Yes & I Love You by Roni Loren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Yes and I loved this book! Hollyn and Jasper were so perfectly imperfect and 100% made for each other.
Hollyn is a girl with a secret – a secret identity that is. As the popular nightlife reviewer, Miz Poppy, Hollyn lets her personality shine though sassy snark and sparkly innuendo. But Hollyn as Hollyn? She’s too busy battling severe social anxiety and trying to control her tics to let anyone close enough to see the real her. But she’s listening to her therapist; she’s working at a co-working space. She’s interacting with other people, if briefly. She’s even spoken to the cute new barista, although he might think she hates him. She’s trying.
Then her boss drops a metaphorical bomb on her. Hollyn has to switch from written reviews to making videos as Miz Poppy or lose her job and her rights to her own pen name. She’s desperate – even desperate enough to turn to that cute (okay fine, hot) new barista for help through…improv.
Jasper can’t believe he’s working as a barista again. He never thought he’d be back to slinging coffee at his age (this is a joke because he’s 25 and like, dude, chill but I digress). His life is improv and all he wants is for him and his improv team to be the success he knows they can be. That they could have been if he hadn’t left last year…but he’s back and determined to work his ass off to prove the foster kid with ADHD can become something. He can’t afford distractions, especially in the form of an attraction to a certain curly-haired blonde with surprising amounts of snark. Absolutely no feelings and definitely no relationships.
What Jasper can do, is help Hollyn prepare for her video debut with private improv lessons in exchange for an honest review of his improv group from THE Miz Poppy. Sure, they have chemistry – a lot of chemistry – but they can ignore it. Everything is going to work out. And if it doesn’t, well they’ll just have to improv.
To start, I don’t have severe anxiety or Tourettes, so I cannot say with certainty how well the representation is done, however it felt respectful and authentic. I loved that Hollyn was already in therapy and working with a professional to help her overcome the barriers her anxiety created for her. She pushes herself every day by going into work and facing the world head on, the perfect example (in my opinion) of a strong female lead.
Jasper is a bit of a mess, in completely different ways. But he’s so earnest and just tries so hard to be the best he can be. And he’s so swoony with Hollyn. I couldn’t. Also…the sex is really hot. So there’s that.
Bit of a spoiler:
There is a third act conflict that I didn’t love, but that I completely understood due to Jasper’s background and how he believes success is defined. Especially after his sister kicked him out of her apartment because she was moving in with her boyfriend and she essentially told him the whole family thought the improv thing wasn’t working and that he needed to get a “real” job. I’m also a little upset that there was no, like, resolution or apology there. After he moved out, we don’t really see or hear about his sister again, but I would have liked a “we’re so proud of you” moment from his family.
I also adored Hollyn’s newly acquired, true-crime podcasting friend Andi (whose book comes out later this year!) and hope we get to see more of her best friend Cal later. (Did I forget to mention there’s a whole subplot with that one there too?)
Anyhoo, this is long, but I really loved this book!
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Yes & I Love You by Roni Loren