For single Houston gal Jessica Luna, deciding what she really wants involves searching for signs and sage advice from a fortune-teller in Zepeda's snazzy first novel (after short story collection To the Last Man I Slept With and All the Jerks Just Like Him). The superstitious Latina becomes devoted to Madame Hortensia, a psychic with questionable abilities (but a good heart) after three eerie predictions come true. So it's with Hortensia's help that Jessica hopes to overcome her professional, personal and romantic woes. Jessica has a B.A. in art history yet unhappily toils for an insurance firm, is torn between two men-one a sexy but flaky artist, the other a rich but snobby businessman-and believes her parents may be on the verge of divorce. Jessica's evolution from self-uncertainty to self-empowerment is amusingly charted, and Zepeda's take on the popular fascination with good luck charms, horoscopes, psychics and unreliable predictions is laced with rueful zeal. (Jan.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Houston, We Have a Problemaby Gwendolyn Zepeda
Jessica Luna is your typical 26 year old: she has man trouble, mom trouble, and not a clue what to do with her life (though everyone else in her family seems to have plenty of suggestions!) After a lifetime of being babied by her family, Jess is incapable of trusting herself to make the right choices. So instead, she bases all of her life decisions on signs. She looks to everything for guidance, from the direction her rearview-mirror-Virgin-de-Guadalupe sways to whatever Madame Hortensia, her psychic, sees in the cards.
When her sort-of boyfriend Guillermo, a gifted unmotivated artist, disappoints her again, Jessica thinks it's time to call it quits. Just to be sure, she checks in with Madame Hortensia who confirms that yes, it is time for a change. (Who knew $20 could buy so much security!) Right on cue, Jess meets Jonathan; he's the complete opposite of Guillermo--of all Jess's boyfriends, in fact. He's successful, has a stable job....and is white. Jess isn't sure if Jonathan is really the change Madame Hortensia saw. Sure he gives great career advice, but is he advising her on a career she actually wants? And yes he's all about commitment, but is it Jess or her mother who really wants marriage?
Jess runs back to Madame Hortensia for advice, but even she is out of answers. Now there's only one thing that's certain: no one--not her mother, her sister, her boyfriend or her psychic--can tell her what to do. For better or for worse, Jess will have to take the plunge and make her own decisions if she wants to have any future at all.
- Grand Central Publishing
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- Hachette Digital, Inc.
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Meet the Author
Gwendolyn Zepeda lives in Houston, Texas. Her blog gwenworld.com and her first book To The Last Man I Slept With and All the Jerks Like Him have been mentioned in the NY Post and Seattle Post. Zepeda is a member of Nuestra Palabra, which hosts Houston's Latino Book and Family Fesitval, the largest book festival in Texas.
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Gwen Zepeda's novel HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEMA is bound to be pushed into some pretty narrow genre categories -- latina chick lit, perhaps -- which is a pity, because Zepeda has written an engaging and fun work that transcends its regional and cultural environment and is quite simply a well-written and entertaining piece of work. Jessica Luna is a single twentysomething standing on the edge of change. She finds herself confronting the prospects of changing jobs while at the same time hurtling towards decisions that must be made in her dating life, romantic choices that seem to mirror her career in flux. She jockeys for promotion at an insurance company job that she finds unfulfilling even as she dreams of a career in the art world. At the same time, she teeters between Jonathan, the successful Anglo executive who represents safety but also a step away from her passion and her culture, and the temperamental artist Guillermo, who frustrates her with his unreliability even as he haunts her on a visceral, emotional level. Jessica's superstitious nature leads her to consult Madame Hortensia, a pragmatic fortune teller whose guidance mostly serves to turn her gaze inward. Jessica Luna will find her own answers, if only she can learn to trust her heart. HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEMA reads like good solid chick lit, but Zepeda delves into topics of race and family dysfunction that give the novel an unexpected depth. It does so, however, with subtlety and humor, and most of all with nuanced, believable characters. This isn't a book I would have naturally gravitated to, mostly because of the genre, but to have missed out on this charming story would have been a real pity. I've been aware of Gwen Zepeda's writing for a while, but with HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEMA, she now has my undivided attention.
Jessie learns about her own racism and how to pick a man based on his character and not the color of his skin. A cute, quick girly read, for females of any color, because it applies to us all.
I read a lot and it's rare that the books I read take place in my home state - let alone my home town - so it was neat to see that. She has great characters and a gift of words - great read!
Houston, We Have A Problema is the story of Jessica Luna and her various life trials. She is trying to come to terms with her own racial identity, the racial identity of others, familial expectation and career aspirations. The story follows her through destructive relationships, conflicts with her family, and failed (and successful) career aspirations.
Needless to say I loved this book. I was so entertained by this book. I had trouble putting it down. I feel in love with Jessica on page one and was sad to leave her at the end of the book. Jessica was such a compelling character even though there was nothing really extraordinary about her. She is a normal girl in her early 20¿s trying to find her way. I can really identify with that. I found myself laughing sometimes because something in Jessica¿s life reminded me so much of my own life. Jessica is a character you will cheer for. She never becomes boring or annoying as some characters can become. Zepeda portrays Jessica¿s faults as well as her virtues equally. Another particular draw to Houston, We Have A Problema is Zepeda¿s writing style. It is so vibrant, so engaging. The author really draws you into the story from the beginning.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a really, really good book to distract them. It is wonderful. I can¿t wait to see what Gwendolyn Zepeda does next.
Jessica Luna is your typical mid-twenties girl. She has trouble with her boyfriends, argues with her mom and sister and is confused about where her life is going. Everyone around her tells her what to do. Jessica is at a loss to make her own decisions and so she consults a psychic and watches for signs to base her decisions on.
Her boyfriend, Guillermo, is your basic friends with benefits even though she likes to think that it's something more. When she checks with the local psychic, Madame Hortensia, she's told it's time for a change. This happens about the same time that she meets Jonathan. Unfortunately, Jonathan is the complete opposite of Guillermo, and what Jessica thought she wanted in a boyfriend. But Jessica finds that she really likes Jonathan in spite of the differences. In the midst of all the dating chaos Jessica questions the direction her career is going. To add to her confusion. her parents seem to be splitting up and as Jessica becomes more confused about who she should pick and what she should do about her career and her family, she visits Madame Fortensia repeatedly until even the psychic is out of answers.
Eventually Jessica learns she to have the courage to make her own decisions and go after what she wants in order to claim her future.
This book was really good. It has a strong latino theme to it, but it definitely crosses all cultures with the themes of growing up, tolerance and acceptance.
In Houston twenty ¿six year old single Jessica Luna is perhaps the most superstitious person in Texas; she will argue otherwise insisting it is a survival technique to dealing with her family especially her mom and older sister. She depends totally on psychic Madame Hortensia for guidance and buys special good luck gizmos from the spiritualist especially after the clairvoyant makes three predictions that all happen.
Jessica has decisions to make as she loathes her job in insurance even with a promotion coming her way when she would prefer to use her Art History degree. However, it is the two men recently in her life who represents her work vs. her vocation whom she must choose from. Guillermo the lazy flaky Latino artist and a prim and proper white businessman Jonathan are attracted to her. Jessica turns to her advisor Hortensia for her job decision and for which man she should select.
HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEMA is an entertaining lighthearted Latina chick lit romp focusing on the metamorphosis of a young woman lacking confidence in herself so she depends on amulets, horoscopes, and psychic reading, etc. to boost her esteem. Readers will root for her while enjoying the amusing antics of Madame Hortensia, the psychic whose objective is contact with dead presidents on official government paper yet has a consciousness. Fans will enjoy this fascinating coming of age tale with a psychic dependence twist starring a passionate believer who relies on undependable forecasts to make her decisions.