Take the Lead by Alexis Daria

The stakes are high this season of The Dance Off for Gina Morales. If she doesn’t make it to the finals on the reality show, she’ll be out of a job.

When the celebrity assigned to her, Stone Nielson threatens to crumble all the walls she has built around herself, Gina is compelled to choose between her career and a shot at happiness with Stone.

Read if you like: romance contemporary novels, forbidden love trope, themes of media & dance reality television, books with Latina protagonists, smut

I needed a light, fun read for a change, and Take The Lead was exactly that!

For starters, it’s about a Latina woman who is confident, ambitious, and wears her heart on her sleeve. I am glad that Gina’s character is made to be different from the stereotype of a typical LA woman.

What’s more is that the author goes one step further to make Gina’s story resonate with readers who are public figures themselves.

Her inner turmoil of not being taken seriously, being sexualised as a performer, and not having privacy are all valid concerns that people can relate to in this age of digital stardom.

I used to watch a lot of dance reality shows when I was younger, and this book reminded me of why I enjoyed them.

The reality TV aspect of the story doesn’t overshadow the entire plot; in fact, in several scenes, it’s almost rushed. You actually get to see Stone and Gina’s backstory, their daily struggles, and the connections they have formed with others.

I found a couple of parallels between this novel and You Had Me at Hola, which is also by Alexis Daria.

Women who are in the public eye and colleagues falling for each other seem to be 2 patterns that are common in her works.

While there’s a lot that’s refreshing about Take The Lead, it is built on several romance clichés – miscommunication, forbidden love, hidden feelings, and so on.

Sometimes, it would get so frustrating that they wouldn’t just openly talk about how they feel for each other. But I guess, it’s just human nature?

If you don’t mind that and are looking for a smut book to read, you might want to check this one out.

I like how Gina and Stone’s dance performances mirrored their relationship – with some of the earlier dances being sparkling, resembling how they were getting to know each other, and the later dances being more slow & melodic as they come to terms with their feelings.

The audiobook on Storytel made my reading experience much better! 10/10 recommend it.

Overall, it’s definitely enjoyable! But I wouldn’t say that I loved reading it. I know the author has loads of potential, and I’m waiting to read more of her books.

Published by Meera Nair

A 27 year-old freelance Content Writer, who spends all her free time ensconced in the pages of a book or writing to her heart's content about topics that excite the creative spirit in her.

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