You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Thank you, Penguin Random House, for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I tried to keep him at a safe distance where he could only see the decent parts of me, and it made us both miserable.
Cheers to my second 5-star book of 2019! If you added this novel to your TBR just because of its adorable cover, that’s okay. Do yourself a favor and read the book when it comes out next year. I’ve read fewer than 15 New Adult books since I became a bookworm, and this one is tentatively my most favorite. I can’t recall any other story featuring lovers who become enemies and then lovers again. I guess I now have an ideal literary formula!
You Deserve Each Other is told from the perspective of Naomi Westfield, a headstrong woman engaged to Nicholas Rose, a successful pediatric dentist. Supposedly, they have a perfect relationship. But in reality, they’re suffering from cold feet. Since calling off their wedding might be super costly, Naomi and Nick engage in a hilarious battle of wills. The rules are simple. The winner can back out of the engagement without strings attached, but the loser will have to cover the enormous bill. Have you ever encountered such a clever premise?
I was very invested in the plot because it made me think of my big brother, who plans to propose to his girlfriend soon. Because of this association, I sometimes imagined Nick and Naomi as my brother and future sister-in-law. Gleaning from the book, courtship indeed entails putting your best foot forward. Sometimes, it’s like wearing a mask or building a facade. And then when you take your relationship to the next level, you unintentionally (or deliberately) show your true colors. That’s when the misunderstandings or fights begin. Then, you might wonder how on Earth did you end up with your husband or wife. Was Shakespeare right when he said that love is blind?
I’ve never seen my brother and his girlfriend argue. I’m often their third wheel, so I always observe them as they hold hands and speak to each other in Motherese (baby talk). James, my second brother, loves to make fun of them. Haha. I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but I bet that things will change between Maui and Kyleen when they finally marry and live in the same house.
Couples cannot avoid conflict forever. Fortunately, you can use conflict as stepping stones to a stronger relationship. I know this because I’ve witnessed a lot of arguments in my family. My parents and grandparents have been married for decades, but they aren’t immune to petty quarrels. Ugh, I should stop before this review becomes an essay on marriage.
Deborah Rose, Nick’s mom, reminded me of my own mother because of them had a lot of opinions regarding their children’s romantic interests. The only difference was that Deborah was more of a control freak, whereas Mama was more of a counselor. I disliked Deborah because she was an insufferable stage mom. She doted on Nick like he was still a child and basically took over his and Naomi’s wedding plans. Harold, Nick’s spineless dad, made things worse by letting his wife take charge of everything. I deeply understood why Naomi was scared of becoming a member of Nick’s family.
Naomi and Nick’s “competition” was the best part of the book. If this novel became a movie, it would be an epic rom-com. The characters resorted to the most childish tactics just to annoy each other. I’ll never forget how Naomi tried to make Nick wet his bed by putting his hand in a bowl of water while he slept. Her plan failed, but it was funny, nonetheless. It was delightful to see their pranks evolve from malicious to playful/flirty.
The reasons for the couple’s mutual hate were mostly valid. Naomi resented Nick for staying silent whenever Deborah insulted her; Nick resented Naomi for limiting his career growth. There was much miscommunication between them because their engagement was built on a facade of perfection. They might have avoided this dilemma if they had acted genuinely from the start. Who knew that courtship could have an element of deception?
Overall, I highly recommend You Deserve Each Other because it comically illustrates how honesty and familiarity are prerequisites to a happy and fruitful marriage. However, please know that I’m not an advocate of cohabitation. If you want to know your partner’s true colors, you don’t need to emulate the protagonists and live together before your wedding. Perhaps by staying true to yourself during the dating period, you could avoid lots of unpleasant surprises after marriage? I know that it’s easier said than done, so don’t roll your eyes at me. xD