cover image Make Him Look Good

Make Him Look Good

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, Author . St. Martin's $22.95 (376p) IS

Bestseller Valdes-Rodriguez (Playing with Boys ) shows she can brand name–drop with the best of them in her third chica lit offering, a busy celebrity fantasy populated by six women and the "him" of the title, Latin pop sensation Ricky Biscayne. Beyond product placement for Rock & Republic jeans, Dolce & Gabbana shoes and Cristal (and that's just the first page), this Miami yarn is heavy with dramatic touchstones: an abandoned child, domestic abuse, sibling rivalry, romantic infidelities and the pregnancy of Ricky's wife, Jasminka. Narrated mostly by Ricky's new publicist, Milan, the story shifts perspectives—sometimes changing narrators without warning—among Milan's sister, nightclub entrepreneur Geneva, Ricky's high school flame Irene, fatherless teenager Sophia, the famous (and familiar) singer/actress/brand Jill Sanchez, and Jasminka. Though a boon plot-wise, this crowd gives individuals little room to come alive; mostly, characters are either underdeveloped (Jasminka) or conform to types (Jill and Geneva), and they all resemble celebrities (Ricky: a "less greasy Antonio Banderas," Geneva: a "slightly prettier Penelope Cruz"). The villainous portrayal of Jill, obviously modeled after a real-life pop star, is particularly unimaginative, as is the predictable message she sets up. Despite these problems, however, our refreshingly imperfect and insecure heroine, Milan, shines, and there are enough reversals of fate and fortune to make this a satisfying read. (Apr. 18)