Book Review: Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun

Kiss Her Once for Me  by Alison Cochrun Genre:  Queer holiday romance Synopsis:   One year ago, recent Portland transplant Ellie Olive...

Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun

Genre: Queer holiday romance

One year ago, recent Portland transplant Ellie Oliver had her dream job in animation and a Christmas Eve meet-cute with a woman at a bookstore that led her to fall in love over the course of a single night. But after a betrayal the next morning and the loss of her job soon after, she finds herself adrift, alone, and desperate for money.

Finding work at a local coffee shop, she’s just getting through the days—until Andrew, the shop’s landlord, proposes a shocking, drunken plan: a marriage of convenience that will give him his recent inheritance and alleviate Ellie’s financial woes and isolation. They make a plan to spend the holidays together at his family cabin to keep up the ruse. But when Andrew introduces his new fiancĂ©e to his sister, Ellie is shocked to discover it’s Jack—the mysterious woman she fell for over the course of one magical Christmas Eve the year before. Now, Ellie must choose between the safety of a fake relationship and the risk of something real.

Content/Trigger Warnings: Parental neglect, anxiety and mental health concerns

Overall rating:  ★★★★★

Oh, this sweet sweet book. This was my first time reading Allison Cochrun and it won’t be my last. Kiss Her Once for Me was all the best parts of a queer romance and a holiday story.

While Ellie was a bit “whoa-is-me”, she was also charmingly flawed in a very realistic way and had some lovely development throughout the story. On the flip side, I absolutely loved Jack from the very first pages of the novel, and found her to be undeniably cool in the “do I want her or want to be her” kind of way. I loved Jack and Andrew’s family (expect for dear ol’ dad, of course), and found both Dylan and Ellie’s coffee shop friend (the name is totally evading me) to be delightful in totally opposite ways. But truly almost every character was so well thought out and so well developed, I really felt like I was walking around in Ellie’s shoes, navigating her world.

I loved the parallelism in class between Ellie and Jack, and the conversations about gender and sexuality. This book was honestly so adorably woke, while also being so incredibly rom-com-y, and the anticipatory salaciousness about killed me.

"We all experience attraction differently. Some of us fall in and out of love easily. Some of us don’t experience romantic love at all. Some of us have to fight to let ourselves be vulnerable enough to fall in love. Some of us have to fight to let other people love us. Some of us need emotional intimacy in order to experience sexual attraction. All love and ways of loving are love."

The big annoyances in the story were really the insta-love aspect of the plot, and the utter lack of communication which is what truly causes every ounce of conflict in this book, but both made for good reading and good storyline so I’m not that mad about it.

I loved the characters. I loved the setting. I loved the story. In short: I loved this novel.

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