Milan, Courtney. Hold Me. [United States]: Courtney Milan, 2016.
eBook | $4.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-1937248499 | 255 pages | NA Contemporary Romance
After hitting it out of the park with her first contemporary, Trade Me, Courtney Milan seems to have stumbled a bit wit the follow up, Hold Me. There’s plenty of great elements here, including her signature engaging writing style, tendency to balance humor with tough issues, and the inclusion of an incredibly diverse cast, with not only people from different ethnic backgrounds, but sexualities and gender identities, represented.
And the two leads, Jay and Maria, are compelling characters individually. I liked Maria in particular, for defying the stereotype that you can’t be focused both on beauty and brains. And like her friend, Tina, she’s a tough cookie who has had to deal with a lot of struggles that informed who she is today, even if at first she comes off as a bit prickly.
Jay is also great, smashing some of the lingering stereotypes about Asian men as attractive romantic interests. I found his family history compelling, and while he does come off as a little bit of an asshole at times, I did feel like he grew as the story went on.
However, this is an enemies-to-lover story, and while I appreciate that it does something a little different by having them also meet and connect online, while bickering in the real world, that also leads to the major disconnect I had with the romance. Once they found out who the other was, things seemed to just transfer to them carving out a relationship, without really patching up their earlier issues. As a result, once the reveal was made, I felt a lot less invested in the future of the relationship, even as some big questions about their future were being posed.
While this is a weaker book, I still enjoyed it, enough to finish it quickly, in roughly the same time I finished its predecessor. And I think, if you loved the first book, or are looking for a diverse contemporary romance, this one is worth a try.
Buy it here: https://amzn.to/37vnFjA