THE TROUBLE WITH HATING YOU
Written by Sajni Patel
Published by Forever, May 12, 2020
My star rating – 5 (thousand) stars!
Liya Thakkar is a successful biochemical engineer, takeout enthusiast, and happily single woman. The moment she realizes her parents’ latest dinner party is a setup with the man they want her to marry, she’s out the back door in a flash. Imagine her surprise when the same guy shows up at her office a week later — the new lawyer hired to save her struggling company. What’s not surprising: he’s not too thrilled to see her either after that humiliating fiasco.
Jay Shah looks good on paper…and off. Especially if you like that whole gorgeous, charming lawyer-in-a-good-suit thing. He’s also arrogant and infuriating. As their witty office banter turns into late night chats, Liya starts to think he might be the one man who truly accepts her. But falling for each other means exposing their painful pasts. Will Liya keep running, or will she finally give love a real chance? Find it on Goodreads
How? How do I even put into words how much I loved this book? I’ve written this review 4 times now. It was either too long or wasn’t good enough. Here’s the thing: my review will never be as perfect as this book was, plain and simple. This is probably the furthest thing away from what I normally request from publishers but, as soon as I read the synopsis, I thought “What the hell. Why not?” Best. Decision. Ever!
Let’s talk about the story itself first. It opens up with quite the explosive chapter. Liya is invited to dinner with her parents and she’s assured that this isn’t a set up….. but of course it is! She attempts to flee the scene unnoticed but she ends up tackling the very man her parents are trying to arrange her with. To make matters worse, she shows up to work on Monday only to find the very same man at the front of the room running a business meeting. These two annoy the hell out of each other. Their tempers flair and aggravation sets in, but they seem to be destined to meet around every corner.
The writing was just so damn good! This book was all about balance. It was balance between fast and slow and kept me turning pages as quickly as I could. It was a dual perspective between Liya and Jay so we got different sides of the story which made this whole book (and relationship) feel more complete. Since Indian families are typically large (immediate and extended families of course), the amount of characters was never confusing or overwhelming. Each and every character had such a distinct personality that you could tell them apart just by their actions and mannerisms.
Speaking of characters, wow. Just wow. She is SO amazing at creating fully formed characters and making you feel a certain way about them instantaneously. Liya you couldn’t help but love. She was so strong, determined, motivated, self aware, and bad ass! She didn’t need a man in her life, even if her family was shoving her towards marriage at every cost. She wasn’t feminist about it – she was just confident and independent. Jay is a successful, caring, driven, family man. You couldn’t help but fall in love with him! He’s so well rounded – funny yet serious, hard working yet playful, and everything in between. He would seem so traditional one minute and then the next he was doing something that you never expected as if it was second nature. Even the side characters were immaculately well written. They all had things that shaped them who they were and I could have listened to their back stories all day! Sajni Patel also found a way to make me hate a father in a book more than I EVER have. Hate is a strong word but it’s not strong enough for how I feel about that asshole…. sorry for the language but damn! If you read this then you’ll understand!
The main theme of this book (aside from romance) was friends and family. These two characters were surrounded by so many loving and supportive people and I would LOVE to be in their friend circle! They showed that no matter what was happening, as long as you stuck together, you can get through anything. Hugs, crying, a night out, what ever is needed, your friends and family will make sure they’re there for you. It was so heartwarming!!!
Remember when I mentioned balance? Here’s where it REALLY shines. Yes, this book was funny and cute, but there were quite a few hard hitting topics covered. There are trigger warnings for sexual abuse of a minor (nothing detailed or graphic, more so just a mention), death by fire, and verbal/mental abuse. Each of these characters had a painful past that made them who they were. They had issues connecting with others, trust, and, most of all, allowing themselves to be happy. Both of them felt as if they didn’t deserve a ‘happily ever after’. They wanted to do something that would allow them a future but then they would second guess themselves and wonder if they were worthy. Watching them come to terms with these events, work through them, and acknowledge the pain that it caused them was just so freaking beautiful. All of the hard hitting topics were well handled and dealt with in a slow and steady manner. There was push and pull when it was needed and all of it was done with the utmost care and sensitivity. As healing as these situations were, it was still enough to tear your heart to tiny pieces.
This book is easily the most surprising read of 2020! I never expected to love this one as much as I did and I want to reread it already! If this doesn’t make the top 5 favourites list for the year, I will be so surprised! If you’re prepared for a rollercoaster of sweet, funny, heartwarming, and heartbreaking, then you NEEEEEEEEED this book in your life! I just read that she’s currently working on book 2 of this and it will follow one of my favourite side characters!!! I CAN’T WAIT!!!
Thank you so much to Hachette Books Canada and Forever for the chance to read this in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and are uninfluenced.
Until next time, happy reading!