Author: Roni Loren
Narrator: Desire Ketchum
Audiobook Length: 11 hours 20 minutes
Everyone knows Miz Poppy, the vibrant reviewer whose commentary brightens the New Orleans nightlife. But no one knows Hollyn, the real face behind the media star…or the fear that keeps her isolated. When her boss tells her she needs to add video to her blog or lose her job, she’s forced to rely on an unexpected source to help her face her fears.
When aspiring actor Jasper Deares finds out the shy woman who orders coffee every day is actually Miz Poppy, he realizes he has a golden opportunity to get the media attention his acting career needs. All he has to do is help Hollyn come out of her shell…and through their growing connection, finally find her voice.
Yes & I Love You follows Hollyn Tate, a woman with Tourette’s and social anxiety living in New Orleans. Before even beginning this story, I loved this inclusion as I cannot recall a story featuring Tourette’s Syndrome before. She does great behind the scenes as a writer and entertainment reviewer under the pseudonym, Miz Poppy, however, she struggles with nondigital interactions. Jasper Deares is an aspiring actor with ADHD that works in Hollyn’s building, WorkAround, at the coffee shop. He speaks his mind, sometimes without thinking, and provides a nice balance to Hollyn’s more introverted character. When Hollyn is given an ultimatum by her boss to bring Miz Poppy to the front of the camera, Hollyn wonders how best to address the situation. As Jasper loves to do improv, he finds this is the perfect opportunity to help Hollyn become better in front of the camera. The two of them begin to work closely together and start to realize their feelings for the other.
At the beginning of the story, the reader is introduced to Hollyn’s character in the group workspace that she rents. This was a great introduction to her attempting to step out of her comfort zone as it “forces” her to interact a little with others while also having a private workspace. Jasper had a tough upbringing as he bounced around in various foster homes after being abandoned by his parents. He was finally adopted by the Deares family, but still holds the feelings of rejection from his youth. As an actor struggling to get by financially, he currently lives with his sister, but she needs him out soon. His dream is to open his own theatre, which is difficult to do without the funds, and of being a famous on-screen actor, but the opportunities aren’t easy to come by. His character is realistic as he does not have everything figured out at 25 years old and instead, he is trying to find his way through trial and error.
I loved Hollyn’s growth throughout the story. While the premise takes Jasper’s deal to help Hollyn as a way to progress her comfort level in front of an audience, I like that she was already taking steps on her own. This was a great detail as it gave hints that Hollyn could have reached her goal on her own given time and it was solely based on any potential relationship with Jasper. I do wish that the reader saw her life outside of her relationship, such as the girl’s night with Andi. It would have been nice to develop these friendships further as it felt like a missed opportunity to further expand Hollyn’s character. There is some conflict involving Hollyn’s friend, Cal, which I could have lived without as it was resolved quickly; however, this did have a sense of realism as sometimes situations are resolved faster that one expects. As for Hollyn and Jasper, I loved their chemistry from “enemies” to friends to a fake relationship to a potential real couple. Their progression worked well and I loved their open communication.
Overall, this story is perfect for those that love The Kiss Quotient as each feature diverse main characters who begin a fake relationship where the female lead needs to “practice.” While the general premise basics are similar, each story is incredibly unique and I love how this story illustrated fantastic growth for each character. I don’t have personal experience with Tourette’s, so I can’t commentate on the accuracy, but I did love how it was sensitively done. It was a part of Hollyn’s character without being her only defining trait. Jasper’s character was well written as he made a lot of mistakes, but he always tried to learn from them. There were elements of this story that I wish were explored in greater depth, but this novel worked perfectly for me. I cannot wait to read the next novel in the series and I hope it lives up to my now high expectations!