Cover Image: The Trouble with Hating You

The Trouble with Hating You

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Member Reviews

I really enjoyed The Trouble with Hating You by Sajni Patel.

The story starts off quick and held a steady pace the entire book. Initially, I was enjoying the story, then it seemed to turn into a man hating book (which I do not like,) but then you start to understand Liya’s backstory, and then I started to enjoy it again. 

The characters of Liya and Jay are the main attraction in this story. Each is so different, but wonderful in their own way. I loved the way their relationship was portrayed in this book. It was a very real and steady buildup throughout the entire story. The supporting characters were also well written and quite realistic. My favourite supporting chracters, even though I did not always agree with their decisions, were Liya and Jay’s mothers. 

I struggled a bit with the child birth scene. Child birth freaks me out, and it was explained in pretty graphic detail. 

I read this book in one sitting. I cannot wait to read more by Sajni Patel. She has such a gift for writing characters. 

Trigger Warning: Talk of Sexual Assault, Graphic Child Birth 

I received an eARC from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) through NetGalley. All opinions are 100% my own.
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4.5 stars

I think it's a true testament to how much I love the main characters when I'm just sitting in my car angry crying at what people have done to her. This is how I felt about Liya. I love her and hated everyone that had wronged her or put her down in the past. 

I love Liya and Jay together. They have a funny/embarrassing meet cute and Liya just wants to steer clear of him. But, of course, they start bumping into each other everywhere. They start working together and while they are both still reluctant about each other, they definitely start seeing the truth behind what each of them likes to show the world. They both have pain in their past and they let each other into that pain. They really allow themselves to be fully seen by the other and I loved that so much.

I'm also obsessed with Jay's family. His mom is amazing and I loved her so much!!!
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I love reading romances that center around Indian culture, which is why I was so excited to read this debut novel.  I’ll admit though, I didn’t jump on it right away and I started seeing some mixed reviews for it.  But I started reading it with an open mind and as a disclaimer, also not the biggest knowledge of true Indian culture.  That being said, I can’t necessarily give you an opinion on that representation.

THE TROUBLE WITH HATING YOU was an entertaining book to read but I wasn’t 100% sold on it.  I think one of the things that I had the hardest time with was liking the heroine.  She’s pretty tough and unlikeable most of the book.  And I had the most trouble with when it came to her interactions with the hero and how she treated him.  Also in her behavior in society and a little also on her high opinion of herself. Granted, we know there’s something that has shaped her personality to be the way she is.  When it’s revealed, yes I felt terrible for her.  But I hate that this is dragged on for so long in the book. For me, her redemption came a little too late as I already didn’t care enough about her.

All that being said, there are many things about this story that made it entertaining, like I said before. I still consider it a pretty good debut novel and I’ll probably try another book by this author.
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The Trouble with Hating You is a strong romance debut, one that does a really good job navigating discussions of slut shaming and abuse.

Liya and Jay have a really good meetcute...or series of meetcutes actually. First, her parents plan a meeting with him as a potential marriage candidate without telling her, and she literally runs him down trying to escape. Then, she bumps into him at the mandir, when her friends are using a practice room after his friends. THEN he turns out to be one of the lawyers brought in to help her firm deal with a series of lawsuits.

Seriously, the set up for the romance is excellent, and Patel does a great job with hate to love where they're both convincingly good people the entire time but also convincingly annoyed with one another. Liya's good but she's hard, because she's had to build a wall to protect herself from the judgment of those around her. The reader sees her suffer from microaggressions and major ones constantly throughout the novel, and it's honestly impressive that she's not even more withdrawn. Liya's fear of commitment and lack of trust makes perfect sense, rather than feeling like her being wishy-washy to lengthen the book. I like how long and hard he has to work to get her to trust him.

Meanwhile, Jay's a sweetheart. I like how much he's not an alpha dude and how much he loves Liya's strength, even when her stubbornness and lack of trust frustrates him. I like how he gets overwhelmed but always, with a wee bit of time to think, realizes what she's going through and deals with her in a really healthy, helpful way. I did feel like Jay's past trauma didn't really add anything to the novel, other than trying to keep him from being entirely perfect and together.

Generally, since I like my romances lighthearted most of the time, I prefer if they don't get into topics like sexual abuse, which are tough to cover in an effective manner without making the book too sad/angry to be enjoyable the way I want romance to be. Patel does this super duper well. Also, I love love love that there's nothing about her needing to forgive or any bullshit like that. Even better, once her new people find out, they not only support her but want to take action.

The one thing that I didn't like was that both Liya and Jay express that they don't want kids early on in the book, but that's been walked back by the end. Basically as soon as they see Jay's nephew, they both wants kids. As a person who does not want kids, I HATE when romances force kids on someone who doesn't want them. (There are situations where they want them but don't feel they DESERVE them, but this book is not that.) When this happens, it feels like parent propaganda and get that out of here. There are so few romances where the characters don't want kids that it's cruel to have them change their minds like this. I'll note that they do not have kids in the book, but they do have a discussion about it and are both pretty pro-baby.

This didn't quite click for me in the way where they became real people to me and I was so invested I felt it all in my bones, but I liked it a lot from start to finish. I'm very impressed with this debut, and I'm excited to see what Patel does next, because if she just improves from here, oh it's gonna be epic.
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I just loved this book! Liya and Jay offered such a refreshing point of view that is sorely overlooked in this genre. The influence of their Indian culture throughout the story was one of my favorite parts and should absolutely make this book stand out amidst other contemporary romances released this year.

Something that was obvious to me right away is that Liya and I would NOT get along! While we actually share a lot of the same views, she was much more outspoken and blunt. The difference in our personalities made her a fun character to get to know. She was frustrating a lot of the time but was very true to herself - reminding me strongly of a Jo March or Kat Stratford from “10 Things I Hate About You”. And Jay!! I mean come on. An absolute gentleman.

As a trigger warning, there are many discussions of sexual assault in ‘The Trouble With Hating You’. Sajni Patel did an excellent job covering this topic and detailing how Liya’s situation is unfortunately a painfully familiar one to many women. This book was relevant, funny, sad, and romantic and should absolutely be on your TBR!
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Oh my god, this writing is so bad. How is this writing so bad? It's so stiff and stilted and awkward and there is absolutely zero subtlety. It's seriously making me want to punch a wall; I literally cannot push through it to read the actual story, which is actually really interesting!  I DNF'd at 15%.
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The Trouble With Hating You was truly such a delightful read! I loved the many mentions of food and the j dian culture represented, as well as the strong and feisty protagonist, Liya Thakkar.

I loved how she went against tradition and embraced more modern dating ideals, and stood up for what she believed in, not who and what her family thought was best for her in a partner and future.

There were laughable moments, but a lot of good steam which I loved too, and I highly recommend this one!

*many thanks to Forever publishing and Netgalley for the gifted copy. All opinions are my own
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This is one of the books I picked up and put down back when the pandemic first hit the US. I finally started it again over the weekend and devoured it within 24 hours. I LOVED The Trouble with Hating You! 

This is such a strong and well done debut. Liya is a biochemical engineer with no interest to get married. Her parents have other plans and continually set her up with the hopes she will become a traditional Indian wife. The meet cute between Liya and Jay is pretty great. She literally crashes into him as she’s trying to flee her parents house. Not realizing that he also was the lawyer brought in to try and help the company she works for. 

If you love enemies to lovers, I think this is a must try. The chemistry between these two isn’t immediate, there is definitely a lot of dislike in the beginning. It really felt like Liya hated him at parts. Even so I felt a whole lot of swoon while I read it! I had such a hard time putting the book down, I just wanted to know what would happen with Liya and Jay! 

I loved this glimpse into Indian culture and what it’s like to be a young woman trying to date surrounded by strict traditions. I really enjoyed Liya’s inner voice, she was so strong for the entire book. I enjoyed Jay a lot too, and he provided a ton of swoon worthy moments, but Liya was the standout for me. 

There’s definitely a big content warning for the sexual assault aspect of the book, for a romance I was not expecting how heavy those parts would be. They were  completely gut wrenching, I cried when reading them. I also cried during the parts when Liya was treated badly for being seen as sexually promiscuous by her community. But I thought the author handled both so well. 

I honestly loved The Trouble with Hating You so much. I didn’t want it to end! 4.5 stars (5 for Netgalley)
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The Trouble with Hating You was a romance novel on the surface but there was truly so much more to this book (not to knock romance which is one of my favorite genres!) I learned tons about Indian culture through Patel's writing and the serious toll traditions and cultural norms can take on someone. There are some assault triggers in this read so something to be aware of. I am definitely looking forward to reading more from Patel in the future.
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A really good diverse romance that made me laugh throughout the whole book. It was a great enemies to lovers read, and I will definitely be checking out the author’s future books.
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THE TROUBLE WITH HATING YOU by Sajni Patel. I am loving the influx of women bosses in romancelandia - CRUSH IT! When Liya is tricked by her parents into a surprise dinner with a suitor, she unapologetically leaves ASAP. What starts as animosity between her and the suitor she spurned turns into something sweeter as the two end up working together through their jobs. This is a classic enemies to lovers story that will have you rooting for Liya and Jay as they tackle the trauma from their pasts.⁣
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This one is unfortunately a DNF for me at chapter 12. I was really having a hard time with it overall, especially since I couldn’t warm up to Liya at all. She’s rude and annoying. I started to understand where her attitude comes from but there are triggers in this book that I steer clear of so I’m going to have to call it.

Jay seems to be a really great guy but he can’t carry the whole book. I also appreciate the author wanting to make a statement about traditional views and all but it’s a bit forced down your throat.

I was looking forward to reading this book because I wanted to expand the diversity in my reading but I do not read books about abuse. There was no hint of it in the book synopsis otherwise I would not have requested the title.
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Liya Thakkar is a biochemical engineer, and has pretty much sworn off men (or at least love). She just wants to be left alone to live her life. But of course her parents can’t let her do that, and they spring a husband candidate on her at a family dinner. Liya is outraged and sneaks out, only to be confronted with the man at her office the following week. Turns out he’s a lawyer who has been brought in try and save the company she works for. He’s not too pleased that she took one look at him and ran either.

I really wanted to love this one, after all, enemies to lovers (or at least dislike to like) is usually my favorite romance trope! But while the premise of the book sounded great it fell a bit flat for me. I didn’t feel like the characters were developed enough and I didn’t really feel the spark between Liya and Jay.

The dialogue also felt forced and unnatural to me and there weren’t really any of the laugh-out-loud moments I was promised, which was a bit of a let-down. There was some very real family drama though, and poor Liya has a horribly unsupportive father to deal with plus the added worry of making sure her mother isn’t suffering at his hand.

What I did enjoy was learning more about Indian-American culture, traditions, and the pressures that Liya was put under as she was torn between having a career and the more traditional life her parents expected her to embrace.

While not Indian, one of my best friends growing up had a marriage arranged for her (from when she was in high-school, although they didn’t get married until the year after she graduated) so I’ve seen things from the other perspective as well, where a woman openly embraces the tradition. My friend was patient enough with me to explain her reasons for wanting that sort of match, and teaching me about some of her family and cultural traditions.

I feel I should warn you that there is a sexual assault in the book, in case that is a trigger for you.

I’d definitely say this one was more of a family drama than rom-com.
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3.5 stars.
The Trouble with Hating You is beautiful but difficult, a challenge, much like its heroine. It's a story about an arranged romantic introduction that starts out bad, gets worse before it gets better, and then eventually ends wonderfully. When Liya meets Jay, she's been through deep, lasting trauma, more than anyone should ever have to withstand, and it shows in how she moves through the world and in how negatively she reacts to Jay's interest.

This is a family drama as much as it is a romance, and I think it's also meant to be a story about a culture of shame that's particularly hard on women. Though it happens off the page, the story really hinges on a devastating tale of child molestation and sexual harassment and the long-lasting ostracism that the lead character, Liya, suffers in its aftermath. Her abuser plays a key role in the story as he's a member of their tight-knit Indian community and is determined to shun and shame her at every turn both to protect himself and because he's a sexist and just a terrible human being. Between him and Liya's terrible, patriarchal father, there are many dramatic scenes of emotional abuse, family dysfunction and suffering.

In the midst of all this, Jay tries hard to break through her defenses in order to forge a relationship. It's tough. She's traumatized and distrustful and cautious about male authority, all with good reason, all very understandably so. He eventually succeeds, and together they form a really lovely and equal bond, but boy do they have a hard row to hoe first.

Thankfully, the author also surrounds Liya and Jay with a wonderful cast of supportive characters, and that helps. Jay's family is wonderful and Liya has excellent female friends. These relationships help balance out the judgmental characters in the community and in Liya's own family. But her trauma and the misogyny she faces take up a lot of space in this story, and they also took a toll on me. I'm glad I read this book. I'm happy about the choices the couple made and how Jay really showed up for Liya and how she stood up for herself. But I didn't always enjoy the reading experience. For me the balance between drama and romance was a little off. I found myself wanting to know what came next but also dreading it. I was terrified to see what the dark moment might look like in the final stretch when I had already waded through so much darkness.
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In The Trouble with Hating You, Sajni Patel brilliantly shows how young Indian Americans blend the Indian ethics and morals their parents brought with them from India — and tried to inculcate in their progeny — and the American principles they grew up with among their peers. Ultimately, the book is an exploration of deeply-held values, how our past shapes us, and how we can intentionally step forward into life.

Liya wants nothing to do with Jay and he finds he can’t keep himself away from her. What follows is a story of such tenderness as he softens her sharp corners even as he works his way into her heart past all the barricades she continually throws up. When she finally stops blocking his every move to draw closer to her, she realizes that he is struggling with intense guilt that he has successfully hidden from everyone but his close family. In so doing, she helps him move past the bonds of grief and guilt into thinking that he is deserving of all the happiness she can give him.

The heart of this story is how Jay convinces her that she is worthy of respect, worthy of love. To him, she is the moon and the earth and the sky. It is because of him that she recognizes that self-hatred has been destroying her from within, that it is okay to be compassionate to herself, that it is okay to be vulnerable with the one person who will always lift her up, who thinks she is aces. 

Patel has created a powerful heroine in Liya Thakkar in all her guises and complexity. And in Jay Shah, she has created the perfect consort. In a role reversal, Liya is the Lord Shiva to Jay’s Parvati. I highly recommend The Trouble with Hating You.

Full Review:
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I really, really liked this novel. I loved both of the main characters from the perseverance of Jay to the strength and independence of Liya. 

This novel gave me feelings that were similar to "The Kiss Quotient" by Helen Hoang in writing style and certain elements of the story. Although both of these stories are vastly different and incomparable in plot, there was something that just connected the two for me. 

As well, I can't speak from personal experience and therefore have to tread carefully here but from what I have been told from friends living in a similar community, this can be an accurate portrayal in respect to authority and leading the family. Again, this is not a true representation of ALL households but can be for some. 

As light of a novel as this is, it still deals with incredibly difficult content. Not only from Liya's past but from the trauma as a result. I'm going to be honest in saying that as much as I sincerely hope there is no one living in a similar circumstance, I know there will be some people who are. I hope some of those people are able to read this novel and have it speak to them and give them the strength that they need.

***Thank you to the publisher for supplying me with an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***
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I loved the cultural setting for this book but was a little put off by the usual romance novel tropes. I had trouble really getting emotionally involved in the story even though I really wanted to get sucked in. Still, I would definitely read the next one.
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I loved this! I listened to it in one day. And while, it was a quick read, it wasn’t super light. The Indian culture of main characters (Liya and Jay) is highlighted (their first encounter is on a possible arranged marriage date), but their flirty banter is the big star of this book! I’d highly recommend it!
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Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 stars

I wish I knew exactly how I felt about this book. To say that is was good is correct but it had some above par elements and a few sub par elements as well. 

What I enjoyed:
- that I was reading a story about a culture different than my own.
- that the characters were flawed and imperfect.
- that the attraction and affection grew incrementally (especially with Liya)
- that after reading it, it left me with a good feeling
- the side characters, especially Jay's family and her girl posse

What missed the mark:
- Liya's impulsiveness was true to her character, but a bit annoying
- that some pretty heavy topics were danced around rather than fully explored
- too few love scenes (I'd have appreciated a little more steam)

In all, I liked the network of people that were introduced and I'd be interested in reading more about the side characters that were introduced.
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A quick and enjoyable read with some tough issues woven through. I found it a little uneven in parts, but overall tore through it and hope we get to hear the stories of Liya's friends.
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