To Have and to Heist is a wild-ride from start to finish. Think Oceans 11 with serious screwball romantic comedy energy. The plot is complex, but Desai is no novice. A seasoned romance author whose previous works have charmed us for the last few years (The Single’s Game, The Wedding Planner & The Dating Project), Desai is known for loveable, awkward leads caught in the cross hairs of cultural expectations and hijinks. Simi, her floundering heroine with zero filter, is instantly loveable. Jack is Simi’s perfect foil; secretive and gruff but also floundering in his own way. Their chemistry is instant. While Simi and Jack’s relationship takes the lead, sizzling with sexual tension, their heist crew provides the perfect goof-ball comedic relief. Would I trust an Uber driver, a hit-man, a nerdy man-child, and an animal loving HIMBO to have my back in a heist? In these circumstances… you bet. Sara Desai brings us the experiences of many young, second generation Indian Americans- pressure to live up to familial expectations, be successful, and, of course, get married. Expertly weaving these experiences into laugh out loud romances. To Have and To Heist is the fun, heart-racing, summer romance adventure that we all deserve.
To Have and to Heist by Sara Desai, (List Price: $17, Berkley, 9780593548509, July 2023)
Reviewed by Katie Garaby, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee