Review of The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Another book in which I’ve come late to the game, but, you know, it’s better than missing it at all. Or is it? Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game, which is now a movie, was called a rom-com that revived the genre. The novel was published in 2016 and I’ve managed to avoid it until now. I even, somehow, mixed the author up with another Sally (Rooney) and expected The Hating Game to be set somewhere in Ireland or the UK. The mention of a truck stop tossed that one aside, which forced me to look to see who this book was actually by. Bad book blogger, bad! 😉 I will admit that I began reading with the trepidation I typically reserve for books/movies/etc., that seem to be over-hyped because can the art live up to it? Rarely does it.

Before I launch into my review, I have to admit that I am amused (and disappointed) by all of the one star reviews of The Hating Game on Amazon. The haters have entered the building to knock down the popular. These folks have to find a day job or an evening job or someway to curtail jealousy and bitterness. I realize that this is just my opinion but only poorly written and/or truly offensive books should receive 1 star ratings. To give a 1 star rating to a well-written, inoffensive book indicates to me that the reader has no inkling about the time, energy, dedication, and discipline that goes into writing a novel–even a badly written one. Their lack of appreciation shown by that 1 star rating says more about them than the book.

Wow, I really haven’t ranted in a few days, have I? Saved it up, evidently. Anyway. Onwards.

The Hating Game

Sally Thorne

August 9, 2016

William Morrow Paperbacks


Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.

                       2) A person’s undoing

                       3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

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I am a huge fan of quirky. I like the unexpected, especially when it comes to romances where tropes and milquetoast normal flourish and stereotypes are beloved. While The Hating Game by Sally Thorne provides the enemies-to-more trope, she gives us an extremely quirky heroine in Lucy Hutton, a Smurf collecting daydreamer who is fascinated by her enemy and co-worker, Joshua Templeman. Lucy is a bright, eccentric ray of sunshine, who, by being endlessly nice, lets people take advantage of her, except Joshua with whom she fights tooth and nail.

For much of The Hating Game, the reader doesn’t really know who Joshua is. We just know that he’s put fear into most of the staff of the publishing firm where he and Lucy work. But he hasn’t put the fear in her. Not totally at any rate.

Sally Thorne’s writing is a delight as is her imagination and sense of humor. I can’t tell you how many times I laughed-out-loud while reading, a feat that hasn’t happened in quite a while—unfortunately. The Hating Game also provides one of the sexiest scenes I’ve read in a long time in the elevator scene, and yet, no actual sex occurs. Now that is the hallmark of how to write a truly good sex scene if you can give all the vibes without the act.

While a few things didn’t quite work totally for me: Lucy’s grandstand diatribe at the end, while excellent and necessary, felt unnaturally long which made it feel unrealistic; the ending left out what we all wanted to know, sure it was unnecessary in the scheme of what the novel was actually about, but it would have been icing on the cake; was Lucy perhaps a little too quirky for even me? (jury’s out on that one); I thoroughly enjoyed The Hating Game.

I liked how the characters were not coy with their feelings. I liked how they began to see each other clearly and that there were no plastic gimmicks to keep them separated. I liked their chemistry.

What I liked most about The Hating Game is that I laughed and felt good as I read it. The thing about quirky characters is that they can make a reader feel good about their own quirks, something that all of the perfect heroines in the world fail to do.

Finally, The Hating Game is so much fun. I’m glad that the book lived up to the hype.

I suspect that a lot of you have read this book. What did you think?

I got this book from my public library; visit yours!



5 out of 5 butterflies

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