A Thin Line Between Love and Hate — The Hating Game by Sally Thorne {Book Review}

the-hating-game-by-sally-thorneTitle: The Hating Game
Author: Sally Thorne
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date:  August 9th, 2016
Standalone/Series: Standalone
Genre: Adult – Contemporary – Romance

Goodreads link

My rating in stars: 5 stars
My rating in words: NEW ALL-TIME FAVORITE!

What it’s about:

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.

My thoughts (Spoiler-free):

“I have a theory. Hating someone feels disturbingly similar to being in love with them. I’ve had a lot of time to compare love and hate, and these are my observations.
[ ]Both love and hate are mirror versions of the same game – and you háve to win. Why? Your heart and your ego. Trust me, I should know.”

This is a book I actually started and finished in one sitting. And then re-read it again. And again. And I’m still re-reading my favorite scenes almost daily.  So it’s definitely worth the hype and if you love romance, I can’t recommend this enough. It is funny and adorable and has basically everything I could want in a romance.

– A super sweet, quirky, funny, dorky main heroine. Lucy is a tiny, bright and colorful lady who is a people-pleaser and gets along with everyone (except Joshua). I loved seeing things from her POV – she was adorable and fun. Also, she grew up on a strawberry farm, collects smurfs and says weird things.

“I want to know what’s going on in your brain. I want to juice your head like a lemon.”

– A hero who acts like an arrogant ass but is actually a shy, awkward, kind and cuddly teddybear. Joshua is Lucy’s opposite in a lot of ways: he’s tall, cynical and uptight, which makes for some interesting dynamics between them. Even though it’s told from Lucy’s POV, it was pretty clear early on what Josh’s real feelings were – of course to anyone but Lucy. It’s pretty hard NOT to fall in love with Joshua Templeman.

“Shortcake.”
“Stop calling me Shortcake.”
“Watching you pretend to hate that nickname is the best part of my day.”

– The enemies to lovers trope. Okay, this entire book is pretty much one big trope. But, I LOVE IT. It is tropes done not just right, but to PERFECTION! Give me all the enemies to lovers tropes, give me all the opposites attract tropes, the taking care of someone who’s sick tropes, the unexpectedly having to share a room tropes, the date-as-a-deal tropes, and so on – as long as they are done as perfectly as here.

– The witty, snarky banter between Lucy and Josh. These two are hilarious. I loved watching them play their little games. The staring game. The mirror game. The How You Doing game. They were completely ridiculous and had me laughing out loud all the time.

“I should mention that the ultimate aim of all our games is to make the other smile, or cry. It’s something like that. I’ll know when I win.”

– The slow burn romance. If there is one trope I don’t like it’s the instalove trope. I do however loove a good old-fashioned slow-burn. And this was so deliciously slow! I loved watching Lucy and Josh transition from archnemeses to reluctant friends to something more.

– The crazy chemistry. Okay. I love a good YA romance. And a good NA romance. But YA keeps things mostly innocent, and NA has waaay too many sexy times and not enough character development or plot. This, on the other hand, was steamy perfection. Not too little, not too much. Never overempowering or annoying, but constantly present and always tasteful.

– The office setting. Not gonna lie, I loved the office setting. I mean, it’s set in a publishing house. Lucy and Josh kind of have my dream job. I’ve been reading a lot of high school contemporaries lately, and I must say it was super refreshing to actually read a story taking place in a working environment. They go on teambuildings (and hate it – just like us!). There are deadlines, meetings, presentations and I loved every minute of it.

“It’s a corporate truth universally acknowledged that workers would rather eat rat skeletons than participate in group activities.”

If you love romance in any way, please read this. I can promise you there will be butterflies, swoons, goosebumps and a lot of smiles. Also, can someone please turn this into a movie?

Favorite quotes:

“What are you imagining? Your expression is filthy.”
“Strangling you. Bare hands.” I can barely get the words out. I’m huskier than a phone-sex operator after a double shift.
“So that’s your kink.” His eyes are going dark.
“Only where you’re concerned.”
Both his eyebrows ratchet up, and he opens his mouth as his eyes go completely black, but he does not seem to be able to say a word.
It is wonderful.”

“We are adults undertaking a team-building activity in a professional capacity, so naturally we spend several minutes horsing around, striking poses with our paintball guns and making sound effects. Joshua and Sergeant Paintball watch us like orderlies at a mental facility.”

“I have never seen him smile, nor have I seen his face look anything but blank, bored, surly, suspicious, watchful, resentful.
I wish I could use my thumbs to pull his mood into a huge deranged grin. As the police drag me out in handcuffs I’ll be screeching, Smile goddamn you”

Have you read The Hating Game? What did you think about it?

2 thoughts on “A Thin Line Between Love and Hate — The Hating Game by Sally Thorne {Book Review}

  1. Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books says:

    I read a couple of reviews about that book, and they were all positive. I am SO happy to hear how much you loved this! I think it would be my kind of book: ennemies to lovers, witty banter, and great chemistry…well that’s all I need in my contemporaries haha. Can’t wait to read it. Lovely review 🙂
    Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books recently posted…Merry Christmas ! But…where are the books set at Christmas time ?!My Profile

    • Lindsey Habets says:

      I really highly enjoyed tis one, so I hope you’ll like it 🙂 It does fit all the arguments from your list for a good contemporary, so I do think you will 😉 The banter and the chemistry are amazing and though it is prety trope-ish, it is so in the best way <3

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