No Two Ways by Chi You Rodriguez
Published April 27, 2019
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.00 Stars
My Rating: 3 Stars
AJ Felipe makes the most of being the head information security engineer for a local law firm with the help of her loyal team of nerds. Their job isn’t really the most fun, but things take a turn when one of her junior security engineers decides to nominate her for a makeover show.
Enter Jackie Niño, the one-night stand AJ didn’t expect to meet again—who also happens to be the makeup artist who’s going to get her all dolled up on national television.
More complications arise after the episode is aired and another ghost from her past comes back to haunt her: Axel Herrera, the ex-boyfriend who still thinks she left him because she’s a lesbian.
Spoiler alert: She isn’t.
Being bisexual is hard enough. How will AJ navigate new feelings while finding closure for old heartaches?
Oh where to start. Okay, I don’t know why, but I had high hopes for No Two Ways. I have had pretty good luck with shorter books so far this year. It’s authored by a woman of color, follows a woman of color and has a whole cast of diversity that was so refreshing and awesome and just what I wanted at the time.
Long story short though, there were a few things I liked about this book but a whole LOT that I couldn’t get down with.
Okay, AJ, our heroine and Jackie hook up. Jackie gets super pissed and offended afterwards when she learns that AJ is bisexual. AJ works as an information security officer with a team of people she loves and one day learns that her team has nominated her, submitted her, to be on this reality make over type show. Well guess what dear friends? Take a wild guess as to who her makeup artist is for the show..If you guessed Jackie, then you guessed right! So bam! Now these two have sort of reconnected.
So the show airs and BOOM, enter blast from the past, Axel..AJ’s ex boyfriend who believes that she broke up with him because she is a lesbian. The summary to this book made me feel like Axel entering the picture was really going shake things up. Wrong! All Axel did was bring him and AJ the “closure,” they needed. It added no value to the story. It didn’t make the story any more complicated. There is a scene where AJ and Axel are basically at His mom’s birthday party and I was super anxious for some drama to happen *how dare you break my son’s heart all those years ago* type drama..and NOTHING FREAKING HAPPENS! Yet, Axel is the least of our problems.
My biggest issue was AJ being a chump and Jackie being my least favorite person in the world. Sorry, not sorry.
Let me just share with you some of the crap that comes out of Jackie’s mouth:
“You’d be so perfect if you weren’t bi. Like, I imagine you wearing one of my shirts sometimes, you know? Standing by my bed in the morning. You’d drown in any of my clothes and it’s so cute to think about, my heart hurts.”
I seriously have no idea why it wasn’t this exact moment that AJ told Jackie to kick rocks and to dismiss herself. And this is after Jackie asks her, “Why did you have to be biiiii”
Next is a text message from good ol’ Jackie to AJ. This text comes after the two link up and have sex in the bathroom of a bar that they coincidentally both end up at: AJ by herself and Jackie with a group of friends. After their bathroom sexcapades, Jackie goes back to her group and AJ sits at a bar. Some guy comes and sits next to her and next thing we know she’s going home..but Jackie, *insecure much* flips out on her!
“Am I just some straight girl fantasy to you? Are all the women you’ve slept with just fantasies you needed to fulfill? You know, AJ, I kinda can’t resist you, But watching you with that dude at the bar made my stomach turn, you know? Like, what are you even doing?”
Now as someone who doesn’t identify as bisexual I am by no means claiming to understand what living as someone who does, must be like. In the beginning of this book I could totally understand and feel the frustration AJ felt when it came to having to explain herself. People not understanding..I mean reading their frustration was frustrating to me for her. I got it. But also with just being a decent human being, I thought Jackie was kind of a shitty person and I thought AJ was dumb for going around and around in circles with her. Like AJ is obviously an intelligent person, but when it came to Jackie her book smarts and street smarts just weren’t leveling up for me. I want to see more heroines that stick up for themselves. I wanted AJ to freaking own her sexuality but it felt like she just sat idly by waiting for Jackie to either get with it or be on her way. Which fine, it worked I guess.. but in the end I felt like she settled.
Jackie admits that she read some articles and educated herself..she tells AJ, “I read about you.” So AJ is all like, “I’m not famous enough for there to be anything out there on me,” but what Jackie really meant was, she read some stuff on bisexuality and Ta-Da things are up hill from here friends! *eye rolling*
I would’ve been very happy with Jackie taking the initiative to educate herself and be a better human but this book is less than 200 pages so obviously with it being short, there is the risk of certain characters not really being fleshed out. That was the case with Jackie *and Axel* but hey, he’s literally in the book for 2.5 seconds. Had I maybe gotten a few chapters from Jackie’s perspective, maybe the turn around and the happily ever after at the ending would’ve been believable, but I didn’t and it wasn’t. What should’ve been a happy moment because
yay for happily ever afters, was one roll of the eyes after another. I was rooting for the female/female love story but hell I would’ve chosen Axel in this case and he was honestly, no better! AJ could’ve ended up alone and I would’ve been happy.
I think if you’re going to write a book and advertise it as female/female but yet have one of the females be biphobic, you really need to showcase their growth as a character and the work they put in to understand and do better. I don’t think it’s fair to write a passage where they say I DID THIS and then things are magically better. Like hell no, especially with all of the pretty bad things Jackie said to AJ throughout the book..I felt she deserved to prove herself a bit more.
In the end I gave this one 3 stars because although the bad outweighed the good by a long shot..there was some good. I am so happy this book followed an intelligent woman who not only has this cool job you don’t read about much, but was also the Boss. I loved that this followed a woman of color in her native country and I loved AJ’s family. Love love Loved them. I found myself anticipating more scenes with them. Both blood family and friends who became family.
I will continue to keep a lookout for more stories by this author. I’m rooting for her, but this one was just okay to me.