His Perfect Partner by Priscilla Oliveras. Zebra Shout. 2017.
This was a totally satisfying contemporary romance. Perfectly paced, hit every beat exactly right. It was a joy to read, start to finish. The main characters have wonderful chemistry, and the conflict was very well drawn and had my holding my breath at certain points. This is one of the best romances I’ve read in 2017, and its going on my list of comfort rereads.
His Perfect Partner has a couple tropes that I adore, and it hit the core notes of them. I love watching characters fall for single parents, get wrapped up in both child and parent, and fall in love with them as a family. This was completely satisfying on that front: sentimental, swoony, with an adorable child I fell for too. It also hits the mark for a holiday romance, and I loved that about it. So much of the story holds that kind of sweetness and celebration, that centering of family and care. The MCs start off as antagonists, and I really appreciated the way their relationship developed. It was very satisfying to watch them go from being angry and glaring to caring about each other.
It is not as much of a classic dance romance as I anticipated it would be; we spend more time with Yaz as a dance teacher than as a dancer, but I didn’t find myself disappointed there. I really liked the dance teacher aspect a lot. And it definitely made sense given the direction of the story, and the struggle Yaz was grappling with in her own arc. I really liked her arc, thought it was well drawn and compelling, and the pacing of the culmination of it felt exactly right and had me holding my breath. His arc was also satisfying, and really worked for me. This is one of those romances where you want to shake both the MCs and demand they wake up and see whats in front of them; I enjoy those a lot.
One of the central aspects of this story was a parent who is ill, and the way that ripples through a family, and impacts all of them. I was so invested in them as a family by the middle of the book, cared about all three sisters and the father so much, that this arc was intense for me as a reader. As it should be. I really appreciated that this was part of the story, and the care with which this portrayed. It made for an emotional, cathartic read, one that really made room for that emotion and felt like it held it.
All of the central characters in this story are Latinx (the heroine and her family are Puerto Rican and the hero and his family are Mexican American), and I really appreciated how deeply culturally specific so many aspects of the story were, and how much the romance was partly about shared values like familia primero. The interweaving of Spanish and English is part of how the story is told, in both the MC’s internal thoughts and in how characters communicate with each other. I really appreciated that aspect of the storytelling. I had no trouble following with my rusty Spanish from a few years study in high school many years ago. There are enough context cues for these moments that I think it would likely be easy to follow for non-Spanish speakers. The Spanish is italicized, which I know is a bit of a contraversial choice, so I wanted to note that.
This is one of those romances that does not include sex. There are a few heated kisses. That aspect of the story felt like it fit quite well with the arc of the romance, and worked for me.
Overall, I loved this romance, and highly recommend it. It is truly an impressively crafted and deeply satisfying debut, and I can’t wait to read the next book in this series and get to spend more time with this family that has my heart.
- Puerto Rican heroine.
- Mexican American hero.
- Puerto Rican-Mexican American woman author.
Content Warnings (in white, highlight to read)
Parent ill with cancer (lymphoma). Decision to stop cancer treatment. Death of parent. Parental illness and death drives a good portion of the plot.
- Source of the book: ARC from the publisher via NetGalley.
- I have had some contact with the author on Twitter.
Get this book
Buy this book at The Ripped Bodice
Buy this book at Barnes and Noble
Buy this book on Amazon
Add this book on Goodreads