Review: I Hate You, I Love You by Elizabeth Hayley
Y'all. It took me 9 whole days to break my book slump. I don't know what it was, but thank the Lord for this book. I mean, obviously, with a title like that, I was absolutely enthralled. Enemies to lovers is one of my favorite tropes. I totally forgot I had this badboy waiting for me on my kindle. And 3 hours after starting, I was finished and the slump had been broken. Booya!
Story Line: Let's talk about the setting of this gorgeous book. It takes place at a college campus in New England. I'm already swooning. There's just something about that area of the US that has me totally enamored with it. And this isn't a college romance. It's a college based romance, yes. But it's not the students that are enemies. Oh no. It's the professors. And boy did I fall in love with both of their characters. Naomi is a poetry prof, and Sebastian is a creative writing prof. So they work out of the same department, share office space, the whole nine yards. But Sebastian is a total dirt bag to Naomi. That's legit no exaggeration. And if I'm being totally honest, he was so much of a jackwagon, that I had to reread the excerpt a couple times throughout my 3 hour binge read to double check that this was in fact an enemies to lovers type of story. But even when these two are fighting, their chemistry is only magnified in its intensity.
Interaction: Naomi is a totally fierce female lead character. She is successful, has her act together, and has a close group of girlfriends. She doesn't need a man to make her happy. And she's darn proud of that. Her character is incredibly empowering. And then there's Sebastian. I promise you will hate him for at least half of the book. But it's a good hate. If that makes sense? Anyways, their sarcasm is probably my favorite part of their chemistry. Wait. No. That's a lie. The laundry is definitely my favorite part. But a super close second is their witty sarcasm. It's absolutely perfection.
Laundry: Ah, my favorite part. You know when you're reading a really spicy scene and you get that zing of electricity straight through you finger tips? Yeah I got that just from their flirting. YEAH. The slow burn was absolutely and sinfully perfect. When they kissed for the first time? ZING. When he walks her to her door. ZING. When they actually have laundry for the first time? ZIIIIING. A good book, I will totally feel a zing of electricity in my hands. But a fantastic book? I feel that zing every single chapter. And that's exactly what happened with this one.
Depth: There is so much more to Naomi and Sebastian's story than great interaction, steamy scenes and a transition from hate to love. Sebastian's history is devastating. Scratch that. It's heart shattering. And Naomi's? It's just as heart breaking. They each carry around a huge weight on their shoulders. And it takes a whole lot more heart ache for them to realize that not only can they be each other's shoulder to cry on, but they can also be that person to help them each finally heal and move on. Their pasts are heavy. But their healing is breathtaking.
I loved this story so much. It's a story about moving on after your world absolutely falls apart. It's about allowing someone else into you heart even when you don't think you'll ever be ready to forgive yourself. Naomi and Sebastian's pain was so perfectly worded that I felt, deep in bones, their sorrow. And in the end, I wept with joy for their triumph.