Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on August 9th 2016
5 of 5 Stars
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.
THIS is how a romance novel should read.
I’m never alone in here. Sitting opposite me is the executive assistant to Mr. Bexley. His henchman and manservant. The second thing, the most essential thing anyone needs to know about me, is this: I hate Joshua Templeman.
He’s currently copying every move I make. It’s the Mirror Game. To the casual observer it wouldn’t be immediately obvious; he’s as subtle as a shadow. But not to me. Each movement of mine is replicated on his side of the office on a slight time delay. I lift my chin from my palm and swivel to my desk, and smoothly he does the same. I’m twenty-eight years old and it seems I’ve fallen through the cracks of heaven and hell and into purgatory. A kindergarten classroom. An asylum.
I type my password: IHATEJOSHUA4EV@.
When this popped up in the first few pages, I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or groan. But I stuck with it, and I wasn’t disappointed. The relationship that develops between Josh and Lucy is perfect – from the hate, the bickering, the chemistry, to the love. The book is definitely all about Lucy and Josh, with less focus on the secondary characters, setting and work environment (I don’t think we ever learned where the story actually takes place).
I did wonder how they ever got any actual work done when it seemed all their energies at work were so focused on hating each other. But, it’s forgiven, their vocal squabbles with each other more than made up for any small and maybe inconsistent details.
The Hating Game was wonderfully written and entertaining. I loved the way Lucy narrated the book – it was like listening to someone who talks so much that you can never get a word in edgewise, but it’s done so well and her character is so full of energy. You end up being carried along for the ride, enjoying the ups and downs of her life, and not even caring that she never. shuts. up. Josh is more of a deadly silent type of guy (his dark scowls are on point) but he’s always ready with a cutting remark and we see a move vulnerable side of him as the story moves on.
I found the characters to be refreshing and relatable. The sex wasn’t overdone. The relationship that grows between Lucy and Josh is romantic in all the right ways. It’s a light story for sure. Light and fluffy and relaxing and enjoyable.
And can I just say, I totally relate:
I have to jiggle the driver’s seat forward about a mile, necessitating quite a lot of jerky pelvic thrusts. He slides the passenger seat back without comment and watches me as I struggle. I snap on my seat belt and angle the rear view mirror down about a mile.
“Want a phone book to sit on? How’d you get so small?”
“I shrank in the wash.” I navigate us back to the highway.
Mmmhmmm… Story of my life.