A queer holiday rom-com à la While You Were Sleeping.
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 fiancée 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.
Perfect for fans of Written in the Stars and One Day in December, Kiss Her Once for Me is the queer holiday rom-com that you’ll want to cozy up with next to the fire.
Kiss Her Once for Me was one of my most anticipated books of 2022 as Alison Cochrun’s debut novel The Charm Offensive was one of my favorite books of 2021. I was so excited to dive into this queer, holiday rom-com.
Kiss Her Once for Me is about Ellie who met someone last Christmas and had the most magical day with them, only to be disappointed the next morning. Since then, nothing seems to have gone right for Ellie. Facing financial troubles, she agrees to fake a relationship for her job’s landlord in exchange for a chunk of change, only to learn that her new fiancé’s sister is her missed connection from last Christmas.
Kiss Her Once for Me has a plot that is a bit more complicated than your average romance novel. While I really liked that the romance was not the only component of the story, I felt that the overall plot was a bit over contrived for my liking. This is totally a personal preference as I like romance novels to be a bit more straightforward with little conflict. The complicated nature of the relationships in this book along with the reliance on the miscommunication trope made for a read that was slightly stressful.
What I loved about Kiss Her Once for Me was the fully-developed characters as well as the mental health and LGBTQIA+ representation. This is where Alison’s writing thrived. I really felt like I was able to get to know so many characters in a short span. I loved seeing so much queer representation, including demisexuality. Ellie, the main character of this book, also has generalized anxiety disorder. I think her experience was very reflective of what living with anxiety is like for many people.
I found the writing to be easy to fall into. So often books are billed as rom-coms but never actually funny. I am happy to say this book has its humorous moments that lighten up the storyline. The only issues I found with the writing was that there were places where it was repetitive.
Taylor Swift fans will surely delight in the love for Taylor this book shows. I, on the other hand, more despise Taylor than like her. Other than one sentence, I did not mind the references and likely missed some of them. But whew! That one sentence will go down as one of the most offensive non-bigoted sentences I have ever read.
Overall, I really enjoyed Kiss Her Once for Me and will continue to read anything Alison Cochrun writes. While this is not my favorite holiday rom-com, I do recommend it, especially to Swifties.
Kiss Her Once for Me
November 1, 2022
Note: I received an e-galley of this book from its publisher, Atria Books. Regardless, I always provide a fair and honest review.