Evelyn Lozada with Holly Lorincz
June 11, 2019
St. Martin’s Griffin
Blurb from Amazon: When a single mom ends up playing an unwilling fake girlfriend to a charming playboy baseball player, love suddenly turns everything upside down in this fun, heartwarming multicultural romance.
Angel Gomez has never lived by the book. A Bronx-based unwed mother by the time she was sixteen, Angel’s personal mission has always been to show the world that a Puerto Rican girl is not to be messed with—especially by a man. The only thing that matters to Angel, now, is providing for her son and earning enough tips at the club to complete her nursing degree along the way. Love is nowhere on her agenda.
Caleb “The Duke” Lewis is a star pitcher for the Bronx Bolts whose romantic escapades make delicious fodder for gossip columns. But lately he’s been trying to keep a lower profile—so much so that when he meets Angel, first while she’s in her nurse uniform and the next time behind the bar, she has no idea who Duke is, fails to fall for his obvious charm, and ends up throwing a drink in his face! She is the perfect woman for Duke…to fool the tabloids into thinking he’s finally settling down. But what begins as a charade soon has Duke and Angel hurtling into a full-blown romance that rocks each of their worlds and begs the question: Is this the real deal—or are some love stories just too good to be true?
SASCHA DARLINGTON’S REVIEW
Very rarely am I on the up side of a YMMV review. Usually I am wondering how readers are loving a book I couldn’t stand, that was poorly written, etc. Yet here I am, wondering how I enjoyed a book that readers found misogynistic (?!) with unlikable characters. So, let’s wade through this and see what’s what.
First off, The Perfect Date is not your typical romance. I don’t believe that it’s intended to be. You might be led to believe that it’s a Cinderella story, but this Cinderella, Angel Gomez, is working two jobs, is a single mother caring for an asthmatic son she had at 15 when she was abandoned by the baby’s father, and is now finishing up her nursing degree. She rocks. She doesn’t take sh*t from anyone, but she has her good friends who she loves and who look after her like family, especially her neighbor Gabriela. I just have to mention how truly much I enjoyed that part of the story, how Gabriela and Latisha and the others in the beauty salon band together to help Angel. Even though they aren’t family, they are family. They are the best family.
The Prince in this story is Duke, a once star pitcher for the Yankees who was inured in a shooting that killed his best friend. Duke hasn’t healed, and it’s that time of year again when players are getting on the field and strutting their stuff, but Duke doesn’t have any stuff to strut. Duke is messed up, but he has a good heart shown by how he talks down Jose, Angel’s son, in the waiting room when Jose is going through an asthma attack and generally tries to do the right thing. While he also is up and down in his initial treatment of Angel, I really can’t say that this is extremely different from other books I’ve read where readers enjoy their alpha bad boys. Duke is depicted as a real person with failings; he is not overly bad nor overly good.
There is a lot of drama. But not angst. By now, you know that if there’s angst, all of that: poor, poor me stuff and self-absorption and pouting that I’m out the door. No. There’s drama, but it’s the kind of drama that has you flipping pages. It’s the kind of drama where I felt bad for the tough 23-year old Angel, who’s trying to navigate situations she’s never been in before with types of people she’s never had to associate with before. She was great. She has guts and is kickass.
There are bad guys. Duke’s father can be unpleasant. Dr. Collins who seemingly holds Angel’s career in the palms of his lecherous hands is very unpleasant. There are cowards and greedy beyotches.
But, I liked this story. I liked the moments of humor. I liked how it made a statement about how Latino and black children react differently to asthma and its medications and how this needs to be investigated and treated.
This was a story about People of Color written by a Person of Color, so #ownvoices is very relevant.
Misogyny? No, the the author was not misogynistic. She did, however, portray several men behaving badly and unless you live under a blanket or a rock or some other obscure place, this happens. If you’re a woman, you know this happens and I believe the author only offered a reality that many women face. Perhaps it was heightened drama…or not. I can certainly never speak for all of the things that can happen to attractive young women in a man’s world, especially in environs where I’ve never been.
At the end of the day, I liked The Perfect Date more than I expected and found it to be the an engrossing read.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Angel Gomez hissed under her breath.
Claro. Of course. If she was going to get a paper cut, it would be from the page illustrating the male reproductive system. The twenty-three-year-old sucked at the thin line of blood on the web of her hand, squinting hard at the flayed cojones in her anatomy textbook.
As a nursing student, Angel knew the male anatomy— from the bulb to the external urinary meatus—but her ability to reel off the Latin names of penis parts seemed to scare the living, breathing version away.
Not that I want a man, she reminded herself, her inner voice stern. Focus, girl.
Dark spirals of hair popped free from her ponytail as she bent closer to her textbook. Concentration was elusive. She closed the window next to her with a shriek of metal on metal, shutting out the gray February breeze and the number 4 train running on the elevated tracks down Jerome Avenue. She tilted her head, listened.
What is that? Breathing. It was gaspy, heavy breathing, coming from the depths of the worn corduroy couch behind her. Angel twisted in her chair.
“Jose,” she said, too loudly, knocking pages of lecture notes off her makeshift desk on the radiator.
“Mama, I’m fine,” the seven-year-old boy muttered. He turned up the live radio stream coming from the decrepit laptop and avoided her eyes.
“Go get your inhaler. Now.”
“Just a minute. The Duke is about to pitch.”
Faintly, she could hear Suzyn Waldman, longtime announcer for the Bronx Bolts, adding color to a local charity game. “He’s winding up and . . . another beauty, right over the plate . . . Ohh no, the batter’s hit a hard foul right into the dugout.” The announcer clucked, but then, “What’s this? The Duke seems to want off the mound.”
“No!” Jose yelled at the computer, as if it could hear his complaint.
“His ankle may still be giving him problems.”
“Jose! What’d I tell you?”
Jose’s face shone with perspiration as he stomped past her, wheezing down the hall to his room. That beautiful pouty face, she thought. His bronze complexion, a shade darker than hers, was the perfect blend of her and his father. Jose’s dad was long gone, however—the high school quarterback had disappeared when he found out his fifteen-year-old girlfriend was pregnant, but not before slapping her around, yelling, “That ain’t my kid.” Angel had shoved him into the hallway, slammed the door in his face. She didn’t want him. She didn’t need him.
Two years after Jose was born, her mother died. Angel was seventeen. She almost buckled from the pressure of the responsibility to care for another, tiny human. She had no safety net. His dark eyes, staring up at her with such adoration . . . She’d shoved steel into her spine, stood up straight, and vowed her boy would be safe, happy, and healthy on her watch.
And she was doing it.
In a few more weeks, she’d be done with nursing school and would take her final boards. She survived by putting her head down and pushing through, focused on getting them out of this decrepit apartment building filled with dust and screeching train brakes. She kept the rest of the world’s bullshit at arm’s length.
From The Perfect Date. Copyright © 2019 by Evelyn Lozada and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Griffin.
EVELYN LOZADA, is a high-profile American-Latina reality television personality, entrepreneur, author and philanthropist. She is best known for her role on VH1’s hit series Basketball Wives (2010-present), OWN’s hit series Livin’ Lozada (2015), author of the first installment of the book series: The Wives Association: Inner Circle (2012) and creator of Healthy Boricua (A Puerto Rican Lifestyle Guide to Healthy Living). Evelyn has become a national trendsetter, a “go to” fitness export, jewelry designer, fashion and beauty maven, social media royalty and a stimulating voice and proactive supporter of causes that effect women and girls through the Evelyn Lozada Foundation. Evelyn is a Bronx native, mother of two (Shaniece Hairston and Carl Leo Crawford) who currently resides in Los Angeles.
Holly Lörincz is a successful collaborative writer and owner of Lorincz Literary Services. She is an award-winning novelist (Smart Mouth, The Everything Girl) and co-author (best-selling Crown Heights, and How to Survive a Day in Prison) living in Oregon.