The One I Love to Hate
The One I Love to Hate is the first book in Amanda Weaver’s new trilogy – The Romano Sisters. Jess Romano is a twenty-three-year-old reporter who has recently landed her dream job with the Brooklyn Daily Post – a legendary, classic neighborhood paper headed by her long-time idol. Jess lives at home in Brooklyn with her dad, two sisters and a huge network of relatives, and life is going great until she runs into the one man who gets under her skin, in all the worst ways – Alex Drake, son to a media tycoon and, in Jess’s opinion, a spoiled, privileged brat. Jess and Alex attended journalism school together and from day one of their acquaintance, Jess has hated Alex – “the biggest smart-ass alive”.
Alex informs Jess that he’ll be working right next store at the online ‘news’ giant ClickNews (owned by Alex’s father). After some biting exchanges about what ‘real’ journalism is, Jess storms back to work and puts Alex out of her mind. She has just struck up an interesting text exchange with a fellow writer on a journalist message board, and as PaperGirl, Jess enjoys a witty, flirtatious exchange with Peabody – a writer she is crushing on. Forget Alex and his “gold-plated charm…perfectly tousled hair…and bright green eyes”. She’s got Peabody – anonymously of course – but it’s something.
As fate would have it, Jess begins to run into Alex everywhere – coffee shops, restaurants, parties.
She thought she’d finally left him behind at graduation, but here he was, popping up in her life again. How could it be so hard to avoid one arrogant rich boy in a city of eight million people?
And each time, the verbal sparks fly. And some physical sparks too – not that Jess would ever admit to that. She’s just been assigned to handle Brooklyn Daily Post’s online media accounts, and she is out to flay ClickNews (hence Alex Drake) via social media.
@Brooklyn_Daily_Post: @ClickNews encapsulating everything wrong with the modern world in 140 characters. Well done.
@ClickNews: @Brooklyn_Daily_Post Yeah, the geriatric crowd loves using twenty words when five will suffice.
@Brooklyn_Daily_Post: @ClickNews If you’re implying it’s quality over quantity, first that requires some level of quality.
Between her job, her relationship with Peabody and the fun she’s having exchanging Twitter insults with the social media contact at ClickNews, Jess is happy – if only she could stop running into Alex and if only ClickNews would stop scooping all of her stories. And then she runs into Alex late one night at her family’s bar and they actually start talking. Is there more to Alex than Jess thinks? Making out commences until PaperGirl remembers her feelings for Peabody and Peabody remembers his feelings for PaperGirl and the night abrubtly ends. But the fire has been lit.
I know what you’re thinking – this sounds a little like You’ve Got Mail – and it is, just a little. But the similarities are few and forgivable. This is an enemies-to-lovers story but it’s also a lesson in first impressions and how they are not always accurate and are rarely complete. Jess has to let go of her impressions of Alex when she starts to realize that the man she keeps running into doesn’t line up with the Alex she’s constructed in her head. Alex’s first impression of Jess was a whole different story – you’ll have to read the book to find out. But I’ll tell you this – it’s swoon-worthy!
One of the things I liked most about this story was that when Jess decided to give Alex a chance she really listened to him. Many enemies-to-lovers plots have the couple going back and forth between being enemies and lovers until the end, but that’s not the case here. Once the pair gets past all the misunderstandings, they open up quickly and Jess digs deep to get to know the real Alex. And Alex’s interest in Jess is deep on all levels – yes, he’s attracted to her physically, but he also loves the fact that she knows who she is and what she stands for. Another thing I liked was that although the sexual chemistry was great, the intellectual chemistry was just as fun. Their biting comments to each other are clever and well-delivered and never cross the line into cruel. And their rapport as PaperGirl and Peabody is charming.
PaperGirl: Do you ever feel like everybody else became an adult while you weren’t looking?
Peabody: Every day.
PaperGirl: I’m so glad it’s not just me.
Peabody: What brought on this bout of existential angst?
PaperGirl: I thought being twenty-three with a full-time reporting job would feel different. Adultier.
Peabody: Adultier is not a word.
PaperGirl: I know that, genius. I do have a journalism degree.
Peabody: I was teasing. Adultier is a great word. Everybody should be using it. I predict Merriam-Webster adds it next year.
The path to true love is rarely smooth and that is true in The One I Love To Hate but the obstacles thrown at these two are not contrived and their resolutions are mature and well thought out. The slow-dawning of awareness of each other as more than they imagined is beautifully written, and I loved that the final obstacle to their happiness was overcome by Jess convincing Alex to want more for himself – an interesting 180 for these two. My only quibble is that the author adds some romantic adventures for the secondary characters at the end that I thought unnecessary to the story and a little too cutesy.
On a side note, Ms. Weaver also writes Historical Romance; A Duchess in Name is excellent. Ms. Weaver began her literary career writing contemporary romances, successfully shifted to historical romance, and now is back to contemps. I am impressed!
The One I Love to Hate is a romantic, satisfying read that I am happy to recommend. It’s the first in the Romano Sisters trilogy and from what I’ve read of Jess’s sisters so far, I’m looking forward to the next book!
~ Evelyn North