There are a lot of games that Lucy and Josh have been playing over the past year. There’s the Mirror Game (mirroring each other’s movements), the HR Game (threatening to go to HR, and sometimes actually going to HR), the Staring Game (self-explanatory), and more. Lucy claims to hate Josh and is certain that he hates her as well. Their relationship dynamics start to shift as they begin vying for a promotion at work.
I generally enjoyed the story. Lately I’ve been wanting to read a lot of light books, especially contemporary romance, and this was satisfying in that regard. I particularly liked Lucy’s relationships with her parents, as well as the fact that her parents own a strawberry farm; that’s a new one. The author is also deliberately unclear about where the book is set geographically, and I kind of liked that is could be Any Town, USA (or another country).
One of my biggest issues with the novel is the professional setting. It’s set in a publishing company, and yet there is so little discussion or even mention of books. There’s even a clear opportunity to dive into this when Lucy visits Josh’s apartment and sees his piles of books. She feels relief that he isn’t “illiterate” but doesn’t explore his collection. Why not find out if they have similar tastes or not? The publishing part mattered so little that this could have just as easily been set in a law office, financial firm, or Dunder Mifflin, and very little would have to be changed.
There was also some sexism that I found offensive and I’m not sure if it didn’t bother Lucy because she didn’t see it or because the author doesn’t see it. A co-worker named Danny expresses interest in Lucy and she goes on a date with him, and Josh is clearly jealous. Which is fine. But then he and Danny basically seem to have a pissing contest and Danny starts referring to Josh as a big brother who’s going to keep an eye on Lucy (or something along those lines; I didn’t highlight any relevant sections in my Nook to refer back to. Regardless, it’s not cute). Later, when talking about Danny, Josh tells Lucy, “That’s not what you need. Trust me . . . He’s not enough for you.” My reaction would have been, “Um, excuse you. Please don’t mansplain my needs.” The jealousy gets to the point where Josh grabs Lucy’s cell phone when she’s talking to Danny and ends the call, but not before telling Danny not to call again. That’s a HUGE red flag.
I found the writing to be mediocre. There are some places where I was surprised an editor hadn’t called for some different word choices, and at times the writing seemed disjointed. There was also frequent repetition, some of which got on my nerves. For example, Lucy is 5 feet tall. Her height gets referred to A LOT and in a way that seems unrealistic to me. It comes across as though she is this abnormally tiny person that people can manhandle like she’s a child. I am also 5 feet tall, and absolutely none of that resonated with me. Who knows, maybe my experiences would have been different if I were also slender, but I have my doubts. We also are frequently reminded that the office where Josh and Lucy work is all glass and metal with nothing but reflective surfaces. Lucy is often looking at her reflection or someone else’s in various surfaces around her. Also, did I mention that she is short. Like, really short.
I know a lot of this makes it sound like I didn’t like the book, but I genuinely did. The sexism bothered me immediately (I found myself wrinkling my nose a bit and almost stopped reading), and the mentions of Lucy’s height also grated on my nerves pretty early on, but some of these other reflections came after I finished reading and as I was looking at some other people’s reviews that I thought brought up good points. But I was engaged while reading the book itself.
Also, in case you forgot, did I mention that Lucy is short?