readers love and crave.

The romance itself was a bit too insta-love for my taste. However, there were obstacles that prevented the couple from being together, so it wasn’t like it was all perfect from the get-go and its what made the scenario more belivable, even in this whole wild scheme.

The writing was great and easy-to-read. It was easy to be pulled into Ellie’s world of drawing and anxiety. I especially loved the little vignettes from Ellie’s Draw2, where she created and shared comics online. It really fitted her character and made the reading even more enjoyable.

One thing, though, that I hated about the plot was this reveal about Jack that happens around the half-way point. It wasn’t the reveal that I hated so much as the fact that for the rest of the book, it was simply glossed over or not dealt with very much. In reality, this would have been a bigger thing and I would think the family would talk about it, too.

Also, there was a lot of miscommunication in this book. I know that’s probably a given with romcoms, but it made me so frusturated! I want to take this book and whack the characters over the head with it. If only they’d all just be honest with each other…

What made up for it was the holiday traditions in the family. Though a lot of the traditions were Ellie’s first time at experiencing Christmas magic, it brought me a lot of nostalgia, especially as I did virtually nothing this year for Christmas. Planning to do these things with my future family and create a feel-good home.

Oh, and brownie points for diversity! I knew going in that this would be a WLW romance, but I didn’t know we’d also see people experiencing demisexuality (which I think I am so it was cool to see), anxiety (which I know I have), ADHD, non-binary, and mixed race. These portrayals, for the most part, were done well without defining the characters themselves.

I loved the exploration of platonic love, family, and friendship throughout the novel, as well. While it is a romance, Ellie’s main struggle was with her belief that she couldn’t be lovable if she wasn’t perfect–and this was any kind of love, so it was refreshing to see both healthy and unhealthy relationships in every form.

Finally, there is a spicy scene or two in this novel. I would really only classify one chapter as being particularly smutty, so if you’re not into that, you could probably still read the book while skipping that chapter.

Overall, I really do recommend this, especially if you’re looking for one more holiday romance this season! Four stars.

By myadventure2017

Writer, Reader, Bookstagrammer, Booktoker, Blogger

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: