Book review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Rating: ★★★★★
Links: AmazonTBDGoodreads
Publication Date: August 9, 2016
Source: Purchased
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.

I have a theory. Hating someone feels disturbingly similar to being in love with them. I’ve had a lot of time to compare love and hate, and these are my observations.

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman serve as executive assistants to the co-CEOs of a publishing house. The two are mortal enemies, dedicating time each day to throwing each other off their game, getting under each other’s skin, and trying to get each other to crack.  Their conversations are sometimes outright rude and other times layered under several levels of false sincerity.  Messing with each other is the best part of their day… but what does that mean?

I finally did it.  I gave in and bought this book.  I said to myself, “I want to end 2017 on a good note. This has to be my last book of the year,” and so it was.  I get the hype.  I enjoyed The Hating Game a lot.  There are a lot of things to love in this book, but my favorite was definitely the banter.  I love banter, and Sally Thorne, in her debut novel, has absolutely mastered it.

“So painting your nails tonight, desperately alone?”
Lucky guess on his part?
“Yes. Masturbating and crying into your pillow, Doctor Joshua?” He looks at the top button of my shirt.
“Yes. And don’t call me that.”

Josh is so obviously in love with Lucy and she is blissfully oblivious.  Everybody knows it – their coworkers, their bosses, everybody.  This is one of my absolute favorite tropes.  I love the pining from afar.  I love it when someone misinterprets eyes darkening in lust for eyes darkening in anger. The best part is that Josh isn’t even subtle. He flat-out tells her several times, as part of their daily banter, that he’s attracted to her.  Lucy just assumes that he’s messing with her because that’s what they do.

“You guys have a weird dynamic going on.”
“There’s no dynamic. No dynamic.” I begin swigging at my coffee. It’s too hot and a terrible idea.
“But you know he’s in love with you, right?”
I inhale my huge mouthful and being to drown on dry land.

This book was just so much fun. It’s funny and swoony and the sexual tension gets so extreme that these characters just brushing against each other is enough to raise your heart rate.  I had the biggest smile on my face while I read this book and I cannot wait to see what Sally Thorne comes up with next.

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