*I received this E-Arc from a GoodReads & William Morrow Publishing giveaway. All thoughts are my own*
Who said telenovelas are just for TV? Alexis Daria spices things up with her new book, You Had Me at Hola, and it's as spicy as a jalapeno pepper! I couldn't get "Ugly Betty" and "Devious Maids" out of my mind while reading it. It has all the ingredients to become an actual television show. The story is told by two Latinx voices; Jasmine Lin Rodriguez, a budding, young soap opera star, and Ashton Suarez, the seasoned misterioso actor. One of the actors was outed via tabloid magazine for a messy breakup, and the other was killed off a top-rated show. Both Jasmine and Ashton must work together to take their careers to the next level. In Hollywood, you make it or get stuck working as a porter at El Pollo Loco. After an embarrassing first impression, Jasmine and Ashton work through the quirks to get their acting relationship to work. Things on set get muy caliente when kinks turn into kinky. "Jasmine and Ashton sitting in a tree, F-U-C-K-I-N …" well, you know the rest. Is their attraction real, or is it just a phase? While their on-screen performances improve, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton's most closely guarded secret.
I want to thank Daria for not making this a cheesy romance novel. I honestly might have never picked this book up if my inner child hadn't noticed the bold colors on the cover. I totally judged a book by its cover, and in this case, I was right to do so. The jacket was so enticing! Such a beautiful canvas deserves all the attention until you open the book and start reading. And to add, my Duolingo is paying off! It seems like all those years of Spanish classes sunk in as I understood about 90% of the Spanish references. A huge wepa to me!
Throughout the book, we see two different stories coming into play. The new television show, "Carmen in Charge," is being shot, and the behind-the-scene story with Jasmine and Ashton. Although the television script is "work," it still plays a considerable part in Jasmine and Ashton's relationship. I think Daria did well with transitioning between on-screen characters and real-life characters. As we're discovering Jasmine and Ashton's feelings for one another, Daria keeps their relationship professional on set. Between sets and rehearsals, working together also gave the actors a chance to let their attraction grow.
Daria's character development was also on point. Jasmine's insecurities and Ashton's paranoia was expressed and championed creatively. Ashton's solution to distance himself and shut everybody out and Jasmine's list, the Leading Lady Plan, her affirmations to do better played out well. They answered the five "W's" that added to the blossoming romance. Their willingness to communicate unblocked their relationship blessings. Their chemistry was infectious and reminds you of your first crush. Falling in love is an incredible, exhilarating moment that Daria expertly captured. Carve out some time to read what has become a favorite romance novella, You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria!