The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Publisher: August 2016
Published: William Morrow
Genre: adult fiction, chick lit
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.
Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman are the assistants to the co-CEOs of Bexley & Gamin, recently merged publishing houses with two very different ideas of how to run a business. From the very start of their jobs, Lucy and Joshua try to one-up the other in every aspect of their job — until an announcement is made for a new promotion, and only one of them can have it. The stakes are higher, and soon the line between love and hate is blurred, and there’s more at risk than a swanky office.
A few weeks ago I asked Twitter what they were reading, and how I needed a book to dive into and break out of my reading lull. My client Nina recommended a “funny workplace rom-com,” and after I looked it up I knew I had to get my hands on it. A debut voice a la Kinsella set in the publishing industry? Yes, please. In the midst of reading it, I found other elements that I knew would be appealing to several blogger friends. Soon this book exploded across Twitter and Instagram and Goodreads. If that doesn’t convince you to pick it up, then maybe read on for the review…
I enjoyed this book. It was like candy for the brain. Intelligently written, funny, with fully-fleshed main characters. Their backstories — Lucy’s childhood on a strawberry farm, Josh’s history with his medically-inclined family — enhanced the experience and really gave the characters the depth they needed to further explain their desires and motivations for the promotion.
There’s a tension between Josh and Lucy that starts as colleague rivalry, moves into frustration, then secret, romantic glee. The entire story is told through Lucy’s perspective. It’s clear she doesn’t want Josh in her life, but it’s also clear to the reader from the get-go that Josh is into her. These two experience a whole range of scenarios together, at work and otherwise, that demonstrate their compatibility. Thorne was great at not shying away from all the details, never fading to black or glossing over scenes. It was like experiencing these few weeks with/as Lucy as they came up for her, no holds barred.
That said, there were so many moments I wanted to dive into the book, shake Lucy, and tell her she’s reading each and every little situation wrong. She’s simply not seeing the signs — but after working for the merged B&G for a year with the particular attitude and sass Josh gives her, it makes sense she would see him in such a negative light. But that’s my qualm with hate-to-love relationships. Not a huge fan of them because of one character’s obvious feelings and the other’s blatant blindness. But it kept the plot moving!
If you’re looking for a Sophie Kinsella-esque book set in a bookish office and lots of sexual tension, this is the one for you!