Etta

Review: The Hating Game

Published August 9th 2016, 365 pages

Author: Sally Thorne

Overview from Goodreads:

Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.

Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.

If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth-shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.

Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

Personal Review

An excellent debut novel by Sally Thorne! I greatly enjoyed this novel as an entertaining love-hate romance story.

Two formerly separate publishing houses, Gamin Publishing and Bexley Books, merge together to form one company. The top executive at each is brought together and with them are their assistants. Our MCs are the two assistants, Lucy Hutton and Josh Templeman.

Lucy is the more fun, outgoing, and quirky personality while Josh is more introverted and cynical. She is very enthusiastic and always gives it her all with a smile on her face. She has a need for people to like her and Josh is not one of those people. The two of them have desks that face each other and together they have daily “games” that they end up playing – “the HR game,” “the Mirror game,” etc. They have fallen into a routine where they each answer to their respective bosses and are on equal ground. This all changes when they find out that they are both up for the same promotion and the winner would be the boss over the other.

Lucy is the narrator of this story so it was nice to get in her head to try and work out what was going through Josh’s head together with her. There were times that I wish this was the type of novel that changed POVs between Josh and Lucy, but this story was so fantastic that it wasn’t necessary. Josh originally seemed one-dimensional (this is mostly due to the fact that the story is from Lucy’s POV) as just someone who wanted to give Lucy a hard time, but he ended up slowly showing more and more of his personality, even within the first chapter he revealed more of his character. He had a great sense of humor and was very clever. He also became more and more complex as the novel went on and he became an excellent match for Lucy.

The novel goes through their day to day lives as assistants and their journey to find out who will be promoted.  Their banter is very witty and made the novel all the more enjoyable. Their relationship grows very slowly from hate to love and I loved every second of it. They have a more relatable and believable transition where you get glimpses of their pasts and how their shared experiences create the romance between them.

The writing was fantastic as you felt the sexual tension in some of the scenes even if the author didn’t explicitly spell it out for the reader. Everything about Lucy and Josh was amazingly relatable and it was nice to see how their relationship grew in a believable fashion.  You felt the transition from hate to love.  Both characters were likable and even though I don’t usually like the enthusiastic bubbly type characters, I absolutely loved Lucy and she is one of my top rom-com protagonists.

This novel shows the true meaning behind the saying “there is a thin line between love and hate.” I thought this novel was fantastic and my only downside was there was no epilogue to show the aftermath once the ending hits. I truly enjoyed reading this novel and I can’t wait to re-read it and also pick up another novel by this author!

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