AAAAAH!! The Hating Game has finally met its match, and it’s in Naomi Westfield and Nicholas Rose of You Deserve Each Other.
Naomi and Nicholas have been engaged for almost a year, and their wedding date is fast approaching. Naomi tunes out rather than deal with how unhappy she is, and she has no clue Nicholas has been suffering the same – until they trip over this realization and end up in a battle of who can hang on the longest? Winner doesn’t have to deal with the pushback from friends, gets their pick of their shared stuff, and doesn’t have to pay back the hundreds of dollars Nicholas’ overbearing mother has spent on the wedding they didn’t want (TRUST ME, SHE’S THE WORST!! A necessary evil to tell this story, but boy is Mrs. Rose cringe-y!).
But in their effort to push one another away, they discover the parts of themselves they never brought to the relationship to begin with: a fire and a passion, even if it’s for messing with each other. With each new hilarious stunt, the lines blur and neither knows what the game is anymore…though their wedding date still approaches.
I tend to read a lot in this genre, but I haven’t discovered a title with this much wit and character depth since I read The Hating Game! I actually laughed out loud, at approximately two a.m. when I should’ve put the book down hours ago. I read it all in one sitting. That was not the plan, it just sort of happened…Hogle’s writing was just superb and original! It was difficult to put down while laughing like a maniac (a bit about a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, in particular, had me absolutely in stitches… you will see…). The character depth and development really sprouted from the humor of it: their jokes were revealing of their true selves, but also of their true feelings. I loved this approach, and that it felt like legitimate humor Sarah herself was sitting somewhere laughing about while she wrote it – rather than forced for the sake of “giving characters a humorous personality”.
Nicholas and Naomi’s real battle was getting stuck in this rut of not being friends anymore. They have routines, they avoid each other, and they both know it. They forgot the joy of connecting, and Hogle infused plenty of humor and adorable, smile-like-an-idiot at the pages moments to get them back there. The story itself takes on a unique element when you consider that Naomi and Nicholas are already together – so it lacks the meet-cute that tends to shape and guide this genre, replacing it with a fresh situation that revives the story and the characters. The circumstances of their love story allow you to replace awkward dates with ruthless pranks, and the stories rings out more authentic for it, heartwarming in a new way. Sometimes, I feel like the authors that write the popular contemporary romance books have never actually been in love… but Sarah Hogle gets it. Hogle does not underestimate the value of whole days spent playing video games together, cooking disgusting meals together, or teaming up against the parents. It didn’t feel like a recycled version of every book I’ve ever read that falls under “contemporary romance”, and I loved that.
I cannot stress it enough: if The Hating Game was your thing, You Deserve Each Other is also, 100%, totally, exactly your thing. You won’t regret checking it out, unless you also went to bed at four in the morning after staying up all night reading it…then having to go to work the next morning. 🙂
You Deserve Each Other will be released on April 7, 2020. A copy was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley for review.