The Trouble With Hating You by Sajni Patel was so amazing! This might well be one of my favorite books of 2020 so far.
The book deals with some serious issues, but it’s also romantic and funny, with a kickass heroine and a swoon-worthy hero. It really has all the things!
Strong-willed and proudly single, an engineer walks out when her parents set her up with a lawyer – but when work brings them together again, she just might give love a second chance.
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 rescue 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 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 out in this laugh-out-loud romantic-comedy debut about first impressions, second chances, and finding the love of your life in the most unexpected way.
Liya and Jay
Liya was my kind of heroine from the start. While she might have gone a bit too far with the rude a few times, we see different angles of her. How worried she is about her mom, how conflicted about her father, and what a great and caring friend she is. She’s a modern Indian-American woman chafing at the traditional rules common in the community her parents belong to.
And then there’s Jay. I absolutely adored this guy! I’m not much of a swooner but he’s one fantastic dude. And just about perfect for Liya. I actually fell for him. Also, I have to admit, I’m a sucker for a good “saving the damsel in distress even though she’s not a damsel”-moment. It’s just so friggin romantic! Not to mention that I loved his mom and how he loved her.
Even though The Trouble With Hating You doesn’t have explicit sex scenes (which I didn’t miss but would have fit into the book perfectly), sex is very much a topic. And the hero and heroine have a dynamic that I love and wish was more common in Romance: She’s more sexually active and experienced than he is.
This is a piece of the puzzle for why she’s not the most popular person in their community. But it’s also something she herself is completely happy and at peace with. So is Jay, as well as all of Liya’s friends.
Now, this also ties in with a plotline of childhood sexual abuse (<– trigger warning!). While this happened in the past, there is a lot of verbal abuse on-page that I found difficult to listen to, especially in regard to her father. All I can say – so as not to give spoilers – is that I was very glad how the entire situation was solved. And I felt it was very respectful towards the heroine and her choice.
Throughout the book and in the way it ended, The Trouble With Hating You had a wonderful balance of presenting traditions not only as something that comes with pressure and expectations but also as something that you can choose for yourself as a free and fulfilling path. Feminism for me means freedom to choose whether you want to stay at home and cook or have a career, or anything in-between that works for you. But neither should be considered the lesser option by default. So, I really appreciated how Sajni Patel handled this!
Nevertheless – or because of this – the actual Happy Ending was perfect and I loved how it stayed true to the characters and their paths!
For principle reasons, as a huge audiobook fan, I first have to mention here that I would have preferred two narrators for this book since this is a dual point of view story. With that being said, Soneela Nankani is fantastic and was the perfect choice for this audiobook! She has a great voice for the hero and a wide range of character voices. I found her extremely pleasant to listen to! And I finally learned the correct pronunciation of Indian food and fashion items.
Yes! Absolutely! The Trouble with Hating You by Sajni Patel definitely belongs in your Audible library! This Enemies to Lovers story has so much depth and is so emotional. It has wonderful, charming main characters, fantastic writing, and an outstanding narration!
This audiobook is credit-worthy!
Or get it on Libro.fm** and support indie bookshops. (The first audiobook is free!)