Review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

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 sit across from each other every day . . . and they hate each other.

Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. HATE. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight approach to his job and refusal to smile. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and desire to be liked.

Now they’re up for the same promotion and Lucy, usually a determined people-pleaser, has had enough: it’s time to take him down. But as the tension between Lucy and Joshua reaches its boiling point, it’s clear that the real battle has only just begun . . .

After the merger of two book publishers, that’s when The Hating Game began. The hate Lucinda Hutton and Joshua Templeman have for each other is what any HR manager dreads. Each are equal PA’s to their respective co-CEO, but when a promotion is announced, it’s made clear that one will soon become the boss of the other… which just won’t do. And so the hating game intensifies as they go head to head to achieve their dreams, which may make Lucy and Josh realise there’s a fine line between hate and love.

*deep breath*

First of all – I do get it. It was easy to get caught up in the whirlwind hot tension between Lucy and Josh – to fantasise about a hot liaison like this happening in real life. However, reality always bursts the bubble, at least for me.

I thought the author did a tremendous job establishing the initial stages of enemies-to-lovers. I was tense with confusion and uncertainty about how deep the hostility would go, and how things would possibly turn around to romance…

… And that’s kind of how things kind of fell apart for me. The Hating Game literally amounts to the equivalent of a playground boy tugging the hair of the girl he has a crush on: except here it’s about testing and trespassing emotional boundaries. And he continues to act this way when his *cough* obvious *cough* attempts at conveying his feelings more romantically go over the girl in question’s head. And it turns out he behaves like this because he’s self conscious.

It’s not that I didn’t find it believable, I just found it sort of anti climatic. It’s the same old same old, with nothing new to make it stand out in this genre. If the author had explored Josh’s emotional issues further and more tactfully, maybe it would have worked better for me.

And, I truly hate to say it, but for the first time in a while, I’ve finally read a book where there was a dire need for quality subplots to add more dimension – and not a subplot that is only truly dealt with in the last 20% of the book.

But as I finished this at 2am, I cursed myself to remember that the mushy fluffy perfection of the last 20% of this book did not mean my finger should press 5 stars even though my romantic heart really wanted to. And even with its issues, I did enjoy the book, especially toward the end. If you love enemies-to-lovers and illicit office affairs, it’s likely The Hating Game will be right up your alley.

 

{{Potential spoilers in this paragraph}}
Also, just for my own memory of problematic things: I didn’t like how Lucy repeatedly and openly objectified Joshua, when it clearly distressed him. And I didn’t like how Joshua invaded Lucy’s privacy by following her on her “dates” and taking her phone, without apologising after the fact too, subsequently acknowledging his inappropriate behaviour. And lastly, I felt uncomfortable with the tone the author had when referencing cleft palates.

 

Buy It Now

 

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Published September 2017
Genre: romance

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