Amanda Woody is a metro-Detroit-based queer author. This is the debut of their first romance novel, with special attention to the enemies-to-lovers trope. They Hate Each Other is for all YA romance lovers who love a good fake dating to an actual dating story. It’s filled with humor and banter while shedding light on serious issues such as alcoholism, domestic abuse, class and privilege, adoption, and sexual harassment. If any of these situations overwhelm/trigger you as a reader, then proceed with caution when reading.
The Plot of They Hate Each Other
A fake dating scheme leads lifelong enemies Jonah and Dylan into a compromising position as they gain new perspectives on who they are. Jonah and Dylan never liked each other. Jonah Collins can describe Dylan Ramirez as an arrogant, spoiled golden boy with rich parents and a nice house. Dylan thinks he has Jonah all figured out as an attention seeker who never knows when to shut his vulgar mouth, the life of the party among his peers. The only reason they tolerate each other is that they are friends with the same people. Those friends are convinced they are secretly lusting after each other, with unknown chemistry.
Then one fateful night of partying later and they end up waking up in one bed together, which fuels the fire of rumors once it spreads. Mutually horrified, Dylan and Jonah agree to ‘fake date’ so the rumors can settle, then stage an ultimate break up so they can move on. But the more they spend time together, the more their plan seems to break as they finally see who they truly are for the first time.
My Thoughts After Reading Amanda Woody’s They Hate Each Other
First and foremost, what I enjoy about this book is the immediate normalization and acceptance of all the characters involved. To start, Dylan and Jonah are both bisexual. One of their best friends, Hanna, is asexual, and Jonah’s youngest sister Lily is transgender.
Dylan and Jonah seem like opposites from a glance, but there is so much depth in their character as you continue reading that it seems to be clear how they complement one another. Dylan is seen as responsible and a party pooper; his life is filled with loneliness due to his parents’ demanding jobs and not staying in the house that often. Not to mention his severed relationship with his older brother Tomas who he refuses to reach out to due to unresolved trauma. Dylan being Afro-Latino also brings an additional struggle of microaggressions and privilege stereotypes.
Jonah is very friendly and outgoing and though it may seem like he is well put together, he has his family situation that no one knows about. He lives in the more run-down side of the neighborhood and is the guardian of his tween sister Mikayla who rebels, and sweet Lily, who is the youngest. He is the fun-loving older brother who is strong and will take care of them. He works the night shift at a restaurant even though he’s a minor and does homework late into the morning. With a deadbeat father who drinks and is barely at home, he must harbor the responsibility to save money, buy food and pick up his siblings.
Even though it’s evident they aren’t comfortable around each other, once all these vulnerabilities and truths are exposed, they finally get a fresh perspective of what it’s really like for them outside of school. Dylan is supportive and helps Jonah out with his sisters while Jonah listens and helps Dylan through his internal issues, all while they rehash the past years of resentment, envy, and jealousy between them. This sparks a potential real relationship, but they first must face their pasts and hope there is a bright future for them.
They Hate Each Other will be released on May 9th, 2023. This is Amanda Woody’s first book debut. Preorder They Hate Each Other on Penguin Random House.
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