Houston, We Have a Problema

Houston, We Have a Problema

by Gwendolyn Zepeda


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446698528
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 01/08/2009
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.20(d)

About 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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Houston, We Have a Problema 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
miamismartgirl09 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thoutgh that this book was very funny. Many of the characters are well written and have depth.Jessica is a very strong character (and shares my name!) and I loved how she thought about her problems, either with her love life, her job or her family.I say "Si!" to this book!
Scrabblenut on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately, this book failed to get me interested. I just didn't care about the main character and her problems, and the story seemed to be going nowhere. I was expecting it to be more humourous but did not find it very funny.
Jacey25 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the sometimes amusing sometimes frustrating tale of a girl who hates to make decisions and is in the process of growning up (slowly & painfully as most of us do). I loved her superstitious reliance upon signs to point her in a certain direction and how she would ignore the signs until she read them in favor of what she wanted to do; I used to do the same thing myself :) It was interesting to get a slice of Latina culture but overall this was a quick fun slice of chick lit that I would reccomend to any girl with a couple of hours to kill- especially if you're superstitious.
Phantasma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Much more race-related than I was expecting. It wasn't quite as quirky or fun as I had hoped by the jacket copy. There's not much to say about this book other than that it was misrepresented and rather boring. I'd never have requested it if I'd known it was mostly going to be about the main character's anguish over her racism.
whitreidtan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This fluffy bit of chick lit had a cute premise for a story: the main character has trouble making decisions in her life so she consults a fortune teller whenever she is at a crossroads. At least this is what the jacket copy promised. Unfortunately, since this is what interested me most about the book, this plot contrivance actually appeared fairly infrequently and without adding a single thing to the story. I think it actually detracted, as if the author suddenly realized she hadn't had Jessica visit the supposedly terribly important psychic so she dropped a scene in gratuitously. Other than this disappointment, the novel wasn't all bad. It was a pretty standard fluff book with a slight surprise ending but chick lit readers won't be surprised when I say that Jessica, our main character, learns a lot about herself and her prejudices, leading her to a happier, more fulfilled life both professionally and personally. A nice enough book to while away an afternoon with, it was ultimately merely the dreaded "okay."
PhaedraB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It is a light, breezy read, decently written and quite engaging. Ms. Zepeda¿s characters felt honest and believable, and I cared about what would happen to them. Plus, the psychic, Madame Hortensia, is adorable. My husband and I both read cards professionally, and we were quite charmed by the way she was portrayed. As a matter of fact, that¿s why I chose this book, as I collect fiction with tarot and occult themes. Otherwise, I might not have chosen something from a genre like this. However, I am willing to examine my literary prejudices in favor of any future works by Ms. Zepeda.
calexis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've always wondered what going to a psychic is actually like. I don't know if this book portrays the psychic well.. but I found Madame Hortensia acting as some kind of life counselor for Jessica. And for her to blow her cover about her psychic powers... well I thought that was kind of... out of character but showed compassion in the book.This novel was about a girl who was stuck in her life that seemed to offer no chances. She kept turning to other people for advice and it was about her journey to finding herself and realizing that if she wants changes, she's gotta make them herself. It was an empowering book to say the least. There are times that you feel like Jessica was flawed and blind to her own faults... but you also forgive her for those because she learns from her mistakes and her blunders are real. I think we all know that sometimes our feelings can betray us and that it doesn't always agree with reason.It is also a book that shows the tension for Mexicans in America. I think that this racial tension applies to everyone who doesn't fit under the "white" umbrella. But it's about how racism is two-sided. That at times, it is the multiracial people who discriminate the white. And it gives you a nice perspective into that, and coming away with it, Jessica and readers learn to look beyond that and deal with life as it is.
phyllisd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Houston, We Have a Problema falls into the genre of women's contemporary fiction. Jessica Luna is a young career woman who becomes disillusioned when live doesn't go the way she expected. Seeking something to blame, she becomes superstitious as a means to avoid making life decisions. As a result, she ends up floating along unhappy with the results in both her career and her relationships. Added to this is her need to stereotype and compartmentalize people. Honestly, I found her a little annoying at times. I think that was the point. She needed to grow up, get a new perspective, and stand up for herself. The ending showed her moving in the right direction though her career and relationships were still evolving. Again, isn't that the point? That is the way life is. I thought the book was well-written and the storyline was well-developed. The supporting characters seemed one-dimensional, but that is how Jessica saw them so that made sense. Though the book centered on the Latino culture, I think women from all backgrounds can appreciate and learn from it.
Cats57 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Houston, We Have a Problema by Gwendolyn ZepedaJessica Luna is a not so average Latina 20 something career woman, with all the problems that comes with it. She is stagnating in her job, she has some issues with her younger married sister, her mother and father are having their own difficulties, and of course she has problems with her love life. Many, many problems. But most of all she has problems of knowing herself and helping herself. So, she does what any other non-typical 20 something would do to help with her life¿s path¿she relies on the ¿plastic Virgin Mary that hangs in her car¿ and has weekly visits with her neighborhood psychic, Madame Hortensia!!!Funny, introspective, thought provoking are just some of the adjectives I would use to describe this thoroughly delightful novel that deals in issues a bit more important than just your average chick lit The biggest issue; the one that is the ¿pink-elephant¿ in the room. is the issue of racism. This is an issue that is handled with skill and finesse by Ms. Zepeda, although not until the last few eye-opening chapters.I loved this novel. I couldn¿t put it down until I finished every page of it. Well plotted, tightly written and very amusing secondary characters. I cheered for Jessica to get her head clear and see her potential in a new light, and she does! Although I felt that several secondary characters were given a bit of a short shrift and deserved to be fleshed out a bit more, I suppose had they been given bigger parts they may have taken away from the course of action Jessica finally takes. I did wonder, though, what the heck happened between her and Xavier? Well who knows? Maybe Ms Zepeda has plans for another book starring Jessica Luna? I for one can only hope!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RobRH More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Hannahls73 More than 1 year ago
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!
Grace2133 More than 1 year ago
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.
martakay1962 More than 1 year ago
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.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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.

Harriet Klausner