I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Swerve on October 3rd 2017
Gina Morales wants to win. It’s her fifth season on The Dance Off, a top-rated network TV celebrity dance competition, and she’s never even made it to the finals. When she meets her latest partner, she sees her chance. He's handsome, rippling with muscles, and he stars on the popular Alaskan wilderness reality show Living Wild. With his sexy physique and name recognition, she thinks he’s her ticket to the finals—until she realizes they’re being set up.
Stone Nielson hates Los Angeles, he hates reality TV, and he hates that fact that he had to join the cast of the The Dance Off because of family obligations. He can’t wait to get back to Alaska, but he also can’t deny his growing attraction to his bubbly Puerto Rican dance partner. Neither of them are looking for romantic entanglements, and Stone can’t risk revealing his secrets, but as they heat up the dance floor, it’s only a matter of time until he feels an overwhelming urge to take the lead.
When the tabloids catch on to their developing romance, the spotlight threatens to ruin not just their relationship, but their careers and their shot at the trophy. Gina and Stone will have to decide if their priorities lie with fame, fortune, or the chance at a future together.
Take The Lead is Alexis Daria’s debut novel and a pretty good debut at that. Take the Lead is centered around Gina and Stone who are competing on a reality TV competition similar to Dancing with the Stars. This is the second book that I’ve read that has dealt with reality TV, the other one is Kissed by Reality by Carrie Aarons but that is more of a bachelor style book.
One of my favorite things about Take The Lead is that I felt like I was watching the show while I turned the page. I loved learning about the different dance styles and how much time goes into perfecting each routine. The book mainly focuses on the first couple weeks of the competition then fast-forwards towards the end of the competition. I personally would have liked it to be just a tad bit slowed down so that we could truly see Gina and Stone grow together.
Gina and Stone had chemistry from their first meeting and that left me turning the page to find out if they were going to fight their attraction or give in. There were times where I wanted to smack both of them for their lack of communication that could have avoided most of their problems (but what fun would that have really been?) but I also liked that they learned from their miscommunications. I also felt like Stone was the only who really grew in this book. I felt like he really broke out of his shell and went for what he wanted. Gina, of course grew but I didn’t feel like she grew the way Stone did.
I especially liked Daria’s tackle on two subjects that I tend to argue with most people in my life. Gina was determined to keep her relationship with Stone a secret because she didn’t want to contribute to the stereotype of the sexualized, promiscuous Latina. I also loved that Gina stood her ground when it came to how she wanted the media to portray herself even if I didn’t agree 100% with it. I understood her wanting to set a good example for her nieces and other little girls watching the show. I also thought it was excellent that Daria brought up how men and women are treated in the industry. Men are often applauded for sleeping with their co-stars while the women are labeled and often lose jobs because of it. Is it fair? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
Overall, I enjoyed this debut novel and will definitely continue the series. Daria has a ton of room for growth and has potential and I can’t wait to see her grow as an author. And if you want to read a better review on Take The Lead you should read Taryn’s review that you can find here.