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You, Me, U.S.

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  75 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Best friends Jo and Liza are as opposite as night and day. Sex worker Jo swears by the worry-free, one-day-at-a-time dance through life. Salesclerk Liza has big plans for her family's future, and there is nothing bigger than a one-way trip to the U.S. But an almost-kiss, a sex dare, and news of Liza's engagement to her American boyfriend unveil feelings Jo and Liza never t ...more
Kindle Edition, 157 pages
Published April 15th 2019
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  75 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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K.J. Charles
A really striking f/f romance set in the seedy side of Manila. Shop assistant Liza is desperate for a green card marriage to get her and, crucially, her family, to the US, and is on her fifteenth online boyfriend accordingly. Her best friend Jo is a failed singer turned sex worker. They are scrabbling to make ends meet, living lives that grind them down. Then Liza finally snags a sincere American man who flies over to meet and treat her, and quickly proposes. And suddenly things start to shift a ...more
Geri Reads
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This one really hit the spot. There were so many things that resonated with me. From its Manila setting, the harsh reality of the "American Dream" and of the characters and their struggles.

I'd say it's part romance, part coming of age story between 2 best friends: Jo & Liza as they each navigate their lives and confront their growing feelings for each other.

Set in Manila, Philippines this book further proves that the world is sleeping on books written by Filipino authors. I highly recommend eve
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a tough book to describe. As a romance, it didn't really work for me at all. As a piece of fiction, though, I found it really enjoyable in large part due to the fact that it's not a book I've read before; it's its own creature, with a fascinating setting and fresh, compelling leads you just never see in mainstream publishing.

Because the blurb never mentions it, and it's only obliquely referenced at the end of the sample, it's worth noting that the story is set in the Philippines (Manila,
Mar 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

An interesting read. Definitely an atypical romance, probably more accurately New Adult than any title I've read in the genre. Shop girl Liza dreams of a green card marriage to an American. After many failed attempts at online dating, she's almost there... only for her plans to hit a snag when she shares a kiss with best friend Jo, a tough-talking sex worker who doesn't believe in love.

This novella has a profoundly modern feel and
2019 Ripped Bodice Summer Bingo: f/f contemporary

B+ lightning review:

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Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Read this in one sitting on an overnight flight. Bautista is an exquisite writer. I’ve never read another romance like this. In fact, I suspect some people may not consider this a romance, and instead fiction with romance subplot, but I certainly do because the relationship between Liza and Jo is central to the book, even though they spend the majority of it not together.

I don’t want to get into the plot but I’ll tell you what I loved:

-First, the sex worker rep was really good (IMO, granted I’m
Danice Sison
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
You, Me, U.S.
by Brigitte Bautista

When I saw the author's announcement for the ARC of her latest book, an f/f romance, I jumped at the chance to get on the request list. I read Brigitte's first book, "Don't Tell My Mother", which I loved, and similarly adored her short story, "Lemon Drop Friday" from the #romanceclass anthology, "Start Here", on which I have also contributed as an author.

"You, Me, U.S." has Filipino characters and is set in Metro Manila. Brigitte Bautista's Manila is gritty an
Xan West
I really appreciated the sex worker rep, Jo's emotional armor, & the spareness of the prose style in this. I will likely review later, but I want to think about it a bit more first. ...more
Nov 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance
I read this book based on a recommendation by KJ Charles. I rated it a 5 because I haven't encountered a novel quite like it recently. This book is a contemporary love story between two twenty something women in Manila. One is a sex worker, and the other a shop girl with dreams of marrying an American and immigrating to the US. This is a friends to lovers, slow burn romance that is gritty and not what you expect in a traditional romance novel. The prose is beautiful and the story compelling. It ...more
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Refreshing, touching, well worth a read

Jo is a bisexual sex worker in Manila and Liza an on and off sales girl who plans to marry a rich American guy and move to the U.S. They're the best of friends, sharing every high and low, supporting each other no matter what. In spite of Jo having had to give up her dream to become a singer, she is fairly content with what she does. Liza seems to be getting closer to fulfilling her goal and thereby securing a new life for herself and her family. But neithe
This story is beautifully written and the romance has an incredibly slow burn to it. It’s not so slow as to be frustrating, however, and it works because Jo and Liza have to grapple with their feelings. Most friends-to-lovers romances I’ve read drive the tension with “but what if she doesn’t feel the way I do? I don’t want to ruin our friendship!” While there’s a bit of that, the tension worked especially well for me because it’s more about Liza having to decide what to do about Christopher. Her ...more

There are so many discussions this book could start off: the fetishization of Asian women by white men; the sex industry and the dehumanization and abuse of those who work in it; the issue of contractualization or “endo”; the harassment of women. Brij Bautista really hits all the spots with this book, which is simultaneously a hard-hitting social commentary and an ultra-sweet romance.

Jo’s origin story is quite co
Nina ( picturetalk321 )
An entrancing novella from the Philippines, written by an author who’s a member of #romanceclass, a hashtag I had not heard of but which is huge in the Philippines. This is a HEA (or HFN at least) novella, focused on women who have sex with women and with men, who have sex for money or for marriage, and all of this is presented in a liberating unjudgemental way. It’s just no big deal. The sex is hot and consensual (a requirement for #romanceclass). The prose and the setting are gritty and real s ...more
Apr 29, 2019 marked it as did-not-finish
Not sure quite why I couldn't finish this. It was really well written, but it just didn't engage me. It took me weeks to get through half of it, even though it's a pretty short book. And I just wasn't feeling the chemistry between Jo and Liza at all, so I had no investment in the romance--maybe friends-to-lovers is just not my thing. ...more
Wait, what? An f/f story that doesn't settle into cooing cuddles by 50% and proposals and babies by the epilogue? Two main characters who are allowed to be flawed and realistic and beset by genuinely impossible choices? A story where there's no villain other than life? A positive portrayal of sex work? I don't know what this madness is but I am here for it and I am definitely keeping an eye on this author.

(There were a few editing errors that really should have been caught, but I was so wrapped
N.G.Peltier N.G.Peltier
Loved the complexities of Jo and Liza. loved how Jo and Liza's sexuality was so normalized. It wasn't ever shown to be a problem for others.

Also at no time was Jo's profession as a sex worker ever demonized by the author, which I appreciated. Too many times I find little snide commentary that slip in painting sex workers in a terrible light but this was never the case here. There was one moment when one of Jo's dates learns what her job was and they aren't happy about it but i felt like Jo's re
Jennifer Hallock
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tackling-the-tbr
Every so often a book comes along that subtly redefines the genre, and you wonder if everyone else has already registered this fact? Or if no one sees it yet, you need them NOW. Anyone? See my tweets at: ...more
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
Quite lovely romance about finding the line where the dreams we've been chasing meet the reality we live.

Content warnings include: cheating, sexual harassment, mild violence, sex work, sex on-page, hate against sex-workers; mentions of intimate partner violence/domestic abuse.

Liza and Jo, both living in Manila, have been best friends for years now. While sex worker Jo has come to terms with her dream of becoming a pop star never becoming reality, Liza is working hard towards her dream
H. Bentham
"Touch where it burns, provoke and prolong what feels good, stop when it hurts."

This is coming out next week !!! and I have to be one of those people who screams at everyone to GET THIS! LOL. I loved it! It was a little heavy and gritty compared to what I usually read, but then again it reflects a different Filipino experience that I knew existed, but haven't read in fiction, much less in romance, like this.

Jo is a sex worker (and this part of her is dealt without prejudice throughout the book
May 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I love a good old slow-burn romance but then again (who doesn't) the bigger reason I'm drawn to this book is the SOCIAL COMMENTARY. It's like a huge MIC DROP, lol. If you ever wonder what's going on on this side of the world where poverty and ~miseducation continue to prevail, this book is what's up. Coming from that phenomenal debut novel Don’t Tell My MotherDon't Tell My Mother, this author is once again bringing something new to the table, and the rest of us should sit back and enjoy.

Here are
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bi-romance, f-f, aoc
3 1/2 stars rounded up. Lovely and unusual friends to lovers f/f romance set in Manila.
Yeyet Soriano
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's very real, gritty and down-to-earth. I felt the everyday aspects of the lives of the two heroines: perennial contractor Liza and unapologetic sex worker Jo. I believed in the reasons why Jo chose her line of work. I commiserated with Liza for wanting to find a better life for her family. I delighted in living through their individual and shared adventures.

It is a very slow burn, this love story, and I got confused a bit with the epilogue, specifically the need for that one encounter, but a
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
Really cute, I enjoyed both characters and their separate personalities as well as their chemistry.
I really really liked Liza's struggle between needing to choose between her own happiness and truth versus providing what her family believe to be a better life opportunity for them/their dreams.

You can see why Liza felt reluctant to give in to what she wants and that played through well - it gave a realistic problem for them to overcome. Not to mention, Jo's personal issues with abandonment and
Virginia Rounds
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is for anyone who needs a break from the same old sweet romance stories, but still wants the HEA. It’s like eating a steak after having cake all day.
Set in Manila, it’s also a view into a world most of us US/British readers don’t see often. These aren’t wealthy debutants, plucky governesses, Highland lasses, or any of the other tropes that crowd the romance genre.
Jo and Liza are best friends and roommates. Liza is looking for an American to marry so she can support her family. Jo is a s
Jan 14, 2021 rated it did not like it
The book was boring and lacked direction for me. The prose was sub par and the characters bland and cliche caricatures of what they were supposed to represent. It was quite odd to read. The lackluster prose was surprising to me since I came across the book from a list of books with supposedly good prose.

Anyway, for a lot of the book I felt like I was reading fluff—words that offer no clarity to the plot or drive it forward. And half the time I didn’t even know what was going on or what certain
Lucie Wyeth
Really enjoyed the setting and circumstances, the struggles, the immigration dilemmas. Well, “enjoyed” as in that POV needs to be a more common thing, not enjoyed as in “YAY FUN TIMES.” I just didn’t feel the spark from the love story. I rooted for the girls as individuals, and as friends, but not necessarily as love interests. Would definitely recommend the book though, just for the rest.
I read this is practically 1 sitting - it moves along beautifully and there was so much about it to love. For one, I am always drawn to books set in the Philippines or featuring filipinx characters. This book brought together some very real aspects of life in Manila and the filipinx experience that aren't often featured in books - the way your life is not your own but instead often beholden to your extended family, internet dating to find American or European spouses, the hierarchy of employment ...more
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Of all the #romanceclass stories I’ve read, this is the most heavy-hitting thus far. It actually made me cry. Definitely falls under the more serious tales of #romanceclass, since it deals with sex work and immigration as a means for a better life, not just for oneself but also for the family. A must-read.
Madeleine Williams
Aug 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: shelf
Definitely fairly unique and a nice book. Problem is, the romance definitely fell slightly flat. I would by no means avoid this book and kudos to the author for managing to write something unique (to me, anyway) in this genre but it’s a book more suitable as a commentary on the American dream than is on the romance (especially the f/f aspect of it).
Ruth Fasham
Dec 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a read that clung to me - I thought about it a lot when I wasn't reading it and once I'd finished. Interesting, well developed and complex characters who I rooted for as individuals and together. ...more
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