Here to Stay by Adriana Herrera follows the story of Julia del Mar Ortiz, who finally landed her dream job working for the department store empire Sturm’s down in Dallas. Originally a New Yorker, Julia ended up in Dallas when she followed then boyfriend Matt there. However, in the very first chapter Julia notes that she and Matt broke up and he ended up moving back to New York, leaving her alone in Dallas with a two year lease in a two bedroom apartment. Determined to make things work, Julia hesitantly decides to set some roots in Dallas and figure out her life, all while swearing that she’ll never again follow a man anywhere.
Despite landing her dream job working for the Sturm’s non-profit, her job may be in jeopardy as the Sturms head towards going public with an IPO – meaning there are consultants sniffing around, looking to cut “non-essential” programs to look more attractive to potential investors. One of those consultants sniffing around is Rocco Quinn – the attractive, tall man with piercing blue eyes that could potentially ruin Julia’s life both personally and professionally.
Julia and Rocco are both in unique points in their lives where they both need the same thing. While Julia is trying to put down roots and find her own footing, in order to do so, she needs to start putting herself first and making her own decisions. After following her ex to Dallas and him leaving her somewhat stranded, she had the option to go back home to New York. However, not one to easily quit and uproot herself again, she’s determined to make it work in Dallas. In doing so, she rediscovered herself and realized that despite her family being a plane ride away, they’re always there to support her and will always be welcomed back if that’s what she wants to do.
For Rocco, things are slightly different. This job at Sturm’s is holding a promotion over his head, a much needed one if he plans on getting his sister and baby niece far away from his troubled parents. After meeting Julia and spending time in Dallas, it’s clear that he’s a different Rocco than the one who lives in New York. He’s caught between exploring what he has with Julia, which makes him happy, or getting this promotion to help his sister out. Continuously self sacrificing, like Julia, he’s struggling to make the ‘right’ choice – that’s right for him and not contingent on anyone else.
Overall, I did enjoy Here to Stay. I was so excited to pick up a book written by a fellow Dominican woman, with a Dominican main character. This is my first Adriana Herrera book and won’t be my last! I loved seeing Julia and her family on the pages, and the countless pop culture references. Representation matters people! Though I didn’t like that Julia and Rocco were attracted to each other out of the gate, and the fact that this was one hell of a slow burn, their characters were fleshed out and were compelling enough to keep me reading.
I actually got the second book in the series before this one and held off on reading it until I read Here to Stay. Now that I’m finished, I’m excited to get into the next book!
That said, I give Here to Stay four stars for the representation, the very slow burn, and of course the love story. Have you read Here to Stay? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!