Hello! Today I have a review of “Ana Takes Manhattan” by Lissette Decos, which came out at the end of February.
An advanced finished copy of “Ana Takes Manhattan” was provided to me by Forever Publishing for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Read on to check out the official synopsis of the book, my review, and a bit about the author!
Fans of Abby Jimenez and Alexis Daria will love this novel about one New York City woman skilled in producing swoon‑worthy reality TV shows but whose own life is a mess, with nothing ever going according to plan.
Ana Karina loves her job—though she isn’t quite where she thought she’d be by now. As reality tv producer, she orchestrates extravagant marriage proposals that always (read: mostly) go as planned. If they don’t, she’s not afraid to cut and paste scenes to perfection afterward. Even if her arrogant film editor isn’t a fan. But what does he know about romance anyway?
If only Ana’s love life was as simple as fixing botched engagements. She’s sick and tired of guys who give her the ick. Open‑toed sandals? Gross. Mr. Casual. No, thanks. Barcode tattoo? Cut! Ana’s got a mile‑long list of all the cringey things to steer clear of. And Ana loves lists. Her to‑dos for her best friend’s wedding, show ideas to pitch, and even her list of what she does want in Mr. Right. With only four requirements, why is it taking so long to find him?
She refuses to put her life on hold waiting. She’ll just date four men who each embody one quality. Never mind them lacking in other departments. Yet as she finds the Prince Charming in every frog, she also gets closer to facing who she’s avoided for years. Herself.
“Ana Takes Manhattan” was an interesting one and I find myself neither singing its praises to friends, nor ripping it to shreds. It’s a book that fell right in the middle for me and one I likely will only read once.
To start with what I did like about this book–the plot. Ana is in her 30s and is a producer on a reality TV show about surprise proposals, and she is constantly surrounded by picture perfect moments while her life is sorta passing her by. She can’t seem to find the perfect guy with all the qualities she wants, so she juggles four men who satisfy one quality each from her list–someone who gives her butterflies, someone who is a talented artist, someone who is a true romantic, and someone who makes her laugh.
I thought this was a very interesting take on the idea that we’re all searching for that one person who fulfills every quality on our “list” of what we want, yet that person likely doesn’t exist. I’ve never read a book where our main character fulfills her needs by assigning each quality to one guy–it was smart and funny. While I of course don’t agree with it, and could see things going wrong a mile away, it made for a fun story.
A moment that really, really stuck out to me that I loved, was this tender moment Ana has with her father towards the end of the book. No spoilers of course, but it was such a pivotal moment for Ana’s character and I was very happy with it.
Now, onto some of the not so great things that sort of bugged me. The first and biggest being Ana’s best friend Gia. While I can appreciate their friendship and love how fiercely they support each other, how am I meant to like Gia when I only get a surface understanding of her? She’s shallow, hypocritical, and this odd mix of non-confrontational and fully ready to fight. We never really dig into Gia so her actions through Ana’s eyes never made any sense to me.
One big thing I was hoping for was for her or Ana or someone to confirm that Gia and her fiancé, Matt, have an open relationship or that he’s at least aware that she is texting multiple guys and likely in love with another, all while planning her wedding to him. I could care less if Gia and Matt are monogamous, I just want to know that there’s transparency between them because why get married if you’re keeping secrets???? Speaking of, Ana is fully aware of what Gia is doing, so is Ana keeping it a secret from Matt too while never telling Gia what she’s doing isn’t fair?? Because that tells me a lot about Ana’s character and definitely changes how I feel.
Another place where transparency comes into play is with Ana and the four men she’s juggling. She never explicitly states to any of them that she’s in dating mode and nothing is serious. I get why for the sake of the book we’d have maybe one or two guys who she struggled to be fully transparent with, but ALL FOUR? Come on, girl. It felt a little cheat-y.
Now, as are far as the four men are concerned? Ana, DO BETTER. I get why she chose these four men, I really do. And we have that big moment where she herself realizes why she chose these four men. But, GIRL. All I gotta say is: TJ, really? REALLLLY?????
My biggest upset with the book was the ending. It was just fine. It didn’t blow me away and felt a bit rushed. I do not think we got enough of her and her endgame to be satisfied. While I understand this is women’s fiction and not really romance, the bulk of the book revolves around her dating life so I expected more. We hardly see endgame and that makes me sad because I felt there could have a been a lot more to him.
Overall, it was a decent quick read. Like I said, I probably won’t read it again, but I do appreciate that this book was unlike a lot I’ve read plot-wise.
★★★☆☆ = 3/5 stars
About The Author
Lissette Decos is a Cuban American executive television producer with over fifteen years’ experience in reality TV formats. Shows such as TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, 90 Day Fiancé, and Bravo’s Summer House have helped mold her skills in telling an engaging and oftentimes unconventional love story. In addition to the “unreal” world of reality TV, Lissette also spent a decade in New York as a staff producer for MTV.