Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on August 9th 2016
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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.
Whimsically written with such panache, and so many laugh-out-loud moments of a journey from so-called hate to love, ‘The Hating Game’ is such a sparkling diamond I’m so glad I unearthed in my usual trawl for these rom-com types. It’s the voice of Lucy Hutton that holds the entire story together and what begins as a hostile relationship with Joshua Templeman in the office slides into odd games, insults and banter that you never quite know where the truth and fiction between them actually lie. In fact, it’s akin to getting on with a boy who torments a girl he likes, only that it takes place in the office and spills out of it, leaving the grown-ups not knowing what to do except to play along and pray nothing goes out of hand.But it does, obviously. In a way that makes you take a breath for the confrontation that’s lurking around the corner on page 200 while you hope for several curved balls to be thrown your way.
In the end, I laughed, I clutched my chest, I ached for Josh and wondered why the heck they circled each other when it was obvious they simply needed to get it all on.
And the tone that Sally Thorne adopts throughout – smug, unsure, kind, contradictory, bitchy and all – is so richly nuanced that I never felt prouder and more grossly horrified at being female. It’s what makes Lucy and Josh the odd-pairing that is simultaneously so wrong and right and what makes their chemistry zing with a tension so thick I wished it exploded with greater fireworks. I loved all the humour (and that very Aussie way of smart-alecky writing) and the comebacks, but the moments I really waited for were buried in the second half of the book, when the sobering bits finally emerged after spending a lifetime simmering underneath the banter and the verbal foreplay that never quite got to the heart of Lucy’s and Josh’s feelings.
‘The Hating Game’ thankfully doesn’t sink with heavy angst; any problems were resolved with lightning swiftness, leaving us with an ending so tooth-achingly sweet I knew it had to be fiction.