I have been consistently uploading new reviews for you guys, and I already saw a couple of likes and comments, so I just want to say thank you! It means a lot to me. I’m having trouble sleeping, and reading helps calm my nerves. I am the kind of reader who needs to process emotions after finishing a novel in order to gain closure and finally move on to my next great read. These reviews are helpful in that process.
For today’s novel of choice, we’ll dive into the strangely vindictive, extremely chaotic, and intensely competitive romance story of Naomi and Nicholas. Yes, you read that right. It’s a romance novel. And yes, it is bombarded with acts of revenge. It’s obviously not your typical hearts-and-flowers storyline as it takes the concept of love-hate relationships to the next level. Welcome to Sarah Hogle’s You Deserve Each Other.
Naomi and Nicholas are engaged to be married. They did not take long to ascertain they’ve found “the one” in each other. They are madly in love and are ready to share a lifetime together. However, as they get closer to saying “I do”, several issues come to light. First, Nicholas has an overbearing, self-absorbed, termagant mother–one who must always get what she wants, takes no for an answer, calls at least twenty times a day for petty reasons–in other words, the ultimate smothering type. And second, Nicholas is a good son–so good in fact he never says no to his mother, brings her flowers “just because”, pays her a visit at least every other day, agrees to her every demand–even planning his and Naomi’s big day. For these reasons, Naomi has found herself relegated to second place in Nicholas’ life. Nicholas is, first and foremost, the perfect son, and nothing–not even having Naomi in his life and their upcoming marriage–is going to change that.
Let me get this out before we proceed: There is absolutely nothing wrong with putting one’s family first. That’s actually a very admirable trait. Nicholas is a lovable character. However, as this story plays out, we learn there is reason to protest against Nicholas’ familial attachments. He was indeed slowly disregarding her fiancée, taking her for granted. He buys her mother flowers to appease her and make her feel appreciated, but he refuses to do the same with his fiancée. His mother walks all over Naomi, dropping hurtful jabs about her life and her personality and he lets her have her fill. Nicholas will just be the good son in the corner. He is helpful and willing to run errands for his parents at a moment’s notice, but at home he slobs and has Naomi do the chores. He expects Naomi to act kindly when in company of his friends, but he conducts himself arrogantly and disdainfully when with her friends. Where a couple should be functioning as a team, as one unit, their dynamic is so far off. It is no wonder that Naomi feels underappreciated, alone, and sort of jilted. To the point of not anymore caring.
Nicholas has seen these changes in Naomi and their relationship began losing the spark and passion they’ve once shared. What’s worse is instead of communicating their issues with each other, they choose to bottle up their emotions, to clam up and hide. Now almost filled to the brim and at a crucial point in her life, Naomi re-assesses her decisions, questioning if her love and affection for Nicholas is enough for a seemingly endless state of misery. Nicholas sees this too, and he knows all about his shortcomings. I told you Nicholas’ character is likeable because in spite of everything else, he is self-aware. He loves Naomi, but the strain their engagement has been through affected their relationship deeply. Nicholas knows that for the two of them to work, he must make Naomi care again, communicate again–even if it means bringing out her hatred and anger.
So, that’s what they did. They brought out the worst in one another. Naomi strikes a blow, Nicholas strikes back. It’s petty, to say the least, but entertaining as hell. I would not imagine the extent of their pranks and plots of revenge playing out in real life–I’m not the type of person to tolerate such so that’s an automatic turnoff. But it worked for them. Plus, I give the author a virtual salute for her creativity in orchestrating the chaotic exchanges. It’s crazy!
I give this book 3.5 stars. From lovers to enemies and then to once again lovers, this book is a romantic comedy of epic proportions. The first chapter is hilarious and it sets the story moving in light-hearted steps. And as you go along, you’ll find yourself pulled taut between two opposing camps, stomping heavily on uneven ground. Until you find yourself slowly melting, swooning as warmth reclaims two icy hearts, giving way to a renewed sense of awe and understanding for what is a blossoming second-chance romance–just two engaged-to-be-married strangers meeting each other again as if for the first time.
The bigger picture I can extract from this entire read is surely: It takes two people to make a relationship work. And relationships are hard work. For me, constant, honest communication in relationships is vital and non-negotiable. Seeing the lack of communication between Naomi and Nicholas further drives my point. You need to be able to express your thoughts and feelings to that one person who’s supposed to be your partner, your other half. You won’t always like what the other person would say or do, but it’s how you get to know one another, how you end up in the middle ground, compromise, and create joint decisions.
- Title: You Deserve Each Other
- Author: Sarah Hogle
- Year published: 2020
- Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
- Total number of pages: 357
- ISBN-13: 978-0-593-08542-4