You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria | Book Review [spoiler free]


Jasmine Lin Rodriguez is going through the messiest break-up in recent tabloid history. It seems like every magazine has her startled face on the cover with some cruel headline. In a bid to concentrate on her acting career, she makes a "Leading Lady" plan.  Leading Ladies do not end up on tabloid covers. Leading Ladies don’t need a man to be happy. Leading Ladies do not rebound with their new costars. But when she gets cast alongside the telenovela hunk Ashton Su├írez in a romance heavy TV show, she may be in trouble.

Ashton is trying to step away from telenovels and make it in America. But he's hiding a secret that may jeopardize everything. Between that and the sizzling attraction that's brewing between him and Jasmine, his life is about to get messy.

This is a dual prospective romance novel. It has elements of comedy, but it mainly focuses on family dynamics and has a wonderful commentary on the diversity that Hollywood is lacking. Let's start with that..

I was honestly blown away with how well Alexis Daria wrote about the lack of Latinx actors in media. It was tasteful and yet eye-opening for someone like me who isn't all that familiar with the experiences that people face when getting into the business. It never felt like it was trying to make a statement, it was simply stating the facts. I also appreciated how inclusive the overall book was. Gender neutral bathrooms, women in charge, there was a secondary character who was trans and yet it was never made a "thing". It simply was. They were trans, and that was that. Books that focus solely on heavy topics matter, but it's also lovely to have gay joy. Or black joy. Or any kind of joy in a book. We exist as one and it's great that more recent releases are finally noticing that. 

As the main female of the story, Jasmine was great. At the very beginning of the novel, she's having a conversation with her sisters about her romantic life and they all comment on how attached she gets in a relationship, which is something I can relate to. I'm an "all or nothing" kind of girl which can often lead to disappointment. I liked that Jasmine was upfront with her flaws, yet never looked or spoke down to herself for having them. She wasn't willing to be pushed over, but she wasn't a bitch about it either. Her character was very well-rounded. Her ambition was her more prominent quality, which, hell yes. Give me more power women in romance, please.

Ashton grated on me at times, but don't all broody guys do that in books? I liked that his main focus was his family. He seemed to have a more difficult job breaking into American television than Jasmine, which was an interesting topic to read about. I liked his interactions with almost all the other characters, I just wanted a bit more.. drama? His "big secret" really wasn't all that explosion, but maybe I was expecting too much Jane the Virgin level drama. 

Together, Jasmine and Ashton were.. dayum. They had more steam than a hot shower. I liked that they had a decent amount of interaction before their relationship took a full blown romantic turn as it helped me as a reader root for them. In the book, they start rehearsing lines together after work and Ashton helps Alexis with her Spanish. It was.. wholesome. I could envision them as a couple, which you 110% need in a romance novel.

My only true issue with You Had Me At Hola was the inconsistent dissension making revolving the characters and their relationship. It got very repetitive and made the pacing of the book feel broken. I think the novel would've benefited from being 50ish pages shorter and having the characters be more decisive about whether they want to be together or not. Some chapters were so similar to previous ones that I often had to look back just to double check that I wasn't rereading a paragraph. 

Overall, this was a solid 4 star book. It's most definitely worth a read, whether you're going into it for the inclusivity within the character list or the romance. 

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