#BookTok, Book Reviews, Romance Novels

Review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

One of TikTok’s Favorite Enemies-to-lovers stories brings lots of laughs

Image: Julia Dath

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ve been on a romcom kick lately, mostly thanks to The Love Hypothesis and The Spanish Love Deception. The enemies-to-lovers trope has ben a longstanding favorite of mine, and Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game sets this familiar hate-then-love story in an office setting.

Lucy’s constant work activity is playing games with the assistant seated directly across from her, Josh. They play the Staring Game, the Mirror Game, and are always playing the Hating Game. Lucy hates Josh. Her computer password is “IHATEJOSHUA4EV@” and she can’t get enough of the vicious banter between the two of them. When an opportunity for one of the two to be promoted at work arises, Lucy knows she needs to win. But could winning the job mean losing something else?

This isn’t a will-they-won’t-they romantic story. It’s established pretty early on that this story is purely they-will. But when will they get together? This is the question that drives the story. It’s pretty evident from the beginning that “the Hating Game” Josh and Lucy play is just a cover for their desire for one another. I mean, if your coworker really hated you, would they stay the night to take care of you while you suffered from a pretty bad stomach bug? (Yes, that actually happens). The line between love and hate with these two is paper-thin, and then it’s just eviscerated all together.

In some senses, this makes The Hating Game feel a bit frustrating. If Josh and Lucy know they’re going to get together, why do I need to read a whole book before it happens? The story begins at a boiling point between Lucy and Josh, and if there’s any chance of this relationship feeling even the least bit sensible there needs to be a bit of emotional back-tracking. You’ll spend the first chunk of the story thinking, man, these two have it out for eachother, and then the rest thinking man, these two just need to get together already.

But I do appreciate The Hating Game’s effort to show that it’s important to not build a relationship totally on hate. The thing that is sweetest about this story is watching Josh and Lucy turn their friction into common ground. Like I said, the get-together is no surprise, so a read of The Hating Game is more a story about two people taking the time to build emotional intimacy to match their physical attraction to one another.

The big twist at the end of the story was entirely predictable, but I do not think you should count The Hating Game out. If you’re the sort of reader who lives for the enemies-to-lovers tension, The Hating Game should be at the top of your TBR list.

4 thoughts on “Review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne”

  1. Reblogged this on The Writing Life and commented:

    “One cannot always tell what it is that keeps us shut in, confines us, seems to bury us, but still one feels certain barriers, certain gates, certain walls. is all this imagination, fantasy? ….”


    Thanks for the follow (+ the ‘likes'(s)
    Happy blogging/writing and all the best with your blog
    “early bird sleepy-head” craig


    “It always seems impossible…
    until it gets done!”
    – Nelson Mandela
    You CAN…if you THINK you can

    “Put your fears behind you and your dreams in front of you…always.”

    Best wishes from the First City to see the light


    Don’t worry about the world ending today
    it’s already tomorrow in scenic and tranquil ‘little’ New Zealand


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s