The Need to Know: A fun, flirty, and thoughtful foray into the world of weddings and Josh Groban concerts and Vegas bachelorette parties. All the best things, really.
This book takes me back. Back to high school, when I had a sweetly intense crush and dreamed of being asked to shuffle from side to side (I mean, dance) in a crowded, semi-dark gymnasium. I remember that longing—for the person to recognize that you were his person—and how the music and the lights and the awkwardly friendly shoulder bumping (don’t ask) all came together to create a moment that I’ll remember forever.
In Jenny Holiday’s It Takes Two, that moment is even more emotionally charged. When Wendy Liu, now a defense attorney living in Toronto, was in high school, she was in love with her best friend Jane’s brother, Noah, and he was going to take her to the prom. Instead, he took on an extra work shift, leaving her to stand by herself on the fringes of the dance floor, and reinforcing that she was not important to him on her own—outside of any duty he might feel as her best friend’s brother.
On the surface, this moment might seem it was a fairly common moment of benign rejection that a lot of us have experienced. After all, Noah didn’t want to hurt her and didn’t even realize that he was hurting her. But for Wendy, it’s a moment that emphasizes her feelings of isolation and aloneness and leads her to embrace the “don’t buy a cow when you can get the milk for free” philosophy that guides her dating life when we first encounter her.
If she doesn’t let down her walls, no one can hurt her.
But fortunately for Wendy and for us, that philosophy is threatened when she re-encounters Noah at her best friend Jane’s wedding. She can’t avoid him anymore, and she can try to forget how he made her feel at the dance and how he makes her feel now, but, spoiler alert: she is not. going. to. be. successful.
There’s something between them that can’t be ignored, even though she’s his sister’s best friend and he broke her heart and doesn’t know it and they live in different places and they both have walls up. It’s all deliciously complicated and yet still flirty and fun and fresh (that sounds like the perfect slogan for a teen deodorant).
It Takes Two is part of Holiday’s Bridesmaid’s Behaving Badly series, and like the first book in the series, this one features strong, independent heroines and decent, strong beta heroes who try to do the right thing and who would do anything for their women. It’s a world that I don’t inhabit (big cities and world travel and stilettos?) but that also feels familiar to me—of friends who have inside jokes about things likes Josh Groban concerts and of high school rejections and of wedding season insanity. Holiday writes skillfully and thoughtfully, and she makes you care about these characters and invested in their happiness if they would only grab onto it (and please grab onto it because I want you to be happy).
Heartfelt and sexy, It Takes Two is further proof of Holiday’s remarkable talent.
Perfect If You’re in the Mood For: a book that’s kind of like the tv show Friends, only more willing to engage with deeper feelings and motivations and hurts.
Pssst! If you like this read, check out: Lauren Layne, and Mira Lyn Kelly’s May the Best Man Win.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley but all opinions included are my own.
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