A few weeks ago I read/posted about The Kiss Quotient, one of my favorite books from this year, and asked for recommendations of similar contemporary romances. I’m just really in the mood for them right now. One of the most popular recommendations was The Hating Game. So here we are!
This is such a great enemies-to-lovers office romance story. Lucy and Josh work together, are complete personality opposites, and are known throughout the company for their constant bickering, one-ups-man-ship games, and complaints to HR about each other. Essentially, they hate each other and everyone knows it. And now that they are both going for the same promotion, things are ramped up even further. But then there start to be some blunders, some changes in their interactions, and Lucy begins to realize that perhaps her feelings for Josh are not what she thought they were. And maybe his are different than she thought too. But it’s hard to tell because everything they do could be just another game…
First, let me just say that the recommendations were spot on. This was light and fun and adorable and full of some wonderful chemistry. The slow burn build (or really, change) of the relationship was paced perfectly. Told entirely from Lucy’s perspective, the slow thawing of her feelings towards Josh, and the clear hate/love play, is really done in such a believable way. The mix of denial and “slip-ups” in her interactions with him are balanced out super well and really do truly feel real. And the way Josh’s feelings are revealed to us as a reader are only slightly faster than Lucy’s revelations, which is the best place to be – anticipation of what’s coming, but not have to wait too long for that satisfaction. By the time it all comes together, you are dying for it…in the best way!
The little side stories to their relationship, like Lucy’s being a bit of a pushover and Josh’s family-related insecurities, add a nice little bit of depth to the story, while allowing another angle for us to see how the differences in their personalities actually balance/help each other out perfectly. And of course the competing for the same job situation adds that extra sense of tension and outside pressure on the time frame for these relationship changes to take place in (both for us as the reader and for the characters themselves). And there were some cute small details, like Lucy’s parents running a strawberry farm and the details to the little office games Lucy and Josh played with each other (childish, but they made for fun reading…and office settings can get very boring), that just add a little extra quirk and adorableness to the book.
This is a quick, sweet novel, with realistic dialogue, true to life plot line (as much as romance can be), and overall smooth/clean writing. Also, honestly, for being a combination of two super common tropes (enemies-to-friends and workplace romance), and obviously of a fairly predictable romance story plot development style, there was nothing about this that was boring. I literally could not turn the pages fast enough. I read it all in one day. And I would have finished in one sitting except for silly chores that kept getting in the way!