This hit all of my buttons—smashed them, really. When Harry Met Sally with some twists, and set in the present day?? Give it to me.
Plot Setup: When Harry Met Sally, literally, just more modern
Emotional damage: ★★★★★
Let me preface this review with an obvious caveat: I'm a huge fan of the 1990s hit movie, When Harry Met Sally. I love it. I've seen it way too many times. So when I received this early reader copy of You, Again and it said the magic words, I was all over it.
And it delivered all the vibes I wanted, plus a whole bunch of other ones that I didn't know I needed.
You, Again is a love letter to the messy ties that bind us to other people, the intricate ways we self-sabotage our needs, the fierce desire that we all have in our hearts for connection and purpose. It felt like a manifesto for the late 20-somethings and an intense mirror held up to our fault lines, our fears, and the worst authentic versions of ourselves.
It's a romance, sure, but it's more so a novel about human connection and enduring bonds. And I loved every minute of it.
When Ari and Josh first meet, the wrong kind of sparks fly. They hate each other. Instantly.
Ari's a hot mess. An aspiring comedian working the roulette wheel of temp jobs, sleeping in spare closets called rooms, and guarding her emotional core with spikes made of steel, Ari's the kind of modern-day female protagonist that we don't often see in novels.... but she's real. Uncomfortably real. (I felt called out, let's be honest.)
Josh is extremely put together on the outside. He's a talented chef, he's got inherited money and is employed well. He's talented, he's austere, he's witty and sharp. He's also a tangled mess of repression and self-loathing and anxiety spiraling and—okay, yeah, he's a mess too.
And fate keeps colliding these two messes together over time. Ari and Josh meeting in an apartment. Ari and Josh running into each other at a drunken New Year's Eve party. Ari and Josh running into each other on the literal streets of New York City.
When they both meet at their rock bottom worsts, the two give in to fate. They become friends.
And then, eventually, they messily collide into versions of themselves that realize that maybe it's time they became more than that.
Y'all.... You, Again gave me emotional damage. In the best way. Heartfelt, devastating, disturbingly real, and grounded in the "now" to the point where I felt like the author was just filming this poor couple in New York in secret—this novel was everything I was hoping to find. I loved it.
Will you love it? I don't know. It's not a stereotypical romance. It also relies too heavily on the When Harry Met Sally structure for the first 25% of the novel, so you've got to acknowledge that and keep going.
But if none of the above turns you off, you've got to try it. Eagerly looking forward to more from this author, who in my head is a messier, not-STEM-focused version of Ali Hazelwood.
Amy Imogene Reads
Just someone looking for her own door into Wonderland.