YOU HAD ME AT HOLA by Alexis Daria

After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez. 

Leading Ladies don’t need a man to be happy

After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents. To make it work, he’ll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry with Jasmine. Easier said than done, especially when a disastrous first impression smothers the embers of whatever sexual heat they might have had. 

Leading Ladies do not rebound with their new costars.

With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.


Title : You Had Me at Hola
Author : Alexis Daria
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 283
Genre : romance
Publisher : Avon
Release Date : August 4, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2.5 (rounded up) star review

Show of hands, who thought this was YA? Oh, just me? Elle oh elle.

Well just incase there’s any lingering confusion from my fellow #TeamNoBlurb’ers? This is adult. In fact, the romance happens between a thirty year old and a love interest pushing forty, so, yeah. Definitely not YA. But also extra points for raising the age bracket a little higher for those of us who are no longer twenty five!

That said, I do have sorta mixed feelings on this. I mostly liked Jasmine; both because she was very self-aware of her failings (not really failings, actually, but her tendencies) in the romance department but also because even when vulnerable, even when she didn’t feel totally supported by family, she was still pretty focused without letting in any self-doubt. Not that she was totally on her own; she has a hype squad made up of her two closest cousins and I absolutely loved their dynamic and how each of the women were very clearly their own person. Where she fell short for me was in her behaviour during a pretty critical conflict moment and her total short-sightedness and self-centered behaviour.. which I won’t detail any further as it spoils things.

In the positives column, I did really adore the unabashed representation. Daria didn’t just give her characters mixed heritage, throw them onto a Latinx telenovela reboot and call it a day, no. Between the Spanish on page, sometimes even without a direct translation, but helped along by context cues, and all the different backgrounds for characters, even the mix within Jasmine’s family alone, it felt full and rich and wonderful. Even better, I loved that the author didn’t include any kind of outsider (or white) character into the story who would then need explanations or to insert themselves into anything or, heaven forbid, rescue our lead or be the voice of reason. And I say that as a white person.

That said, another area where this didn’t quite win for me was the love interest. I could understand and even respect a lot of his choices, his omissions, his behaviours but.. I don’t know. I liked the build-up between our leads, I liked that we started with something like a friendship first, albeit a friendship with a heavy dose of immediate attraction, and while reading about their chemistry I could kinda see where the author was trying to make things happen.. I just didn’t believe it, if that makes sense. That said, the chapters that pulled scenes of their acting onto the page? I thought I would hate that, because I’ve disliked similar things in the past, but during those moments, the fiction within the fiction? I felt the chemistry there for sure. And I liked the behind the scenes staging and choreography of it all. Not sure I’ve seen that done in a book featuring actors before.

So, yeah, a bunch of this I was pretty into. Other bits, not so much. But this is a pretty quick read, with a lot of representation, though there was definitely some stupid drama for the sake of drama which frustrated me, particularly when being created by thirty to forty year successful adults.. eye roll, and a healthy dose of steam. While it won’t make a favourites list for me, I would definitely still recommend it.

4 thoughts on “YOU HAD ME AT HOLA by Alexis Daria”

    1. I love hearing different takes! I’m actually hmm’ing and haw’ing over making some edits to this review because my opinion on the heroine, and one big event, changed the more I thought about it after initially writing this review. but sweet wasn’t a word I would’ve used to descrive it!

      Like

      1. I think at the moment most every romance falls into the too “sweet” category for me. I need some spice and edginess to make it interesting for me. Otherwise I get bored.

        Liked by 1 person

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