the hating game novel


Sally Thorne’s debut novel, “The Hating Game,” delves deeply into the intertwined emotions of love and hate. Set in the competitive world of publishing, the story revolves around Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman, two executive assistants who are forced to work together when their rival companies merge. What begins as antagonism and verbal sparring gradually transforms into something much more profound.

Plot Summary

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman couldn’t be more different. Lucy is cheerful and friendly, whereas Joshua is stoic and intimidating. Their rivalry intensifies as their publishing houses merge, making their respective bosses co-CEOs. As they navigate their new working environment, their mutual disdain slowly turns into a complex mix of emotions that blur the lines between love and hate.

Famous Quotes

Sally Thorne’s writing is rich with memorable quotes that encapsulate the novel’s central theme:

  • “Love and hate are visceral. Your stomach twists at the thought of that person.”
  • “Books were, and always would be, something a little magic and something to respect.”
  • “When you get so little of someone, you take what you can get.”
  • “This is the part of the dream where you smile, Josh.”
  • “And my niceness made it impossible to hate me?”
  • “But I want you for your mind, and your heart.”
  • “His smile is worth a thousand of anyone else’s.”
  • “It made no difference. I loved you the moment I saw you.”
  • “The world explodes apart as he begins to laugh.”
  • “The trick is to find that one person who can give it back as good as they can take it.”
  • “Here’s a fact. Hating someone is exhausting. Each pulse of blood in my veins takes me closer to death.”
  • “I have a theory, Hating someone feels disturbingly similar to being in love with them.”
  • “Life has started to feel like one big chance to make each new little memory.”
  • “Both love and hate are mirror versions of the same game—and you have to win. Why? Your heart and your ego.”
  • “When I open my eyes again I have a new perspective. It’s Saturday evening and the sunset is making the wall at the foot of my bed a glorious honey-peach candle-glow.”
  • “You’re addicted to making people hate you, so what a pair we are.”
  • “But I’m so tired of trying.”


Love and Hate: Thorne brilliantly portrays how love and hate can be two sides of the same coin. Lucy and Joshua’s initial animosity hides a deeper connection, revealing how closely these emotions are related. The quote, “I have a theory, Hating someone feels disturbingly similar to being in love with them,” encapsulates this theme perfectly.

Competition and Power: The workplace setting of “The Hating Game” provides a backdrop for exploring themes of competition and power dynamics. Both Lucy and Joshua are determined to outdo each other, but this rivalry becomes a pathway to understanding and intimacy.

Transformation: Throughout the novel, both characters undergo significant personal growth. Their journey from adversaries to lovers highlights the transformative power of understanding and empathy.

Awards and Recognition

“The Hating Game” has garnered significant acclaim, including the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Mainstream Fiction in 2016 and a nomination for the Goodreads Choice Award for Romance the same year. These accolades reflect the novel’s impact and popularity among readers and critics alike.

Exploring Love and Hate in Sally Thorne’s “The Hating Game”

Sally Thorne’s “The Hating Game” is a captivating exploration of the thin line between love and hate. With its witty dialogue, memorable quotes, and richly developed characters, the novel offers a fresh take on the romantic comedy genre. Whether you’re a fan of contemporary romance or simply enjoy a well-told story about complex emotions, “The Hating Game” is a must-read.

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