Friday, March 9, 2018

Book Review: The Hating Game

By Melissa Amster

I'm not a fan of Josh from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend or Josh from Younger, but with her debut novel The Hating Game, Sally Thorne creates a Josh who totally gets under my skin (in a good way).

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.
(Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

I had been told by several friends that I needed to read this novel and that it was best as an audio book. So I decided to go for it and completely agree with their recommendation.

Like on the show Younger, this story takes place at a publishing company. That definitely caught my interest, as anything related to books usually does. I also liked the fact that Lucy grew up on a strawberry farm, which, along with her height, earns her the nickname "Shortcake." Somehow, it sounds sexy coming from Josh. Lucy collects Smurfs, which is something I did as a kid. (I still have my Smurf collection and sometimes my kids play with it.)

The tension between Lucy and Josh reminded me of You've Got Mail in some ways. I really liked all their scenes together. I don't want to say anything more as to not spoil where the story goes.

A few things didn't work for me so well, but it did not detract from my enjoyment. Some parts felt a bit slow and took away from the momentum of the story. I tended to zone out when that happened and was worried I missed something. However, the rest of the story made up for it, especially the steamy parts! Also, I wasn't sure where the story took place, in terms of city location. Unless I missed something? Finally, there were two characters named Elaine, which seemed a bit strange and unnecessary to me. Especially since they had similar personalities.

Overall, I enjoyed listening to The Hating Game. It was a fun and entertaining story and I really felt a kinship with Lucy. It was hard to believe this was a debut novel, as it was well-written and polished. Katie Schorr did a good job narrating, but I would have liked for more of a differentiation between male voices. She has a cute voice that worked well for Lucy and I was pleased to find out that she also narrates Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich. She can really make a steamy scene come to life!

Dream movie cast:
Lucy: Milana Vayntrub
Josh: Max Greenfield
Danny: Finn Jones
Elaine (Lucy's boss): Alex Meneses


Janine said...

I enjoyed your review.

The Book Sage said...

One of these days I will listen to an audiobook...but I don't know when that will be.

Angela said...

This was a great review. I especially liked the part where you listed your dream movie cast!