Special thanks to St. Martin’s Press for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!
Goodreads: How to Love Your Neighbor
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Published: 18 January 2022
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Interior Design School? Check. Cute house to fix up? Check.
Sexy, grumpy neighbor who is going to get in the way of your plans? Check. Unfortunately.
Grace Travis has it all figured out. In between finishing school and working a million odd jobs, she’ll get her degree and her dream job. Most importantly, she’ll have a place to belong, something her harsh mother could never make. When an opportunity to fix up—and live in—a little house on the beach comes along, Grace is all in. Until her biggest roadblock moves in next door.
Noah Jansen knows how to make a deal. As a real estate developer, he knows when he’s found something special. Something he could even call home. Provided he can expand by taking over the house next door–the house with the combative and beautiful woman living in it.
With the rules for being neighborly going out the window, Grace and Noah are in an all-out feud. But sometimes, your nemesis can show you that home is always where the heart is.
TL;DR: How to Love Your Neighbor started out strong for me—I was immediately pulled in by the beginning and I enjoyed the slightly antagonistic banter between Grace and Noah. Sadly, as the story progressed I started to get restless with the book as my interest waned. It’s not badly written and it did have enjoyable elements to it but something felt lacking. I wanted more chemistry, more friendship, more romance, just more!
This was a closed-door, grumpy-sunshine enemies-to-lovers romance that’s partly a rom-com and low-angst. There’s insta-lust between our characters from the moment they meet before they knew that they’d be neighbours and part of me feels the romance was a little insta-love as well cos I’m not sure how much time exactly passes from start to finish.
I honestly wasn’t quite sure how to feel about Noah at the beginning. He made a mistake and apologised for it immediately, which was great, but then not too long after promising to do better, he hurts Grace again anyway and it just felt a little ‘eh’ about it. Ngl, I think Grace let him off the hook too easy both times considering how hurtful he was, whether intentional or not, but maybe I’m just petty like that! 😂 In contrast, I liked Grace from the moment we meet her. She’s a little clumsy and awkward but she’s such a hard-working and passionate ray of sunshine—I admired her grind although, admittedly, it was sometimes exhausting reading about how many jobs she held down! Despite him being a poor-rich boy and her having to work tirelessly for every scrap, they both grew up having extremely toxic relationships with their parents (Noah with his father, Grace with her mother) but this similarity opens the way for understanding between them and strengthens their connection as they share their vulnerability.
While I loved the tension between Grace and Noah at the beginning I didn’t ever feel overly invested in their relationship as the story progressed. That said, I did like how they both developed! Theirs is not a perfect relationship or romance, but it’s realistic as it’s clear they’re both new to relationships and aren’t quite sure how to navigate these new grounds. I really liked how they maturely dealt with any issues that they encountered and that they found a way to work through them together. I was definitely here for the healthy and open communication between them—and I was pleasantly surprised that Noah was the one who voiced the importance of good communication to the success of any relationship because YAAAS!
There was actually a big group of supporting characters on both sides and I kind of wished that they played a bigger role in the story. I enjoyed seeing Noah interact with his brother Chris and Chris’s girlfriend, Everly, as well as with his assistant, Josh, too. I also really liked Rosie and Grace’s supportive BFF relationship and would’ve loved to see more time with them together. Morty was also such a great character and I really wanted more of the dynamic between him and Grace because he was like a father to her but his appearances were sadly few and far between.
Sophie Sullivan is a new-to-me author and I thought the book was well-written. For the most part, the story flowed well and it was an easy read as I finished the book in a matter of hours. I personally found that the author had a tendency to overly repeat phrases within a paragraph, which got a little irritating, but not enough for me to stop reading. However, as I’ve mentioned, the further the story progressed the more my interest waned as things become more mundane, with just a few exciting bits mixed in. I found some of the home reno stuff exciting because I love those kinds of projects and yes, I visualised Grace’s work to be stunning, but the more the story focused on the everyday moments, i.e. “Grace did this, Noah did that. They went here and they bought that”, the more my eyes glazed over.
Overall, while I did enjoy this read it wasn’t a favourite and nothing about it particularly stood out to me in any way. I’m glad that I gave this book a try and I’m sure that many readers will enjoy it! I also enjoyed this romance enough to want to check out other books by this author in the future.
Have you read How to Love Your Neighbor or is it on your TBR?