The Holloway Girls / Susan Bishop Crispell / Book Review

Everybody wants to kiss Remy Holloway. Of course they do. She's a Holloway Girl, after all, and she's just entering her Kissing Season, too. Everybody Remy kisses during her season will have good luck, but she's not planning on kissing just anybody. She's got her eyes set on one boy alone. 

But all magic has rules, and when Remy breaks hers, she doesn't bestow good luck on her chosen boy. She gives him bad luck, instead--so bad, in fact, that she swears off kissing for the rest of her season. She doesn't want to be anybody else's curse. She needs to break the first curse she caused, after all--even if the new boy next door is making it hard for her to keep her newfound, kiss-free lifestyle intact. 


This book is Hallmark-cute, which is perfectly fine. What isn't so fine is the undercurrent of both slut-shaming and of persuasive non-consent present in this book. It left a bad taste in my mouth. A very, very bad taste. For all its cute potential, I hated it. 


  • True Consequences: This book certainly embraces an ethereal and cutesy magic, but it doesn't pull its punches. It quickly takes a sharp and dramatic turn that I wasn't against. I don't like to spoil things in my reviews, but "bad luck" is meant in the worst possible way. It's shocking--and one of the few parts of the book that I found delightful. 
  • Hallmark Holloways: Mom is a baker. Dad is a rock climbing instructor. This type of whimsical employment has a truly Hallmark feel--and that's all before we even get to the "magic" of the kissing season. This is a family marked in the pages of history for its great romances. The whole thing has a very light, fluffy, and fun feel to it. This family and this story might not be very serious (even when there are some serious consequences), but overall, this book isn't meant to be anything more than light and fun. And I appreciate that. 
  • Malleable Character: Remy isn't a constant. She learns and grows. She might follow a classic sort of character arc, but it's classic for a reason. She starts out obsessed with the wrong boy at the beginning, and this obsession leads to the consequences she has to muddle through in the middle. By the end, she is more sure and confident in herself than before--without being burdened by obsession or the following guilt of cursing Mr.-Not-Right. It's always nice to see a character who can and does change. 


  • Sister Secrets: I don't like plots that revolve around keeping secrets from intimate relations, and I really didn't like that this book started off almost immediately by driving a wedge between the sisters due to a secret--here, a secret relationship. I also hate when relationships cause drama, especially between girls--and most especially between sisters. It was a very rough start for me here. 
  • Sluts and Prudes: This book straddles an uncomfortable line between slut shaming and prude shaming, and I am not here for it. There's nothing outright on the slut shaming side (except for some unfortunate things that come out in the heat of an argument), but there's an undercurrent of slut shaming in Remy's attitude toward her sister and her kissing season that is very uncomfortable to read. On the other side of things, after Remy swears off kissing for the year--understandably so, given the traumatic circumstance that prompts her choice--there was an uncomfortable pressure from everybody around her to have her "get back out there." When even her dad is trying to set her up against her (understandable) wishes, it just feels a little bit too much. No should mean no, even if you don't personally understand that no.
  • Slo-Mo: This is a very slow moving plot. There's a kiss almost at once, and the bad luck is startlingly fast as well. And then there's nothing... Well, there's a lot of waffling after that, but as for plot? Yeah, not much happens for a long, long while... or at all.  



Anyone who enjoyed the baking-infused plotline of Karen Bischer's The Secret Recipe for Moving On will appreciate this sugar-and-spice new story. Those who like a bit of potential magic in their romance like in Marissa Meyer's Instant Karma will like this magical debutante. 


Publisher: Sourcebooks
Date: June 7, 2022
Series: N/A
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Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.


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