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.
Hey guys, long time no see! It’s been a while, but today I’m bringing you some of my thoughts on The Hating Game, which was one of the last books that I finished in 2016. I’m not usually super into contemporary romance novels, and adult romance novels are usually way off my radar, but I read a couple of reviews and decided to try it out.
Overall Rating 3.5/5
I’ll admit that I was a bit apprehensive about novel due to it being considered Adult Romance, which in my experience I haven’t consistently enjoyed because of the writing styles. However I’d seen a bunch of recommendations and positive reviews for it and decided to go ahead and give it a try.
And I’m glad that I did because I found it to be a really easy and quick read, full of funny banter, relatable characters, and I loved the main character Lucy, so really, what isn’t there to love? But I didn’t love it. Unfortunately the main thing that held me back from really loving the book was the romance, and it wasn’t until I read it through again that I was able to pinpoint what exactly I wasn’t a fan of. It wasn’t the whole frenemies thing because, not gonna lie, I’m a sucker for the whole enemies-turned-love-interest trope, and this is the one of the first that I have read in a long time. While the romance undoubtedly had its cute moments, I wasn’t entirely sold on Josh.
To summarize a bit, Lucy and Josh both worked as the assistant managers to the CEOs of their respective publishing companies until they were thrown together when their companies merged. They’re both competitive and snarky, which is only amplified when they are pitted against each other to fight for the new manager position.Lucy and Josh are polar opposites; Lucy is outgoing and kind, and Josh is pragmatic and ruthless. This definitely sounds like it could be promising on the whole frenemies front, but for me I felt like the romance was a bit flat.
Josh did have some dorky, charming moments, but mostly he just irked me. I’m not into the possessive-jealous love interests, so seeing him react to Lucy interacting with other characters (*cough cough* Danny) in some parts felt really overbearing and rubbed me the wrong way. One of the reasons that I did really like Lucy was because she called him out on his overbearing (and sometimes rude) attitudes, but I was just annoyed that there was a reason for her to even have to. To put it plainly, Josh is kind of an asshole. And to be clear, this characterization was intentional and is a central part to the story and to Josh’s character arc. He’s got his reasons to be bitter, but I didn’t love how his actions were sometimes ignored or justified. This was definitely the case with Josh, and while these issues were directly addressed within the story and used as part of Josh’s character growth, ultimately I think his actions/personality kept me from being completely sold on the romance.
Now I know that this sounds like a negative review, but there were definitely things that this book did really well. I felt a whole range of emotions while reading this book; there was laughing, there was cringing, and I might have (definitely) had moments where I had to step away from the secondhand embarrassment, but I think that definitely goes to show the strength of the writing and the connection to the characters.
I loved the fact that Lucy was quirky and kind of out there and Josh would just roll with her antics. I loved the fact that Lucy collected Smurf figurines, that she was a total book nerd, and her lipstick addiction was painfully relatable. I feel like these little touches made Lucy feel so real and relatable.
So overall, if someone were to ask me if I liked it I’d tell them that I thought it was funny read with a great main character and some cute moments, but I don’t know that I’d boost it too hard. The writing itself was enjoyable but the romance was not really up my alley, unfortunately.
Have you read The Hating Game? How did you like it?