Review: It Takes Two by Jenny Holiday

Reviewed by Caitlin

It Takes Two is the second book in Jenny Holiday’s “Bridesmaids Behaving Badly” series. I absolutely loved the first one – One and Only – and highly recommend it. It Takes Two tells Wendy Liu and Noah Denning’s story.

Wendy’s best friend, Jane Denning, is getting married and Wendy is trying as hard as she can to be happy for her. Whereas the bride in book 1 was a straight-up bridezilla in the traditional sense, Jane is almost more difficult to deal with. Every time Jane mentions how “low-key” she wants her wedding to be, I laughed. Girl, just be high-maintenance. It’s not any worse than high-maintenance-pretending-to-be-low-maintenance.

Worse than that, however, is that Jane is the other member of the “Dead Dad Club” she and Wendy created when they first met each other as children, and now Wendy feels totally alone. And – worse and worse – this means interacting with Jane’s older brother Noah, who she always had a crush on and who stood her up at the prom to take on an extra shift at the grocery store.

After his father died in a drunk driving accident, Noah takes it on himself to keep the family afloat. His mother is a wreck who won’t leave the house, and his sister Jane is two years younger and can’t really contribute. Between doing well enough in school to get a full ride to NYU and working full-time at the grocery store, Noah has always had one mode: provider. Seventeen years after he graduated high school, that is still his modus operandi.

Noah always throws Wendy off her game, so she has spent her time since high school avoiding Noah as much as possible. Noah, who felt like a perv for his attraction to Wendy back in high school, still feels a bit protective of her and is still very much attracted to her. They both went on to become lawyers – Wendy for a private firm as a criminal defense attorney who does pro bono work for Legal Aid, Noah as a criminal prosecutor – and their law talk is literally foreplay. It’s the sexiest law talk I’ve ever read, I’ll tell you that right now.

Normally, I’d roll my eyes at a kick-ass heroine at the top of her field unable to get over getting stood up at the prom for a valid enough reason. However, Holiday does such a good job painting Wendy that we get it. Sure, in the grand scheme of things, getting stood up at a school dance because your date – who, as a high schooler, supports his family – had to work late isn’t a huge deal. But on an emotional level, Wendy is a girl who put in a lot of effort to look cute for her crush at prom, only to have him never show up. It’s a nice reminder that our feelings are always valid, and the more we try to shove them down or minimize them, the harder it gets to get over them.

I love Jenny Holiday. She is an excellent writer who creates stories I cannot put down. I went back and read all of her books after I checked out One and Only last year, and I liked literally every single one. She has an easy writing style while also creating fully-dimensional characters you want to root for. If you like contemporary romance, I highly recommend Jenny Holiday.

As for this novel in particular, while I definitely enjoyed it, I think I preferred One and Only. I empathize with what Noah had to do growing up, and I think he’s a genuinely good guy (another fun thing Jenny Holiday does is write heroes who are all genuinely good guys), but there were times I wanted to scream in his face. I also don’t get how Jane didn’t see the strain between her best friend and her brother considering they all grew up together. There were a few times where I wanted to sit all of these adults in their 30s down and say “hey, please be honest about your feelings because it could save everyone a lot of unnecessary heartache.”

That said, the book made me laugh out loud (even romantic comedies I enjoy don’t always do that), and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Any hero who promises to go down on a heroine the first time is a-ok with me. I can’t wait for Gia’s story next time, and I’m curious about how Holiday is going to deal with her eating disorder and very, very casual sex life.

Grade: B

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

It Takes Two
by Jenny Holiday
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Publisher: Forever

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