The Hating Game by Sally Thorne | Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)
"Love and hate are visceral. Your stomach twists
at the thought of that person. The heart in your chest beats heavy and
bright, nearly visible through your flesh and clothes. Your appetite and
sleep are shredded. Every interaction spikes your blood with
adrenaline, and you're in the brink of fight or flight. Your body is
barely under your control. You're consumed, and it scares you."
I'll admit at the start I had quite a few reservations about The Hating Game. Despite its flaws (and some lackluster or questionable moments at the start), I found it to be an intriguing romance that was simple but without a doubt enjoyable. I'll be the first to tell you that I'm not typically a romantic book reader but 2017 has been the year for me to really give the genre (romance, erotica, NA, etc etc) a shot--Sally Thorne blew all of my expectations away with The Hating Game and has quickly captured my attention.
You should know: I had an incorrect vision of what the novel was going to be and when I finally (and maybe a bit reluctantly) gave into the hype, I was nearly positive I wouldn't enjoy it. A lot of readers will probably look first to the title and then to the description and think, 'Okay. This won't be for me. It's bound to be unhealthy, underwhelming and overhyped.' but it is actually none of those things. I genuinely loved the characters and the many mishaps that came with their inability to accept or even comprehend what they felt for one another. Lucy and Joshua have a typical co-worker's-that-don't-get-along connection that was filled with tension.
We know right from the start that The Hating Game is their story and it's filled with sexual tension, chemistry and an oddly endearing quality. You know how the story will end; how their connection will blossom from competitive co-workers to something more. I liked the mutual respect that grew from what at first seemed like contempt--I thought I was going to hate Joshua due to his snarky bits of attitude and general rudeness. But those traits didn't define him and I found myself relating to him a lot more than I'd care to admit.
What strikes me about The Hating Game is there is a hint of bitterness from the start that gives way to a lot of understanding and warmth. It's very much so your typical NA novel and is fueled by a lot of romance--and some steamy scenes that don't cross over into full blown smut--but it's also more than that. Lucy and Joshua are adorable and intelligent, sexy and silly. They're everything you could want from an office place romance and you will find yourself swooning, crying and laughing.
Sometimes all at once.
I felt like I genuinely knew and understood these characters by the end and wanted only the best for them. They were both different kind of "protect them at all cost" characters and frankly, I adored watching them grow. My favourite scenes were all of their romantic ones and there's a hilarious scene that finds Lucy snapping (a surprising trait) at Joshua's father, which I may have read more than once. The Hating Game was chopped full of development that was satisfying and minor, romantic and silly. I can't stress enough how much heart was packed into the novel but it was definitely a delight to read.
The Hating Game takes familiar tropes and spins them around to fit the story in a new way. It shines in an overcrowded genre and will keep readers captivated by sheer chemistry and comedic timing. No doubt it will be a longtime favourite for many in the years that come.
I'm not going to lie to you: I misjudged the novel. But in all fairness, it did start off slow--which is why I knocked off half a star from my rating. I'm so very glad I gave it a chance because it didn't fail to make me smile and I would gladly read it again and again. I only wish that it had been longer--it was just too fun!