The Hating Game


  1. an opponent of rival whom a person cannot best or overcome
  2. a person’s undoing
  3. Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She prides herself on being loved by everyone at work – except for imposing, impeccably attired Joshua Templeman.

Trapped in a shared office, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive 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 promotion is on offer.

If Lucy wins, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she questioning herself? Maybe she doesn’t hate him. And just maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. 


I read The Hating Game, by Sally Thorne in one sitting the day after my 24th birthday. I haven’t done that since I finished university. It felt good.

Fellow new adults: I know that every day feels like it has to be some desperate, scrambling attempt to avoid ultimate failure, but what I realised, lying in bed at 1pm reading the final pages of The Hating Game, is that sometimes you have to relax a while on that cliff edge. Whether you do that with a ridiculously sexy book is up to you, but I thoroughly recommend it.

The Hating Game is romantic comedy at its best. Set in the world of publishing – which Nora Ephron taught us is the perfect backdrop for epic romance – we are introduced to Lucy, co-executive assistant to co-CEO Helene Pascal of Bexley & Gamin. There are basically two essential aspects of Lucy.

  1. She’s wanted to work in publishing her whole life and,
  2. She is obsessed with her co-executive assistant, Joshua.

Only a few months before, everything was going according to plan. Gamin publishing house was Lucy’s dream job – granted she wasn’t working in editorial, like she wanted, but everything was going well enough that it wouldn’t be difficult to progress sideways into editorial when the time was right.

But, with the rapid decline of the publishing industry, that time seemed to be getting farther and farther away. It all but disappeared when, in a last ditch attempt to stay open, Gamin joined with Bexley, a competing (and equally financially sunk) publisher. With Bexley came Joshua, and the hating game began.

Spoiler alert: the hating game takes a turn for the sexy.

‘Love and hate are visceral. Your stomach twists at the thought of that person. The heart in your chest beats heavy and bright, nearly visible through your flesh and clothes. Your appetite and sleep are shredded. Every interaction spikes your blood with a dangerous kind of adrenaline, and you’re on the brink of fight or flight. Your body is barely under your control. You’re consumed, and it scares you.’

To be totally honest, for the first three or so chapters of The Hating Game, I thought Lucy was nuts. When I say she is obsessed with Josh, I am not kidding. The girl lives and breathes this man. Sally Thorne manipulates the situation so that you totally believe Lucy’s only two options for dealing with Joshua are to kill him or sleep with him. Fortunately for the reader, Thorne went with the fun option.

Hate turned love (probably more accurately described as love mistaken for hate) is one of my favourite romantic tropes, and Thorne executes it perfectly. Watching Lucy and Josh circle each other keeps you turning the pages hours after you should have gotten out of bed (in my case, anyway). Josh is every inch the moody, sexy, intense but secretly caring guy that you want him to be. He challenges Lucy in all the areas that she needs it, and helps her to grow into a more assertive person. In turn, she teaches him to be less of an asshole.

All I can say is pick a difficult day, clear your schedule and read the book.

Author: Lydia Tewkesbury

27. Loves a good story.

5 thoughts on “The Hating Game”

  1. Great review, Lydia! I buddy-read this book with a couple of friends over on Twitter and quite liked it, though I didn’t love LOVE it – Josh was a bit too moody for me, and Lucy too… scatter-brained? I don’t really see her as a COO, and I find the premise a bit unrealistic that way. The skills required don’t seem to be skills that executive assistants have, but I suppose anything can happen. 😛

    What I do love, however, is what you said about avoiding ultimate failure – I’m also 24 and oh my gooood, sometimes it’s so terrifying. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is terrifying!

      I actually totally agree with you. I found this review hard to write, because when I sat and actually thought about the book I had MANY criticisms (that relationship is hella problematic), but the truth was, at the time of reading, it was really great for my to just turn my brain off for a while and enjoy it.


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