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Review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

By Curlygeek04 @curlygeek04

I wasn’t expecting this book to suck me in as much as it did.  The office rom-com isn’t my usual type of book, but I was feeling the need for something lighter.  It starts out silly and a bit annoying — I didn’t like the main character very much.  But – I could NOT put this book down.  That’s pretty rare for me, especially as I like to read multiple things at once.  This was that rare book where reading it was ALL I wanted to do.  And when I wasn’t reading, I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters — like they were real people, who kept on living their lives when I wasn’t reading.

This is Sally Thorne’s first book. It topped the charts and I picked it up because I’ve seen it recommended on quite a few blogs.  There were a few things about it that annoyed me – mainly, I didn’t want to keep hearing how tiny our heroine was or how chiseled our hero.  And a lot of the plot points I could clearly see coming.  But I quite enjoyed the witty banter and it was pretty steamy.  I also appreciated the progression of their relationship;  its ups and downs reminded me of experiences I had with my husband.

I think what makes this book a standout is the character development. There’s an attention to detail here that made me feel I knew Lucy and Josh, even though I have little in common with either character and didn’t always like them.  Josh could be controlling and Lucy superficial (she’s obsessed with her lipstick, for example).  But as this book unfolds, you get to know so much about each character’s insecurities, their family, their childhoods, their dreams.  Honestly, you don’t see this in a lot of romances.  Thorne gives you a picture of two people who are perfectly suited not just because of sparks (though there’s that) but because of the life experiences that have led each of them to where they are today.  I loved Lucy’s relationship with her parents, for example, and even though she’s terribly cute, her insecurities felt real, and I could appreciate the issues raised about romance and career.

I enjoyed the audiobook’s narration by Katie Schorr, although I often found it hard to tell if lines were interior monolog or spoken out loud until another character reacted.  Something to do with the narration and writing style, but it was distracting.  I’m curious how it would have been different to read it.  I’ve never listened to a romance before, so it was interesting to hear sex scenes out loud.  I’m also more used to historical romances than modern ones, so that contrast was also interesting. 

I don’t want to over-analyze this book, because even with minor flaws it’s full of heart and humor.  It’s a perfect light read when the world feels a little too heavy (as it does right now).  I felt like taking some time off from challenges and this was a perfect new year’s read.

It’s being made into a movie, and Thorne has another book out that I look forward to reading.  And a small part of me wants to start it all over again.  I’ve kind of been missing Josh and Lucy since I finished it.

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