Contemporary · Romance · Women authors

Review : The Hating Game || Sally Thorne

Author : Sally Thorne
Genre : Contemporary Romance
No. of Pages : 384
Publisher : HarperCollins

Synopsis : 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.


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As you may have gathered from the blurb, this book’s a rom-com based on the famous – dare I say overused – Hate To Love trope. I usually prefer my Rom-coms in the form of movies (just cause they don’t take too much time to finish), but I quite enjoyed reading The Hating Game!

Lucy “shortcake” Hutton and Josh “hunk” Templeman work in the same office as a result of a recent conglomeration of both their previously separate organisations.

Josh is your typical-made-in-the-laboratory-simmered-to-perfection-book-boyfriend-hero. And I say that in a nice way, okay? He’s ridiculously tall, in perfect shape, always brooding, a workaholic but also a big ol’ softie at heart.

Lucy is the exact opposite – very short, very cute and bubbly, likes to wear red lipstick and bright clothes. She smiles at everyone and is chipper all the time (I really don’t understand how she does that, btw)

The ray of sunshine Josh is, he inadvertently starts the ‘staring game’ when he doesn’t return Lucy’s bright smile during their first meet. He stares at everyone and basically never smiles. Lucy is baffled, also irritated and a little intrigued. She plays along, stares at him at every chance she gets. You could probably guess what happens next.

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Even though the whole book revolves around these two – Josh and Lucy – in their office setting, we get details about their parents and their background and stuff which made the characters seem well-rounded. We are told why Josh is the way he is and we get to hear about Lucy’s childhood and her zootopia parents (Ok Lucy’s parents have a strawberry farm, she’s an adored child who dreams big dreams and comes to the big city to pursue them – all this sounded very much like Judy Hopps from Zootopia, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head)

The base premise and the events that follow are pretty trope-y (like caring for the other person while sick, forced love triangle to induce jealousy etc) but the writing saved the book – at least for me. The writing is cute and sometimes cheek-hurting hilarious! There were many laugh out loud moments, sample this :

Josh : Want a phone book to sit on? How’d you get so small?

Lucy : I shrank in the wash

(I am so stealing that line!)

Lucy may seem like the happy-go-lucky cute heroine but she can be fierce when she wants to be, like the part where she defends Josh to his family when he couldn’t stand up for himself, that was pretty good.

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Josh and Lucy’s attraction to each other, for most part, was just physical. The whole book is just two extremely attractive people caught up in an ever-expanding bubble of sexual tension which threatens to explode at any moment now (but doesn’t until the very end; it’s a torturous slow-burn) Yes, they talked and stuff, they weren’t just making out all the time (there’s even cheesy/cute stuff like where he paints his walls the colour of Lucy’s eyes. Really. Her eye-color. SMH) Even then, from a reader’s PoV, I felt like their whole ‘relationship’ was built on pure physical attraction.

I keep mentioning the word ‘cute’ but be warned, the ‘cuteness’ can get a bit overwhelming sometimes.

I think we should have had at least a couple of chapters from Josh’s point of view, that was really lacking.

The cover. Did they really not see how uninspiring and insipid the cover design is? I don’t feel like reading the book when I see it. (Yes, I am judging the book by its cover, because let’s be honest, it’s what we do right?)

Despite all my criticisms, I am giving this 4 stars because this was very well done for a debut novel and I did enjoy reading The Hating Game. 🙂

My Rating : ★★★★ out of 5.

~ Mathangi.

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