The most books I had ever read in a year, prior to 2016, was about 35 – back when I was in high school and had no social life to speak of. I set a goal this year of 52, thinking that perfectly within reach considering my output last year (29). Well, here I am writing my 104th review. 104, you guys. I’ve written over 52,000 words describing my reading exploits this year – and that is neither an exaggeration nor an estimate. This is insane.
The downside to this, however, is that I don’t remember so many of the books I’ve read. The upside to this is that I just re-read some of my reviews and realized I sometimes have more fun writing the review than I did reading the book.
This book, much as I liked it, kind of falls into the former camp. It’s already become hazy, and I only finished it a couple days ago. Much of what I wanted to say has already slipped through my fingers. A year from now, I probably won’t even remember this book. That’s kind of sad, because it shouldn’t be seen as a reflection of the book so much as it is a consequence of me jumping from one book to another without giving each the time needed to breath and have an impact. On balance, I think I’m benefiting more from all this reading than I am suffering, but it’s not without its drawbacks.
Anyway. About The Hating Game…
I shouldn’t like this book. But i do. It shouldn’t speak to me. But it does. Sally Thorne hits all the same points as Colleen Hoover and Lucy Parker, but they are so much more effective, here.
As a falling action, love is so much more captivating than it is as a normalized state of being. The act of falling is both thrilling and invigorating. You’re filled with the promise of discovery and the certainty that your life is on the up-swing. Being being in love, the daily grind of it, can be both infinitely more rewarding and a pale imitation of that early stage of hedonism. I think this dichotomy is why I struggle with the romance genre. I enjoy falling in love – I mean, who doesn’t? But love as a state of being is deeper and more relevant to me than the fresh promise of newly discovered passion.
So Act Like It, while entertaining in its way, was ultimately unsatisfying and a bit tepid.
The Hating Game is certainly heavily reliant upon the two principle characters falling in love (ugh, spoiler?), but you spend a lot more time with them after they make the connection. There were numerous points in this book where Thorne almost lost me. Moments when I started looking at the next book in my queue and wondering how long I wanted to stay in this world, and then she’d throw in a little character flourish or exchange between Lucy and Josh that would pull me back in.
There is more, here, than a steamy affair between two attractive people. Lucy felt like a real person, even when Josh sometimes felt like an archetype. While I did find her to be fairly dumb (I mean, really? She was that clueless about how he felt about her?), but she was likable, and I actually bought that they went from hating one another to loving each other. Not that I’ve ever known a relationship to morph so extremely, the path it took wasn’t a complete farce.
But where this book really shines in the first, I don’t know, quarter of the book. Lucy has built this game in her mind between her and Josh. They stare at one another, they make rude and insulting comments, they’re playing a constant game of one-upmanship (turns out, that’s how you spell that – I Googled it, having no idea how to actually write that phrase out. Weirdest diversion of the night, right there). I could literally read an entire book of Lucy and Josh hating each other. It was that delightful. There were moments of me actually laughing out loud, and quite a few more of me smiling quietly to myself. These moments were enough for me to be interested in other books by Thorne.
I know a lot of you have read this book already, and for those who haven’t, I strongly suggest that you pick it up. It really is as worth your time as everyone says. Take that from someone who doesn’t even like these kinds of books.
I should probably give it 3.5 stars (because it just doesn’t “feel” like a 4 star book, even though I enjoyed it), but it’s my double Cannonball, so I’m feeling generous.
Reviewed 11 times with an average rating of 4.55 stars. Not too bad considering it wasn’t “discovered” until baxlala wrote the first review on August 19 (though Malin seems to have actually brought it to our attention first)