Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle
April 6, 2021 by G.P. Putnam
Review by Melinda
I am a huge fan of Hogle’s debut, You Deserve Each Other, to the point that I was unsure how I’d feel about her next book, which is unfair to Hogle, but I wanted to love this one just as much. But Twice Shy is completely different from YDEO – in such a wonderful way. Because YDEO has an incredibly distinctive voice and you either love it or hate it, and Twice Shy has a much quieter voice, but one that I still really loved.
I will admit that I did not love Maybell at the beginning of this book as she is a woman that bends over backward for people and lets others hurt her. My favorite protagonists in romance are the self-assured badasses, not because I consider them a self-insert character for myself, but more because I consider them aspirational. When Maybell inherits an estate in the mountains from her great-aunt she jumps at the chance to leave her crappy life behind.
There she finds Wesley, and wow was it insta-love for me, although not for Maybell. There are complicated romance reasons for their instant awkwardness, and admittedly this part of the novel was my least favorite part. There’s this woman who catfished Maybell with Wesley’s picture…and really, it is important to the plot, but even thinking about explaining it for review is tiring. Regardless, Wesley is so awkward and almost rude…which doesn’t sound charming but over the course of the book we find out the true reasons for the awkwardness and rudeness.
I was not expecting to be given the gift of anxiety representation with this book at all but there is just so much greatness with mental health in this book with that. Obviously, everyone who has anxiety deals with it differently but I felt so seen in different ways by this book. Both characters are so lonely for different reasons which I loved, and watching them navigate that loneliness and almost circle each other until their lonely pieces fit together perfectly just kind of tore me apart. The pieces of themselves that they dislike are accepted and just seen as part of who they were.
I spent the last few chapters in weepy tears. Most of this book has major rom-com vibes but the last few chapters stole my angsty heart and made me love the book. I’m so glad to add it to my arsenal of good mental health recs!
CW: grief, death of great-aunt (off page), Anxiety, toxic parental relationship