cover image You Deserve Each Other

You Deserve Each Other

Sarah Hogle. Putnam, $16 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-08542-4

With a narrator readers will either love or hate, Hogle’s over-the-top debut takes the progression of lovers-to-enemies (and back to lovers) to an unbelievable extreme. Almost two years after Naomi Westfield and Nicholas Rose’s first date, the picture perfect couple is engaged and Nick’s overbearing mother, Deborah, is planning their wedding. Naomi despises Deborah and Nick can’t stand Naomi’s artsy work friends. And Nick and Naomi have grown to loath one another as well, but have kept that a secret since neither can break the engagement without incurring massive bills and embarrassment. Instead, they embark on an all-out prank war as each tries to get the other to end things first. Though the couple’s shenanigans are written as humorous fun that help them rediscover the joy of their relationship and slowly bring them back together, the pranks themselves frequently verge on gaslighting and actual cruelty: Naomi sabotages Nick’s business and breaks his phone, Nick berates Naomi and dangles the potential of him having an affair in her face. Hogle has a gift for detail and narrative flow, but many readers will grow frustrated by Naomi’s voice, which alternates between snarkiness and whininess. This rom-com is not for the faint of heart. Agent: Jennifer Grimaldi, Chalberg & Sussman. (Apr.)