Book review: Carla de Guzman’s “How She Likes It”

Because I am a garbage person, I was unable to finish Carla de Guzman’s “How She Likes It” on the time I was supposed to do so. It wasn’t because of the book though. It’s just that life has been a little tumultuous and it’s only now that I’ve finally had a breather.

But now, NOW, I’ve actually finished reading a book and share my thought on it with you guys. What? You’re not interested in hearing it? Sucks for you! This is still happening!

“How She Likes It” is about Isabel Alonso — heiress, businesswoman, and possible future CEO. Isabel is a force to be reckoned with. She’s tough as nails, intelligent, and has a business sense that makes it clear why she’s being groomed to be a CEO. The only thing missing is a man, but Isabel’s fine without one.

But then she meets single dad Adam Sevilla, and now things are suddenly so much more complicated. Why can’t a girl just have it all?

What I love the most about “How She Likes It” is how it proves that a simple change can immediately revitalize what some may consider a tired trope. How many books have you seen that feature a CEO with an edge and a softer assistant? There’s a lot of them, but Carla simply changing the genders gives the book an energy that compels you to turn the pages.

And the gender choice isn’t just cosmetic. Isabel isn’t a woman who acts like a man. She’s simply a woman who has stopped caring what men think. The reasons for her behavior, her reactions to certain situations, are different from how a male CEO would handle it,  and that is so refreshing.

The friendship between Isabel and Regina was also a delight to read, especially in our Pinoy pop culture landscape where the heroine’s best friend often has to be “less”. There’s none of that between Isabel and Regina; theirs is a relationship between equals.

I also really liked Adam and Isabel’s relationship. Carla makes it clear that both of these characters are far from perfect, but it is their growing affection and love for each other that nudges them towards becoming better versions of themselves.

It’s also really great to see a woman be so powerful — in a non-sexual context — and have the man be turned on by it. If you’re someone who’s only been exposed to old school romances this is certainly refreshing to see.

Another thing to love is that there’s an acknowledgement here of the world outside of the romance. Isabel and Regina constantly acknowledge the privilege they have. There’s also the fact that Adam and Isabel also agree that just because the two of them are in love, it’s not going to mean you’re always going to agree on things. Who said romances are unrealistic?

All in all, “How She Likes It” delivers a story that is very hard not to like. Add it to your book pile now!

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