Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
One day, I decided to read some of Max Monroe’s GoodReads reviews, and I was astounded. For the most part, the readers are like me: in fluffing love with Max Monroe’s brand of romantic comedy. My book bestie, Melissa, and I celebrate when an upcoming release day is nigh for one of their books. For those of you who adore them, you know the power their books hold in your life: they are the perfect medicine for what ails the doldrums of your life. For those of you who haven’t read Max Monroe, go back to the beginning and start with Tapping the Billionaire. Then, we can talk when you’ve read their billionaire booklist. Because I think most of you will agree: Max Monroe bring the funny and tickle your humerus bone to delight.
But I digress.
So I was reading their reviews on a day when I was procrastinating on my grading, and I was SHOCKED with a capital S. There are people who don’t find the comedy of this superduo’s romances funny. They talked about the contrived nature of their whimsy. And I was reminded that some witticisms are completely lost on people. In a world that often seems dark and depressing, that makes me sad because I think if you asked Max Monroe about their reasons for writing romance, they would tell you it is to bring light and life into this oftentimes depressing world. And whether you feel their humor is contrived or derivative, or you lack a sense of humor, what Max Monroe do continuously is write romances that make you feel all squishy inside. Not everything in romancelandia needs to be so serious. Not that Max Monroe don’t infuse solemnity into their story-telling, because they do. In fact, they made me tear up in their newest book, Best Friends Don’t Kiss. However, they simply write characters whom you can’t help but adore with heroes and heroines who adore each other and who have stories that feel real but imaginary at the same time. For me, that is the magic of a Max Monroe romance, and this reader will buy their stories, over and over again, because they infuse joy and happiness into my sometimes difficult life. And why does this matter here in this review? Because their newest book, Best Friends Don’t Kiss (BFDK) exemplifies Max Monroe’s mission of writing romance that just plain makes you feel good.
As I was reading BFDK, I was taking notes. I do that often when I read because I’m middle-aged and my memory isn’t the best, so I’ve decided for the purposes of this review to share them with you. For your reference, this is a 5 star read for me, so let’s get that out of the way. But to understand why I love this book and why you should read it, here goes with my notes:
*Do you ever think that the Max Monroe billionaires are this living breathing collective organism? And they exist solely to spread smiles everywhere? I don’t know that Max Monroe can ever fully leave them because as a group they call out to Max Monroe’s fans. I wonder if Max Monroe feel shackled to that crew of love-obsessed crazies. Because I think it’s a requirement not for Max Monroe to write one book a year (or maybe even more) with this group in tow. And thankfully, BFDK has the version of them we love, especially Thatch.
*Part of the story is set in New York, and part of it is set in Vermont where Ava, the heroine’s family resides. Ava wants a “white Christmas” in Vermont, and weaving their magic, Max Monroe make it snow on Christmas Day, which gives me all the feels because I feel this strong allusion to my favorite Christmas movie, White Christmas. As Ava and Luke gaze on the falling snow, I thought of the song in that movie: “snow, snow, snow, snow, SNOOOOOWWWW.” In that moment, this feeling of nostalgia and peace blanketed me.
*I continue to adore Kline Brooks, the OG billionaire. I can’t get away from it even though Max Monroe craft heroes who you fall for. In this book, Luke London follows that tradition. For one, I go into heat over alliterative heroic names. That guaranteed my buy-in. That he (1) sees Ava clearly, (2) anticipates her wants and needs, (3) adores her even as a friend, and (4) falls heartwarmingly in love with this quirky artist makes him a swoony hero. Kline reigns supreme as my favorite Max Monroe hero, but Luke ain’t so bad. If you leave this book without some adoration or admiration for Luke London, then your heart may be dead. (just kidding…well, maybe).
*The careful plotting of this book showcases Max Monroe’s ability to build the appropriate tension and release. This book is a slow-burn, but Ava and Luke’s chemistry peaks at the most perfect moment. Max Monroe hold you in their thrall until the right time, and that illustrates their abilities as authors to draw in their reader, suspend them in their story, and leave them with a book hangover, pining for more of their hero and heroine’s story. This is the case with BFDK. I want a bonus scene beyond Ava and Luke’s epilogue which does a beautiful job of showing us their life together. Max Monroe have invested me in their life that they make me want more. Call me greedy.
*Beyond the cast of billionaires, Max Monroe have created a zany cast of characters in the form of Ava’s family. Add to that the salt of a mean girl posse at a 15-year class reunion, and you have this world of people who add color to Luke and Ava’s story. They make you laugh and cringe and feel anger and tear up. This creates a further investment into Luke and Ava’s journey.
Honestly, I could keep writing about all the ways that Best Friends Don’t Kiss touched my heart. Some of the early reviewers have talked about how this is the perfect book for right now, in the midst of a pandemic, days after a contentious election, with the holidays before us. And they aren’t wrong. This book feels like a little bit of magic right now, the type of magic that seems like it might stay with you for a bit of time, shining light into a world that needs it. There is no doubt that Max Monroe have done it again.
In love and romance,