The Hating Game by Sally Thorne || Book Review

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She prides herself on being loved by everyone at work – except for imposing, impeccably attired Joshua Templeman.

Trapped in a shared office, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive 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 promotion is on offer.

If Lucy wins, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she questioning herself? Maybe she doesn’t hate him. And just maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or is this just another game . . . ?


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Ace Your Age, Eve Brown cover. Blue cover with man and woman hugging, with musical notes in the background.

Title: The Hating Game

Author: Sally Thorne

Published on August 9, 2016 by William Morrow Paperbacks

Format: Paperback, 365 pages

Genre / Themes: Contemporary | Humour | Realistic Fiction | Romance

Rating: 2 cups of tea

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Ahhh … The Hating Game … how I have pondered over you and how to write this review. The issue is, parts of me thought this was steamy and hilarious, while other parts wanted to hurl the book across the room. Thus, the title of this book is rather fitting.

Firstly, Lucy and Josh’s office hate-to-love romance is definitely sexy and enticing. No matter how frustrated I got with the book, I had this compulsive need to continue reading it. Their heated passion was intoxicating, even if some of their shenanigans were juvenile (I kind of enjoyed the juvenile tactics to annoy one another though). Both Lucy and Josh do experience SOME character growth by the end of the novel, so that’s definitely noteworthy. But … it definitely wasn’t enough to save their characters for me.

For one thing, some of the language used in this novel was just repulsive, making me somewhat regret reading it. Within the first chapter, Lucy goes on about Josh’s looks, wishing he had a “cleft lip” or “was unfit” to make him less attractive … which is absolutely revolting. I’m so tired of romance novels body shaming to show a characters desire to turn them less desirable; it’s just discriminatory and unnecessary. And this is just ONE instance of her using physical body elements to judge someone. Her need to also push these toxic masculinity traits as a reason to be with a man (ex. oh, he can actually pick me up unlike my previous partners) rather than focusing on, I don’t know … the personality?

And then there’s Josh, the controlling and manipulative ‘love interest’ who just toys with Lucy in the most unattractive way. His possessive nature was so toxic that it became triggering at some points for me. I’m all for characters who ‘start off unlikable yet grow and become good and lovable beings’ … but this book just faltered on that last part. Again, there’s growth but it just wasn’t enough.

So, would I recommend this? I don’t know. Even though there are parts that made me have a good laugh, it doesn’t negate the the toxicity and negativity in this novel.

Signature that says "love jenna" in gold. A group of green pastel leaves are in the upper right hand corner.

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Author of Bookmark Your Thoughts, both the Tumblr and WordPress book review blogs. I'm a tea drinking, book loving librarian who just loves literature.

One thought on “The Hating Game by Sally Thorne || Book Review

  1. Now I have to go back to Good Reads and load up my queue. (LOL). Everything looks really interesting and I’ve been taking advantage of the Libby app for audiobooks because I can get through those really quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

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