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Book Review: First Love, Take Two (The Trouble With Hating You #2) (ARC)

Expected publication: September 21st 2021

Author: Sanji Patel

On the verge of realizing her dream of being a doctor, Preeti Patel should be ecstatic. But between the stress of her residency, trying to find a job, and managing her traditional, no-boundaries family, Preeti’s anxiety is through the roof. Relationships and love aren’t even an option. Fortunately, Preeti’s finally found a new place to stay . . . only to discover that her new roommate is her ex.

Preeti never quite got over Daniel Thompson. Super-hot, plenty of swagger, amazing cook—the guy is practically perfect. And if it weren’t for their families, there might have been a happily ever after. But it’s hard to keep her sanity and libido in check when the man of her dreams is sleeping mere feet away. Can Preeti and Daniel find a way to stand up and fight for each other one last time . . . before they lose their second chance?

[The Trouble With Hating You (#1) Review]

First Love, Take Two is the second novel in the Trouble with Love series. As the novels feature different main characters within the same larger group, each novel can be read as a standalone. This novel focuses on Preeti Patel, who is a resident at a hospital in Houston.  She works extremely hard and is heavily involved at her hospital as she tries to prove to them that she deserves a permanent position. This in itself is an extreme stressful point in her life and right at the start of the novel, it was a great introduction to the character. Outside of her professional life, she faces a lot more pressure from her family to get married to someone they approve of and begin a family of her own. When Preeti needs to move, her best friend Liya, who now lives in Dallas, offers her place temporarily until the lease finishes. The only catch is that Preeti’s ex-boyfriend Daniel will also be there as he needs temporary housing while his place is renovated. With no other better option available, Pretti agrees and now she must face the ex she walked away from without an explanation.

Daniel Thompson comes from a wealthy family that comes with its own obligations. He was left extremely broken hearted when Preeti broke up with him unexpectedly years ago and he is desperate for an explanation. The reader is given the main point of the two families not approving of their relationship very early on in the novel, while Daniel mostly is left in the dark. Everything is revealed over time and eventually everything comes out into the open. There is a little bit of family drama mixed with the mis-communication trope as Preeti keeps the information from Daniel, even though he is constantly asking for it. While I absolutely loved Daniel, there were moments where I felt that he was inconsistent. It made him relatable to not be linear in his thinking as real people think a variety of thoughts and not everything makes sense all the time; however, there were moments where I just wanted  a little more exploration into these moments. One time he flirts with Preeti as if nothing has changed between them and the next he is upset. Again, these are realistic changes in emotion given their situation and I just wanted a little more in-depth look into this roller coaster.

The two characters each have their own emotional and mental health concerns that they deal with throughout their story. I especially loved the exploration into Preeti’s touch aversion, as it is more common, if you read many textbooks and articles, than most people think. I also greatly loved how the stigma surrounding mental health, especially in some communities, was addressed within the story. There are the cultural aspects of the novel as Daniel is Black and Preeti is India, so, as the author noted in the novel, there is discussion of racism in the story. Additionally, there are the family dynamics that each character deals with on a daily basis. Then, there are the pressures from each family to have their children married to people that they choose. Daniel’s family wants him to marry someone who can fit into their high-end society while Pretti’s wants her to marry someone within the community. All of these multiple elements tie together within this second-chance romance. I greatly enjoyed that there was a lot of depth into these two characters as there are reasons on each side of the argument if they should pursue a relationship again.

Overall, the story has many heartwarming moments and multiple journeys of self-discovery and growth. As the two characters have an established history, the reader first meets them in their broken stage after years apart before looking into the possibility of a future as a couple and into their past. Even if they decide to try the relationship again, it is not a simple re-build as there are many obstacles to face before it could be possible. The ending of the story is satisfying and there is a lot of potential to revisit the couple if the series continues. It was enjoyable to see a little into the current stage for Liya and Jay and I hope there is more to come since I greatly enjoyed this novel!

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Forever, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

4 thoughts on “Book Review: First Love, Take Two (The Trouble With Hating You #2) (ARC)

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