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.
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I enjoyed the concept behind the The Hating Game as they showcased how similar the emotional reactions to hate and love are. I appreciated the banter and wavering line as they started to realize maybe they weren't truly full of hate for their rival, but cared so much that it might be breaching on love. That was an original approach, but other than that I was not much of a fan to the stereotypical office romance. I have read this similar set up dozens of times involving a controlling man and a woman in denial.
As the story evolved, I thought it was going to turn into a dominatrix type relationship, and got extremely close, showing hints into the more over-powering masculine male character. It held its cute moments but overall I was disappointed. It didn't hold enough unique aspects for me to want to read again or remember that vividly now that its been a few weeks.
“The trick is to find that one person who can give it back as good as they can take it.”
“Watching you pretend to hate the nickname is the best part of my day.”
“I have a theory. Hating someone feels disturbingly similar to being in love with them. I've had a lot of time to compare love and hate, and these are my observations. 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 schredded. Every interaction spikes your blood with adrenaline, and you're in the brink of fight or flight. Your body is barely under your control. You're consumed, and it scares you. Both love and hate are mirror versions of the same game - and you have to win. Why? Your heart and your ego. Trust me, I should know.”