I’m a sucker for stories about best friends becoming lovers so Shannon McKelden’s The Kiss Test caught my eye.
Margo has the perfect life – or so she thinks. She’s living with her boyfriend of two years, Kevin in his Manhattan apartment with her Elvis collection. She has a great job as the morning DJ of New York’s only Country Radio station. And then one day everything changes.
The station is bought out and the format is switched. Suddenly Margo is out of a job. She thinks she can hide this from her boyfriend but comes home to find that he threw her a party to celebrate the award she won only to find he didn’t invite any of her friends. Shortly later they get into a fight. Kevin it seems wants to get married, have kids and move to Connecticut. Margo is independent to a fault and married represents everything that she doesn’t want.
When Kevin asks her to move out Margo finds herself at her best Chris’s apartment. Margo and Chris have been friends for ever. She doesn’t want to move into Chris’s home and be exposed to the revolving door of ladies that frequent his bedroom but she has no choice. As if things couldn’t get worse, they do. Margo falls down and suffers a concussion and other lingering side affects. She is forced to depend on Chris.
Because of her condition, her vacation plans change. Chris agrees to come along her cross country Elvis tour but with conditions. The biggest being that she attends her mother’s wedding – her 11th – in California. Margo with no other options is forced to agree and off they go on the road trip that changes everything.
There’s a crazy incident involving a visit to the police station and another involving But the thing that changes everything is a stay at a Bates-style hotel. Chris administers his Kiss Test on Margo and everything changes. Margo freaks out and tries to deny it ever happened. Chris is hurt, but tries to hide it. They continue on to California where Margo meets the family of her mother’s beau. They are warm and friendly and instantly make Margo feel uncomfortable.
Margo finally finds a way to repair their relationship and begins to think that things might be okay. And then Chris starts to tell her that his company is opening up a new sporting goods store in California and she freaks out and leaves him. Before he can leave her.
She flies home to New York packs up her things when Chris shows up and tells her that he’s been in love with her for years. Margo realizes that Chris isn’t going anywhere and they can be happy together.
The story started off a little slow for me. I’m not a huge Elvis fan and the obsession made me a little nervous. But the infatuation helped to move the story along. I also found myself wondering why Margo would have ever been with someone like Kevin. For someone so independent, I would have thought that she would have preferred to be alone than to be with someone like him.
I enjoyed the plot involving her mother. Margo actually finds out that what she thought was the truth wasn’t necessarily the truth. And she also sees that her Mom has finally found a good man and the right kind of relationship. Though, I did find it absurd that it would be wedding number 11.
The only other thing that really weirded me out was when Chris was having sex with the woman he picked up in the bar while Margo hid in the bathroom. That was too much. I just can’t imagine hiding out in a hotel bathroom all night while your best friend is going at it with some bar floozy right outside the door. Ew.
That being said, I really did enjoy the book. I really liked the character of Chris despite his skirt-chasing ways. I loved that everyone thought that they were a couple. And I really enjoyed her happily-ever-after ending.