A family affair: "His Perfect Partner" by Priscilla Oliveras

Book: His Perfect Partner by Priscilla Oliveras (Matched to Perfection #1)

Release date: September 26, 2017

Pages: 330

Publisher: Zebra Shout

Genre/category: Contemporary romance

Rating: ★★★

A workaholic single dad and a professional dancer with family obligations and dreams of returning to New York hit it off in this PG romance.

I had a really hard time with this one, and I wanted to love it. I mean, Latinx heroes? Dancing? Adorable plot moppets? Come through, Priscilla. 

But I didn't connect with this one, mostly because it had elements that really turned me off. For one, this is the second romance that I've read recently where a sexy single dad's ex, who is never seen and never gets to speak for herself, is depicted as a selfish woman who abandoned her child. Lately, I don't have a lot of patience for men speaking for women, or for one-dimensional portrayals. You know what I'd love to read, what I'd find way more realistic and compelling? A romance where the ex is still present and yeah, co-parenting is challenging and awkward, but the new love interest and the ex are able to respect each other like mature adults for the sake of the children and because they both acknowledge that they're pretty cool chicks. I would read the crap out of that.

The other thing that bothered me is that Yaz, the heroine, offers to step in and provide free child care — and home-cooked meals! — when Tomas, the father of one of her dance students, gets really busy with an ad campaign and his nanny is unavailable. I get that we're supposed to see that Yaz is a compassionate person who genuinely cares for adorable plot moppet Maria. I also get that it's a convenient way to force the two main characters together. However, it feels like Yaz was really letting herself be taken advantage of. She was back home to care for her sick dad. Would someone in that position really be able to take on that additional responsibility for a stranger?

Then there was the central conflict, which could have been easily solved by the characters honestly addressing whether their career ambitions really were an obstacle to any relationship. It feels like this book was a lot of one character sacrificing things for another, and it didn't feel like an equitable partnership.

I did enjoy all the Spanish in the book, even though as a Spanish speaker, seeing the dialogue immediately repeated with an English translation got a little tedious.

All in all, this was a cute, fun read, and I love seeing a series that centers on Latinas. I might pick up the next book in the series, Her Perfect Affair, because the premise of that one sounds intriguing.