The Hating Game

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November 5, 2017 by readingoutside

The Hating Game

I’ve been MIA from this blog recently because in that time I’ve  a) moved; and b) become a reviewer for Library Journal, and I’ve signed a contract on pain of death not to share my reviews with anyone except them.  So that means I can’t post my reviews on some of the awesome ARCs  I’ve been given, which is too bad.  But in the meantime, I’ll continue to post some of the other great reads!

I’m late to The Hating Game, and everyone in the romance world is talking about this. I’m usually not a fan of jumping on the flavour-of-the-month romance bandwagon, mostly because I hate the idea of “having” to read something just because someone else tells me to. (This is also why I don’t watch most of the popular Netflix shows).  However, I loved the premise of this book, and I am a huge sucker for the I hate you/I love you romances.  (See the movie career of Katharine Hepburn for more information.)

I am so glad I did end up reading this book, because I loved it so hard. I loved it to the extent that I dragged out the last third of the book just so it wouldn’t end. I loved it so hard that while I was working the canteen at a fencing tournament my husband was helping to run, I kept sneak-reading it in between serving slices of pizza to sweaty fencers. I loved it so much that I texted my mother-in-law to tell her that she needed to read this book ASAP. Basically, if this book was a person, I would have been following it around with googly eyes for weeks.

The premise of the book is a little bit of You’ve Got Mail mixed with The Office mixed with various New York publishing world tropes. Lucy Hutton works for an old-school literary publishing company, the kind where everyone wears thick scarves and reads thicker books while hunched over big mugs of tea. When the story opens, her company has already merged with another publishing company full of hard-assed, number-crunching old-boy types. Naturally the members of both publishing companies form ranks and generally mistrust each other.

Lucy shares a work space with Joshua Templeman. She is the assistant to the original CEO of her company, he is the assistant to his. Their bosses are now co-CEOs. Lucy and Josh’s rivalry is dialed up to 11. They play all kinds of mind games with each other, including The Hating Game, The Staring Game, The Mirror Game, etc. They basically can’t leave each other alone, ostensibly because they can’t stand each other.  Hmmm….

It’s pretty obvious from the get-go that they are both lusting for each other, which makes their cutting barbs/intellectual foreplay even more red-hot. Their cutting remarks are so filled with sexual innuendo, it’s amazing that Lucy doesn’t pick up on them sooner than she does. It’s only while dreaming that she finally registers the full meaning of Josh’s promise that if he gets the job they’re both after, he’s “going to work [her] so hard.” Watching Lucy come to realize the full extent of her feelings for Josh, and Josh’s for her, is the true pleasure of the book.

This book had so many of the tropes I adore: enemies-to-lovers, hurt/comfort, “my family is terrible please make me feel better about them,” jealous males, even a bit of road trip thrown in.  As the book progresses, the ice begins to melt between them and Josh’s tender side becomes a lot more apparent.  The story dives quite deep into the male/female world dynamic. Even the physical differences (Lucy’s tiny, Josh is huge) plays a part. Both of them go through a ton of personal growth. Lucy learns to stand up for herself and be more assertive about what she wants, while Josh learns to accept the softer parts of himself that his father disapproves of. In a way, this book is really about how love can help us find a balance between the strong and loving sides of ourselves.

A sexy, delicious balance.

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