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YES & I LOVE YOU by Roni Loren


by Roni Loren

Pub Date: March 2nd, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-72822-961-4
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

A woman’s crippling anxiety is cured by improv.

Hollyn Tate has a strong following for the New Orleans entertainment column she writes under the pseudonym Miz Poppy. Hollyn is grateful for her anonymity; she has Tourette syndrome, and a lifetime of teasing has led to social anxiety and panic attacks. Hollyn enlists the aid of a therapist, who suggests she force herself to interact with others by renting an office in a building offering flexible “space for the creative.” Hollyn’s facial tics are more pronounced when she meets strangers, which is why her first encounter with Jasper Deares, the cute new office barista, is a total disaster. Jasper is too worried about his own problems to think very much about the rude woman at his workplace, but that night he makes fun of her during his improv troupe’s show—only to discover she’s in the audience. Jasper apologizes and discovers she’s Miz Poppy. They strike up a tentative bargain: He’ll give her one-on-one improv lessons to help her manage her anxiety for an upcoming work project if she’ll give his improv show one more chance and an honest review. Jasper and Hollyn are well matched, and their friendship quickly morphs into a sexy and fun “friends with benefits'' arrangement. Unfortunately, the book’s melodramatic plotting—emergency surgeries, interfering friends, and meddling ex-lovers—means Jasper and Hollyn spend most of the book rushing from one problem to the next. Readers hungry for a sensitive, thoughtful portrayal of mental health issues might find it glib that a few weeks of improv classes, some well-timed pep talks, and a new lover could cure Hollyn of a lifetime of debilitating anxiety.

Fast-paced but unsatisfying.