When I picked this title up, I expected an overly angsty back and forth between former childhood friends. I expected almost the typical second chance path of the story. What I didn’t expect was the emotional roller coaster of Make Me Hate You.
Make Me Hate You was better than I could have hoped. Moments of my stomach dropping, tears, and laughter. So many feelings connected to the journey of these two characters. I am just… wow. I am not sure I can put into words how devastatingly good this book is. There were moments in this book where the push and the pull between them was overwhelming. I don’t ever feel the story took a typical path to the HEA.
Jasmine returned home to New Hampshire with the hopes of finally confronting her past and putting the 7 years of hurt and sorrow behind her. She returns home for her best friend’s wedding. Jasmine was living her best life, or what she had thought was her best life, on the other side of the country. She had a boyfriend who was kind and wonderful and loved her deeply. She had found success as a podcaster. She had made a community for herself there. But she spent 7 years avoiding home all because Tyler had declared their one night together as a mistake.
I really don’t think Jasmine’s realized how much her issues of abandonment and feelings of inadequacy affected her life and how she lived. Even though she had other “relationships” she never truly felt whole for seven years. It took her going home to realize that she was the reason that she was alone. That it wasn’t because her mother had abandoned her, or Tyler had told her them making love was a mistake, it was because she never felt worthy or that she had a soft place to land. Jasmine’s Aunt gives her some very telling advise that we should all heed. Sometimes we have to pick what is right for us and not worry if it is going to hurt others. So if loving Tyler was what was right for her no matter if it hurt Jasmine’s boyfriend and Tyler’s girlfriend if it was right for her than she needed to tell him and allow her self to feel and express that love.
I do wish we had a few chapters from Tyler’s point of view. I think it would have given us some more insight to his own personal turmoil. You could tell from his action that he had long love Jasmine. But being respectful of what his sister told him he did what he thought was right for Jas, again putting others before his own needs and feelings. When you think about it that is a profound way to show selfcare. While no one likes to hurt people sometimes it must happen for you to truly care for yourself.
Best friend’s brother/ child friend books can very easily fall flat. The relationships can sometime come off as sibling love. Not the case for these two you could feel the attraction and longing between Jasmine and Tyler from the first interaction. Make Me Hate You was sexy without being overtly graphic. There is an intensity between Jasmine and Tyler that will knock you for a loop.
I do want to take a minute to talk about the Wagner Family. Morgan and her parents are something to behold. Morgan’s love for her friend even while it might have caused some miscommunication and lost time is profound. She was doing everything she could to protect her best friend’s heart and knew that with all the things going on her life picking up a relationship with Tyler might not be the best for Jasmine. That is a friend we could all use. Now I wish she hadn’t remained silent to Jas about her knowing about the interaction or pushed for Tyler and Jas to confront each other sooner. Mr and Mrs Wagner are extraordinary people. They loved and accepted Jas from the first day that Morgan brought her home. It makes me sad that they didn’t reach other to Jas sooner and encourage to come home. They so easily accepted that Jas moved on. That she didn’t love them enough to come be with the family. Jas’ Aunt Laura tried to get her to come home but being the mother figure, she didn’t push but she tried. If the Wagner’s had maybe reached out sooner maybe Jas and Ty might have found their way back to each other soon.
This was a 5/5 star read for me. I really loved it. I loved these complex characters. I loved that it wasn’t an easy road to their happiness. I liked that it was paved with bits of heartache and tears, I feel like they needed that to find their HEA. This was my first-time reading Kandi Steiner and I will be adding a few more books of hers to my TBR Pile.