Aww man. I genuinely liked French Kiss, though I had a few issues with it, primarily stemming from the lack of character and relationship development and the heavy reliance on the undeniably electrifying chemistry. And while I still enjoyed reading Kiss and Make Up, we have definitely hit guilty pleasure territory now, because this was a hot damn mess.
As the title and blurb indicate, while things ended rather rosily for Edie and Dylan at the end of book 1, all is not well in this book. Soon after they get together, they hit a major speed bump. But that undeniable chemistry is still there. So their relationship is a huge mess and needs a shit ton of work, and thus we are left with a considerable dose of romantic mellodrama in this installment.
The thing is Edie started grating on my nerves a lot in this book. We certainly got to see more of her personality here, but it was mostly just naivete and indecisiveness. Those are two extremely frustrating character traits. She pines after Dylan here, especially when he appears to have moved on. She practically throws herself at him while he has a new girlfriend, trying to break them up. She just makes all the wrong choices. Then he has his hot-and-cold attitude going on again which frustrates me to no end, and she's extremely bad about just telling him no. Then Carter, who is obviously bad news, shows up and puts the moves on her and she just tries to convince herself that that's a good idea, in spite of all the advice of her friends.
I spent a lot of my reading time just shaking my head at this book and at Edie, sighing, because she seems so lost and, to a certain extent, pathetic. It still did read as realistic and sort of relatable though, because I think many of us have gone through that kind of desperate all-consuming crushing romance thing in high school. First loves are devastating like that. So I did still somewhat understand where Edie's behavior was coming from, but I just wished that she would get a clue (sooner than I did in my own experience). That did keep me turning the pages, ultimately, because I wanted to see that growth in her and see that it would get better. And the ending definitely delivered on that note.
I was also upset at the loss of Shona and Trent, who both made the first book so much more enjoyable. I did enjoy getting to know some of the new characters, like Poppy, and seeing Edie's experiences of being in a band. I mean, that's pretty cool. I was frustrated though at the lack of family presence in this book (her parents seriously go on vacation leaving her on her own for two months). I do, however, want to give massive praise to how the virginity issue is dealt with in this book. Sarra Manning really knows how to bring up teenage sex in books, and I ultimately loved how that was done.
It's a bit of a mixed bag. This book was a hot mess, because Edie was a hot mess. But at the end you could definitely tell that both Edie and Dylan had grown, and their relationship would probably be stronger for it. I just am not really a fan of that romantic mellodrama part of most relationships, so it wasn't totally enjoyable to me. However, I did blaze through it - it was a quick, light read, and I have plenty of hope that I'll enjoy the series finale more.