First Love, Take Two by Sajni Patel is a story about Preeti Patel who is a hospital resident is finding it very hard to balance her tough and demanding job, her family’s expectations and her own wishes. Whenever she is in trouble, her friend supports her not knowing that this act will trigger her old feelings for her ex-boyfriend named Daniel.
What makes this book special is how it addresses the challenges that interracial couples face and highlights the prejudice that Pretty and Danielle face within their families. The portrayal of Pretty’s courageous stand against the racial prejudices of her community and Daniel’s struggle to live up to his father’s expectations are commendable. Their involvement in family relationships adds depth to the story and illustrates the different dynamics of each house.
Although the book successfully tackles important issues, there are some aspects that seem stereotypical, especially the portrayal of strict Indian elders who adhere to outdated customs and beliefs. Preeti’s parents’ refusal to engage with social pressure seemed at odds with their progressive image. However, this story effectively demonstrates the importance of challenging such stereotypes and social norms. The book also explores the topic of mental health, exploring Preeti’s struggles with anxiety and rejection of physical contact.
The author sensitively describes the challenges Preeti faces every day, emphasizing the importance of normalizing debates about mental health. Despite Preeti’s intermittent relationship problems, the slow-burning romance between her and Daniel is a joy to watch. The audiobook’s excellent narration effectively conveys the chemistry between the two characters, and their banter and rekindled bond add to the enjoyment of the experience. Overall, Apartment Romance is an enjoyable read that not only offers a heartwarming love story, but also tackles pressing social issues such as racial prejudice and mental health stigma.