I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Published by HarperCollins on August 9th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Women, Romance, Contemporary, Humorous, General
Debut author Sally Thorne bursts on the scene with a hilarious and sexy workplace comedy all about that thin, fine line between hate and love.
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.
One of my absolute favorite romance tropes is enemies to lovers. I love watching the characters go from snapping and snarling at each other until they give in to their physical attraction. They often then tell themselves that their attraction is purely physical until their emotional connection smacks them upside their head. When I sat down to write this review I thought about why I am so drawn to the trope two reasons stood out. The first is that insta-hate seems much more plausible to me than insta-love. This isn’t necessarily specific to romantic relationships for me, but carries over to friendships as well. Most of my closest friends are people I didn’t like when I first met them and now I can’t imagine my life without them. The second reason is that I think so many of us have a list in our head of exactly what we think will make us happy in life, including our relationships so we avoid situations that don’t fit those narratives. The reminder that what seems like it would make us happy on paper doesn’t always fit in reality is something I think we could all use now and then. So given my love of the trope, when I read the blurb for The Hating Game I couldn’t wait to read it.
Most of us can relate to working with someone who we don’t care for, but can you imagine sitting directly across from them day in day out? No thank you! That is exactly what the main characters in Sally Thorne’s romantic comedy The Hating Game are dealing with. Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman are executive assistants at very different publishing houses. Lucy comes from Gamin Publishing whose employees see literature as art. Josh on the other hand worked at Bexley Books where the employees believe the bottom line matters far more than the words on a page. The differences in the styles of the two companies is never more clear than when we see Lucy and Josh interact. To say that these two don’t like each other would seem to be an understatement in the beginning of the book. They both take passive aggressive to a whole new keeping score on everything from who looks away first, smiles first etc… even going so far to keep score and a list of what they deem to be violations that they could report to HR (Think an in case of emergency break glass kind of situation). When both characters are up for the same promotion their antics reach a whole new level.
Initially I felt that the antics of both main characters was very immature and I worried the book was going to be too “cutsie” for me, but once Lucy and Josh were thrown into situations where their game-face started to crack and we got a glimpse into their true feelings I was rooting for them all the way. Josh’s character was so swoon worthy once you uncovered all of his cool composure and understood that much of what appeared to be dislike on his part was his own defense system. I actually found myself irritated with Lucy because she was constantly overlooking the good things that Josh was doing for her well past the time it felt reasonable. She redeemed herself in the end when she stood up for Josh when he needed her the most.
I don’t want to spoil any of the fun scenes that you will encounter in this story so I’ll just say that if you like the enemies to lovers trope this book should go on your TBR list right away. You won’t regret it.