You Deserve Each Other
Want a big, heavy dose of Characters Behaving Badly? Sarah Hogel serves it on up in You Deserve Each Other, a highly flawed story about two highly flawed people who figure out that they’re better together when they act like normal human beings.
Store clerk Naomi Westfield and doctor Nicholas Rose have a perfect relationship. Everyone envies their perfect, adorable, Instagram-ready lifestyle. Nicholas is gentlemanly; Naomi is ambitious and classy. They’re going to be getting married in a lavish, big-budget wedding. Everything is perfect.
There’s only one problem. In the year since their first date, Nicholas and Naomi have come to loathe each other.
Naomi can’t stand Nicholas’ perfectionist family and Nicolas’ mamma’s boy attitude. Naomi is no peach herself – nasty and selfish sometimes, she wants the city life while Nicholas thirsts for the country. They both want out of their engagement, of their plastic, envied lives – but neither of them has the courage to admit that’s what they want. Worse, whoever admits they want out of the wedding will end up footing the cancellation bills.
So – mutually annoyed, mutually wanting out – they try to trick, pressure and subtly worm the other person into breaking the engagement first. But dropping the layers of pretense puts a brand-new spark into the relationship. Suddenly Nicholas and Naomi are feeling more than loathing for one another…maybe their wedding might (gulp!) take place after all!
You Deserve Each Other is one of those books that’s going to be a lot for certain readers to take. Naomi and Nicholas are complicated creatures who absolutely are Out There, and their battles are not very mature at all – at least at first. It’s War of the Roses wrung through a cheesecloth romcom filter.
We’re anchored in Naomi’s PoV, and it’s a funny, funny ride, even when she’s being incredibly annoying, but she’s relatable enough, her anxiety understandable. Nicholas, too, is ridiculous in his rigid practicality, in his need to escape to the outdoors. She’s a hashtag-heavy LMAO-er. He smiles and grins during a pirate birthday party she ‘accidentally’ schedules for him. If you’re looking for people who are easily defined as ‘lovable’ then you’re not going to have a good time reading this book.
But the humor works quite well, to be honest. It’s easy to enjoy You Deserve Each Other at its most credulity-straining because of how breezy it is – at least for the first half.
But then it takes a wide left-turn into Serious Feelings and Actual Romance and Emotions, and doesn’t quite make the turn into seriousland. After investing in Nicholas and Naomi’s ‘isn’t-our-mutual-war-kinda-charming?’ battle for the first half of the book, asking us to take them seriously is a tough sell. I just watched these two argue over a canoe for pages; watching them cry and angst doesn’t feel fully earned by the lightweight nature of the narrative. The generally smooth writing style tries to help, but doesn’t quite pass the test.
You Deserve Each Other will be fun for anyone who likes love-to-hate-you romances like The Hating Game or The Proposal, but taking it seriously is a little hard. Oh well. The first half is fun enough to earn a low-level recommendation.
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Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by Firefox.org and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at http://thatbouviergirl.blogspot.com/, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thatbouviergirl or contribute to her Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/MissyvsEvilDead or her Ko-Fi at ko-fi.com/missmelbouvier
|Review Date:||March 7, 2020|
|Book Type:||Contemporary Romance|
I’m not sure what made me want to give this book a try . . . maybe the friends-to-lovers reference? And the references to it being funny (not just Lisa but other reviews/callouts on the book jacket)? But I should have paid more attention to Lisa’s The War of the Roses and The Hating Game comparisons. I did not find the movie or either book funny. Like, AT ALL. At 50% in, Naomi is completely and irredeemably awful, these two people have never been friends, and I’m out. FWIW – I DNF’d The Hating Game as well, so there may be lots of fans out there for this.
Aww, that’s too bad. This book has thus far been my favorite of the year. If you stopped midway you did miss out on the lovely romance they find their way toward. Naomi is a difficult character to know at first too but she becomes a somewhat tragic and wonderful working class heroine trying to fit into an upper middle class family that scorns her. I did love The Hating Game though and there are some similarities.
I just finished this and surprise, surprise – Blackjack, we agree! I’d have put it on my favorites list if I had read it in time. I’m going to write a separate review just so we have two perspectives in the system.
Yep, it’s very very War of the Roses but well, less deadly. So if that’s not your catnip this one won’t be your bag at all. Sorry you didn’t like it!
I’m not sure why, but I’m feeling oddly still drawn to wanting to read this book.
Go for it! You might like it better than me, and enjoy the second half twist.