The Hating Game by Sally Thorne Is Weird As Heck

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.

When I first heard of this book and read the synopsis for this, I was crazy in love with the whole idea. Pretty much everyone knows how enamored I am of hate-to-love romances, and this one definitely fit the bill, from the sound of things. In my head, I'd imagined a super hot, grumpy guy and a hot-but-doesn't-know-it, relatively mature and nice woman falling in love against their will as working together in the office began to cross over into feels territory, and even further into their lives outside of work. I was right, but I was also so, so wrong.

I guess the big thing I missed was that this book is big on humor. These two characters are ridiculous in the extreme - there's absolutely nothing wrong with the fact, and honestly they made me swoon a decent amount, but it was so totally unexpected that it came as a bit of a jaw-dropping shock. I'd come in expecting an almost run-of-the-mill office romance, and then I got hit with these characters who had absolutely no idea what they were doing with their lives, and honestly didn't have the least clue as to what it means to flirt.

Lucy and Josh have been glaring at each other across the room from day one of working together, but it's only where the book starts that things become interesting. There's paintball, an extremely sick co-worker, family drama, an adorable nickname, matchbox cars meant to signify love, mistaken intentions, lies, and of course, competition and one-upmanship. Definitely go for this book if you're in the mood for whimsy, because this book is more what the heck just happened? and how can something so weird be cute? than wow this contemporary romance is blowing me away. But it will knock its reader's socks off, I'll give it that.

The romance (on one character's part) seemed really obvious from the very beginning, and it's crazy that it took the other character so long to realize that. The relationship evolved in a very unusual manner, but I suppose that's the charm of the novel. Both main characters are terrible at romance, and have really weird quirks that only add to this trait, but I was surprisingly interested in watching their feelings progress. The entire book is filled with crazy shenanigans that only Lucy and Josh could get into, but it suited them. There isn't anything too serious - except for backstories that the reader comes to expect thanks to some obvious clues - and in the end, The Hating Game is a fun, light read that one can enjoy without having to think about it.

Rating: ★★★

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