The Hating Game Review

Synopsis: 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.

Review: 4.25/5

Off topic, can synopses just stop being this long? It drives me bananas. There’s no way this book needed 3/4 of a page to give a synopsis! It’s a silly romance, it’s pretty simple! #ImposeACharacterLimitOnSynopses2k17

But I forgive and forget (or will force myself to) because this book was a blast and a half. I spent most of the middle of a night reading it while…almost…smiling. Have I instilled in you guys yet how rare it is for me to smile at a book?!

This book was, yes, of course, a lil trope-y. Okay, very. So I can’t really give it 5 stars. But god, at least they weren’t the worst NA tropes! Not teeming with smut or weird trying-to-be-sexy-but-actually-just-cringeworthy dirty talk or that really intense dom-sub stuff that has been seriously normalized of late. (You do you but I canNOT handle that shit.) And the thing I was most worried about won’t come as a surprise to most of you. My second-least-favorite cliché in the world, and one that refuses to die. You guessed it, it’s the you’re-a-jerk-but-I’m-a-pretty-and-nice-girl-and-I-can-change-you-it’s-not-your-fault-you-had-a-dark-past trope. I hate that one. SO sorry to break it to y’all, but Will Herondale is just an asshole. There’s nothing more to it.

But the quasi-life-changing dreamboat from this book, Josh, was more ~misunderstood~ than an asshole. And no, I still don’t love that. It’s just not the worst. (Woohoo for the standards being “less than ideal, but at least not the worst!”)

And Josh’s lady friend Lucy was fairly trope-y too. (Is it anti-feminist that I referred to her as a possession of Josh? IT WAS ALL FOR THE TRANSITION, I PROMISE.) Anyway. I feel like every contemporary/romance acts like tall girls are considered hotter than short girls, when every single girl in every single romance novel is short. As a tall girl, I’ve had enough. Give us some representation please. The tall ones have it tougher. Lucy is 5 feet and consistently described as “adorable” and “cute” (which, like, also every romance ever). I’m going to call for the elimination of another trope now: STOP ACTING LIKE HAVING “CRAZY HAIR” IS A BAD THING. This is not a flaw! Crazy hair is beautiful, and it is tired from all the times it’s been used as the single physical supposed flaw of a girl who just doesn’t consider herself beautiful. (I hope you read that last part in the whiny voice with which I intended it.)

I would’ve been so much happier with this book if Lucy saw herself differently. Like, not to be some wannabe inspirational cheeseball, but you don’t need some schmuck telling you you’re hot shit to know that you are. 

That rant is the reason this book lost three-quarters of a star, but gosh the rest of it is such a blast. Smutty scenes usually make me cringe unbearably, so I don’t often read NA, and when I do I usually skip the smut. Not because I’m prudish but because it’s so cheesy. But this wasn’t the worst, and I appreciated the slow build! Still, it was NA, so it made up a big chunk of the book.

Bottom line: God, totally read this. I only ever read NA that has come highly recommended to me, and I’ve heard nothing but deservedly wonderful things about this little guy. Can’t wait for Sally Thorne’s next work in the summer!

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