The Hookup Dilemma by Constance Gillam is a romantic novel featuring Rashida Howard and Elliott Quinn. Set in Atlanta, the opening chapter features a hook-up between Rashida and Elliott. Both make the idea of hook-ups utterly normal, without any guilt or regrets. However, later they realize that they are on the opposite ends of a property dispute. Elliott’s family construction business wants to buy a neighborhood where Rashida’s grandmother lives. Both of them fall in love and try to come to a solution that will mutually benefit them. The novel doesn’t seem to be a typical enemies to lovers novel but more on how things can change through dialogue and understanding.
More than romance, the novel is a commentary on gentrification. Elliott’s father wants to buy Rashida’s grandmother’s neighborhood whereas she does not want to sell. I enjoyed the back and forth between Rashida and Elliott. Rashida is an online food critic; she’s independent, fabulous, beautiful, and a foodie. She tries really hard to solve her family trauma, while also being supportive of her sister, who has a different storyline, her mother who has her own issues, while saving her grandmother’s neighborhood. Elliott is an architect who is loyal, loving, and genuinely cares for Rashida and her family. Both the protagonists have strong personalities but they are ready to do what they can to save their relationship while also trying to find a solution to gentrification. I also liked how they do not compromise on their values and ethics, while trying to figure things out. Elliott is an absolutely fantastic character and Rashida is awesome, too.
There are some technical things about property, gentrification, land rights, ownership, and real estate that I found fascinating. Also, the many mentions of food made me hungry. If you want to read about two strong individuals who try to work things out, while sticking to their values, while understanding the very real effects of gentrification, then this is a good novel to read.