Author: Sarah Hogle
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: April 7th, 2020
I received an eARC for this book in exchange for an honest review.
When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé, happily ever after becomes a lot more complicated in this wickedly funny, lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy debut.
Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They’re preparing for their lavish wedding that’s three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him.
Naomi wants out, but there’s a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.
But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves — and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.
This is probably my longest book review yet, so bear with me because I have a lot to say. Sarah Hogle’s You Deserve Each Other was one of my most anticipated romance books of this year. I’ve been looking forward to reading it ever since I first found out about it, and oh boy, did it live up to my expectations. Exceed them, even. When I read the blurb, it was like I knew this was going to be one of my favourite romance books of all time. Lovers to enemies to friends to lovers? Sign me tf up, please. When I began reading this book, I was immediately invested in the story and the characters.
The story follows a young engaged couple, Naomi and Nicholas. Naomi works in a junk shop with her group of friends, and Nicholas is a dentist who comes from a wealthy family. In the beginning of the book, they both realize that they cannot stand each other, and that they’re not at all looking forward to their wedding. Half the time, they don’t even know if they care for one other. But putting up with each another is easier than having to put up with the cost and (more importantly) consequences of cancelling the wedding. When they find out that they’ve both been pretending to be happy with one another, they decide to make each other as miserable as possible in a way to get the other to call off the wedding. In the beginning, we see how they’re avoiding each other and trying not to spend too much time with one another, but when they find out that they both want the wedding to be cancelled, all hell breaks loose. We get pranks and mind games and all around emotional warfare.
I haven’t laughed reading a book as much as I did with You Deserve Each Other in a very long time. And that’s partly because the writing was so good. It’s very sarcastic and it goes so well with the story and plot, that just a few pages into the book I was like: yup, I’m going to love this book forever. The writing really makes the book so much more fun to read, and I honestly cannot wait for whatever Sarah writes next! However, we only get Naomi’s point of view in the book and I really would have loved to read Nicholas’s pov as well; I really think that would have made the story better.
But what I loved the most about this book was the characters: Naomi and Nicholas have a special place in my heart and I can feel it in my bones that I’m going to love them forever. I love how dramatic they were, because it all just added to the fun for me. Others may not like this as much. With any other book, I would’ve been annoyed with the characters and how they were acting if they had acted similar to Naomi and Nicholas, but I never once felt that way reading this book. Maybe this was because the sarcastic writing really helped, as did knowing that they’re pranking each other and why they’re pranking each other. Maybe I even liked them so much because they were so immature at times. This is the one book where the miscommunication trope didn’t make me want to rip my hair out, and I absolutely despise the miscommunication trope.
I also loved the side characters: Naomi’s friends and coworkers are just as dramatic as she is and I loved seeing that other side of Naomi. She feels secure around them and is able to be herself. Nicholas, however, feels left out and this is another one of the reasons why they’re fighting. On Nicholas’s side, his mother, Deborah, is an absolute control freak and Naomi thinks Nicholas is too much of a mama’s boy to stand up to her. I loved seeing Naomi and Nicholas go from barely being able to stand each other, to trying to make each other as miserable as possible, to finally seeing their real selves and falling in love again. I loved that even through all the pranks and the misery there was still a part of them that was still in love with the other. There were so many times that Naomi would question things in the book and I would just yell “because you’re in love with him, you idiot!” in my head.
Fair warning though: I think readers will either love or hate Naomi. She’s scared and vulnerable and comes across as too whiny a few times in the book, but it’s understandable. Her overbearing (and sometimes downright evil) future mother-in-law has practically taken over their wedding planning and refuses to consult Naomi on anything, and Nicholas seems to always take her side on things – wedding or not. This leaves Naomi frustrated, and mentally and emotionally tired. I understand why some readers might not like Naomi, but I felt like everything she was going through and feeling and thinking was very realistic and relatable. I loved her strength so much.
Nicholas, on the other hand, is much easier to love and is probably one of my favourite male characters from a romance book ever. I loved that despite not having his point of view in the book, we still got to see so much of him. As readers, it’s easier to pick up on these clues and figure out what he’s feeling and why he’s feeling a specific way than it is for Naomi, and I really think that made me love him even more. We get to see that he’s just as vulnerable as Naomi, and that so much of his anger and frustration comes from feeling insecure and not knowing how to handle things. He feels left out by Naomi and her group of friends, and feels like he’s losing her to them just as Naomi feels like she’s losing him to his mother. One thing I really like about this book is that it’s very realistic. It didn’t feel sugar-coated the way a lot of romance books feel nowadays. These two characters are desperately trying to save themselves from a whole lot of pain and heartbreak, and that brings out the worst in them – but it also brings out their caring and loving sides too. They’re angry and passive aggressive, they fight like children and probably need to sit down and have a talk or two, but once they find each other again, they’re also invincible together.
One of the best parts in the book is when they finally realize that they’re being assholes and begin to stand up for one another. Nicholas defends Naomi in front of his mother who has been constantly trying to tear Naomi down, and Naomi stands up to her friends who pick on him. These parts will make you laugh out loud and maybe even cry – I sure did. It was just so beautifully done and I love them both so much!
I don’t think this book will be for everyone. A lot of people have been comparing it to The Hating Game, which I think is totally wrong because they’re both two completely different books. If you go into this book thinking that it would be similar to THG, you won’t enjoy it as much. I also think people might not like Naomi, or even the pranks they do on one another. But if you want to read a story about two people who have miserably fallen out of love find one another again, and watch them learn to stand up for one another, then please do read this book. I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did.