Take the Lead is the perfect read for reality show lovers

Hello Book lovers! I am back with another book recommendation. Today’s recommendation is for the contemporary romance lovers and for fans of Alexis Daria.

Take the Lead is Alexis Daria’s debut novel. And in case you didn’t know I love Alexis Daria’s writing. She knows how to craft the perfect romance with longing, pining, misunderstanding, and the sex scenes are great too. Take the Lead was published in 2017 as an ebook only but was reprinted and given a little text update just this year. Shout out to Netgalley, for the Advanced Reader’s copy of Take the Lead.

I received an advanced readers copy from Netgalley but all opinions and reviews are my own.


Gia Morales is waiting for her big break, but for now she’s a coach on a hit reality show Dance Off, where stars compete against each other in elegant dances. Gia has never won the championship, but she has high hopes when she’s partnered with Stone Nielson, star of an Alaskan survivalist show. Gia and Stone have great chemistry, and Dance Off producers notice it too. But Neither Gia or Stone want to star in their own Showmance.

Stone dreams of returning to Alaska and living in solitude, but he knows he must win the Dance Off if he ever hopes to turn that future into a reality.

Gia and Stone are killing it on the show, and their attraction only grows but can either of them risk a romance knowing they desire different things at the end of the competition?


A delectable reality show-style romance. If you’re a fan of dancing with the stars, you’ll devour Take the Lead. 

This novel reminded me a lot of Alexis Daria’s “You had me at Hola” in the sense that both characters try to keep their relationship a secret from the press. The vibe in this novel was also very similar. And I loved that our protagonist Gia hails from New York but has roots in Puerto Rico. I love when authors add tiny crumbs of cultures in their romance novels, and I especially love when Latine/x authors do it because Latin America is so vast, and the countries differ so much from each other when it comes to food and culture.  

Take the Lead takes lots of inspiration from reality tv shows, but the drama created in this novel is so much more entertaining! As mentioned, Gia and Stone hesitate to get involved because they don’t want to risk heartbreak at the end of their time together. Okay I get it, and I ate up that forbidden aspect of their relationship. But I also loved that Gia and Stone look out for each other throughout this novel. Gia looks out for Stone making sure he doesn’t get overwhelmed by the big city, and Stone puts his all into dance practice because he knows Gia could lose her job if she doesn’t win that season.

I think Take the Lead does a great job of developing both Gia and Stone’s characters because both go from knowing exactly what they want career wise to learning to leave some room in their life for each other.

That said, there is an instant towards the end of this novel that felt out of character. As mentioned, Stone and Gia look out for one another, and they very much understand the other, but an incident towards the end that ultimately breaks them up. I found it odd, and something Stone wouldn’t have done, but I guess the plot needed some conflict.

This novel is in the dual POV of Gia and Stone, which I think worked well and allowed readers to really get to know the characters. 

Which reminds me, this novel has plenty of sexual content and spicy scenes that readers can enjoy. I especially thought the smut scene in Alaska was wild.

The ending up this novel is sweet. I loved the cozy ending, and how the characters ultimately got what they wanted. I also thought it was sweet that Gia brings her culture with her to her new home with Stone!

Overall, I would recommend Take the lead as a fun romance read but specifically for fans of reality shows and readers who love drama. Once again thank you Netgalley for the arc.

Here are some content warnings for this novel: sexual content, alcohol, emotional abuse, panic attacks, sexual harassment.

Until my next post I’ll be living in libros,


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