REVIEW: The Hating Game

REVIEW: The Hating Game

The Hating Game

Goodreads | Amazon

Author: Sally Thorne 

Publishing: William Morrow (2016),

Paperback, 384 pages

Genre: Contemporary Romance; rom-com

Before I even start this review, I’d like to take the time to formally apologize to everyone who told me to read this book. You were right and I was wrong.  Can we move on to my review now?



Nemesis (n.) 

1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome;

2) A person’s undoing;

3) Joshua Templeman.

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.”


Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templemen share an office at B & G Publishing and they hate each other. They are each other’s opposites in every way.  Lucy is 5 feet tall.  Joshua is over 6 feet.  Lucy favors “librarian chic” and bold lipsticks, Joshua wears his dress-shirts in the same order every single week.  Lucy remembers her co-workers’ birthdays and greets everyone with a smile.  Joshua clears a room faster than nest of hornets. Nothing Lucy does will make Joshua smile and she’s not only given up on having him for a friend, she’s given up on not hating him.  When they are both up for the same promotion, nothing will stop them from fighting to the bitter end until one of them is the victor and the other leaves the company.

This book gave me a serious book hangover.  The Hating Game was a lovely, well-written book that perfectly balanced humor and plot in a work-place romance.  This book proves that books can be just as much about having fun as anything else.  It was sweet, tender, and had great chemistry.  This goddamn adorable book had every perfect cat-nippy trope: enemies to lovers, office romance, shy guy meets funny girl. The slow-burn romance unfolds so organically that the reader doesn’t even have a reason to second guess their relationship.  Just in case you’re afraid it might be too saccharine for you, Thorne balances it out with career rivalries, plenty of humor, and a large dose of reality.

The Hating Game was incredibly well thought through. The dialogue was non-stop. I continually laughed at loud at their absurd banter. I was impressed that Thorne avoided those eye-rolling Big Misunderstandings that only serve to prolong in angsty inevitable. Any hiccups on the road to HEA were normal and befitting of the plot and characters. Lucy and Joshua were actually able to resolve their problems like reasonable mother-freakin’ adults. WHO KNEW THAT COULD HAPPEN IN FICTION?

As cliche as this sounds, both characters not only find each other, but they find themselves.  Before you roll your eyes, this is not something that a lot of modern romance novels stress.  It’s usually all about chemistry and not about the characters being grounded humans.

Lucy was this tiny, kind, strawberry shortcake of a girl who was filled with loneliness and self-doubt.  I wanted to be her friend.  She was quirky, but not in that manic-pixie-dream-girl sort of way.  She had her life together, yet her car sucked, she missed her family, and she couldn’t seem to get any friends.  I adored Lucy. From the first page to the last, she went through a wonderful transformation that wasn’t reliant on her falling in love.  She became her own cheerleader and that was wonderful to see.

Joshua, on the other hand, was a grumpy bastard with a heart of gold. He exuded that Mr.Darcy right-before-he-proposed-in-Huntsford persona: so brooding and quiet, so full of feelings, yet not managing to show a single one to the lady. He was a genuine prick sometimes, but I most appreciated that he didn’t waste time justifying what an asshole he was, he apologized and learned from it.  I was glad that the story was told from Lucy’s POV because I think the plot was improved by not knowing what was going on in Joshua’s head.  

In the end, I was just so happy they found each other.  It was everything I wanted out of a contemporary romance and I wouldn’t hesitate to make all my friends read it. You want a romance with fantastic chemistry, flawed and endearing characters, and a hate-to-love situation to battle Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks?  Check it out.

Grade: A/5 stars

Recommended drink pairing:  A rose, slightly chilled, that is exactly the color of ripe strawberries.

Pick up your copy here: Amazon


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