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  • Kristen Alicia

"When I Think of You" by Myah Ariel review

I was lucky enough to receive this ARC from Berkley Publishing and I'm so unbelievably glad I did. Myah Ariel's debut novel is an absolute gem of a story. I laughed, I cried, I swooned, and I loved every moment of it. I was particularly obsessed with the double-dutch scene which gave me all the childhood nostalgia mixed with grown-up appreciation. The spice level was solidly jalapeno and added to the chemistry though this could have been spicier or closed door and the chemistry between Kaliya and Danny would still be palpable.

Ariel's debut follows Kaliya Wilson, a young Black woman with Hollywood dreams stuck doing admin duty behind a reception desk. Her ex-boyfriend, hot-shot director Danny Prescott, throws a wrench into her unsatisfying though predictable life.

Second Chance romances can be polarizing, though I tend to like them. They're a fan favorite. It's me, I'm the fan, and Ariel delivers it beautifully. The chemistry between Kaliya and Danny is undeniable, even after all these years. Their initial breakup isn't necessarily one that could have been solved with a simple conversation which is appreciated. Their past hurt runs deep and can only be resolved together once they are both ready.

You'll find yourself rooting for them to overcome their past and rekindle the flame.

Ariel's background in cinema studies paints a vivid picture of the Hollywood grind and she captures the unforgiving environment through Kaliya's struggle. Kaliya's unfortunate lack of movement in the industry until she reunites with Danny is heartbreaking, especially given her obvious talent. Her experience reminds us that POC and women still struggle in white male-dominated industries, Hollywood being one of them. Ariel's depiction of the film industry gives the story relatable depth.

"When I Think of You" addresses ambition, self-discovery, and following your dreams despite life's inevitable setbacks. It's a story that will resonate with people who have felt stuck or questioned their abilities. In some ways, Kaliya's journey reminds me of Simone's in "You've Been Served." Their ambitions were almost quelled by outside forces but their strengths of character and determination allowed them to keep moving forward.

This book kept me reading late into the night so be warned, you might not be able to put it down. I can't wait to see what Ariel does next!


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