Wanting something different with a "found family" trope? Try new-to-me author, Ms. Herrera's Here to Stay. When it comes to characters, I am used to basically seeing everyone in my mind as a white person. Not because I prefer to "white wash" characters, but because I am surrounded by white people and that is what I visualize for the most part, even if I am 100% Asian ethic ancestry. There have been arguments that there are not enough authors who write People of Colour (POC). Rather than go into the whining and griping of POC authors who think they aren't getting their books published because of their skin tone, I'm going to highlight all the wonderful things I see in Ms. Herrera's book and why I recommend it.
I know very little about people from a Latinx culture as I reside in the Midwest of the States. I have worked with several but we don't really share our cultures as much during work. Seeing a point of view in the business world from two characters that are of Latinx backgrounds is enlightening. I loved how Ms. Herrera peppers the dialog with Spanish. I don't know much Spanish but I understand enough to follow the words she used. Plus she does translate here and there.
But any author can pull in a few Google translates to add in the Spanish flair. What Ms. Herrera does, is create characters who live and experience what it is like to be a POC in a field that may not have that many POC in the States. The subtle difference of how people are treated and how they respond to others is educational and written in a very tasteful way. I also really liked the "putting the money at the mouth" culture in the business that was featured in the story. From the hard conflicts, feeling of isolation to finding the right "tribe", all the character building, world building and plots worked for me. Ms. Herrera did a lovely job, down to the ending where it wasn't exactly magically happily ever after, it is more true to the real world.
So why did I rate it a 3.5 star? This is 100% due to the miscommunications between the two main characters, Julia and Rocco. It frustrated me to no end with their mixed signals and inability to communicate. I say this because Julia's profession should have placed her in the position where she was able to use her words. She wasn't which surprised me because several times, she behaved in an empathic way and used her profession to respond accordingly to Rocco. The second reason why I rated it a bit lower is because the romance was too slow for me. Maybe I'm too straightforward or maybe I'm too old to play the texting games and "she loves me; she loves me not" games. This could have been left out or edited.
Overall, this book holds a bigger impact in shining a light to how to help those who need help. It is more than just food and shelter. In addition, the building of a "found family" is heartwarming and I loved it. This contemporary romance is recommended to readers who enjoy learning about other cultures and seeing example of what a true social justice warrior means. Because both Rocco and Julia are #rolemodels.
*provided by NetGalley