You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Alexis Daria’s most recent novel, You Had Me at Hola, launched last August and has been on a lot of “favorite” lists since then.  I read this book for two reasons.  First- I had to see if the hype was justified (it is). Second- the cover is GORGEOUS! I know you can’t judge a book by its cover, but come on…Just look at that beauty.  

After a very public breakup, soap opera star, Jasmine Lin Rodriguez , is hoping to take her career to the next level.  After landing the lead role in a bilingual romantic comedy, Jasmine creates a “Leading Lady Plan” to avoid her past mistakes.  Ashton Suárez is a telenovela superstar. Joining the cast as Jasmine’s love interest, Ashton is determined to prove his acting talent to the world, and maybe break out of his telenovela box. In real life, Ashton is intensely private, and a little standoffish. When the pair start rehearsing in private, their attraction blossoms into a dramatic romance to rival the characters they play.  

There are so many things to appreciate about this book. The characters are so well-developed.  Daria gave us a glimpse into a hero and heroine who are breathtaking real, with wounds and flaws most of us can relate to. Daria also made a really bold choice with her craft.  It’s sexy, but still appropriate for your lunch break. Several of the chapters are scenes from Carmen in Charge, the show Jasmine and Ashton are filming together.  It threw me off, at first, but she used those scenes to do a lot of emotional lifting. Rarely in romance (or any fiction, really), do we find a device that is so original.  Frankly, it was a stroke of brilliance on Daria’s part. 

Because most of the characters are Latinx, there’s a lot of Spanish without translation. I don’t speak Spanish, so there were a few times I felt I was missing out, but Daria ensured her readers (even monolingual readers like me) could keep up.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s one I’ll remember for years to come! 

And that cover…

Favorite Tropes: Workplace Romance, Celebrity, Secret Child, Matchmaking Families

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

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