Top positive review
This may have ruined other hate-to-love romances for me!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 1 April 2018
I AM IN A PUDDLE OF FEELINGS. GAAAAH.
I finished this book days ago, and I still can't deal with the fact that it's over. I both regret and don't regret the binge-reading (finished in less than 24 hours...mid-work week). I'm just glad I have this in both audio and Kindle format so that I can read/listen again and again whenever I want because THIS WAS TOO GOOD. (The audio is done really well, FYI.)
I love love love hate-to-love romances, and this one is done so well and so uniquely. We've got forced proximity on a daily basis, glorious banter, and oodles of sexual tension. OODLES.
If you follow me on Twitter or have read other reviews by me, you might know that I am not a fan of the short and petite heroine thing. Not every damn heroine needs to be a tiny redhead. So I wasn't impressed at first when, lo and behold, Lucy is only five feet tall. Pair that with Josh, who is over six-foot. Authors tend to write these stereotypical pairings without thinking of the logistics; if you take a moment to think about it, making out with a height different of over a foot is going to be uncomfortable at best, and possibly even quite painful. BUT NOT SALLY THORNE. Sally actually thought this one through and acknowledged the difficulties. Lucy has to climb at times, Josh has to bend down or pick her up (to put her against a wall!!!!!!!), there's a lot of "I think you're too big for me"... Thank you so much, dear sweet Sally, for not just ignoring real world problems. (P.S. I want Anna Kendrick in this role right now.)
Lucy was a great character in general. The whole story is narrated from her point of view, and I really felt like she was real. She was hilarious, but also snarky and unsure and flawed. She knew and liked who she was, but she also struggled with self-doubt at times. It drove her absolutely mad that she could get on with everyone except Josh. But, like I'm sure a lot of people can relate with, her desire to be liked by others often meant she was taken advantage of. By everyone...except Josh. Oh, Josh, you were clearly what Lucy needed.
I would have found Josh annoying, too. He's very clearly a Smart Guy, but also sooooo serious. Unlike Lucy, he doesn't try to make friends with everyone, and the reason for his standoffishness is revealed later. What was refreshing was that he was Ridiculously Good-Looking, but he hated being objectified. When Lucy remarked on his looks, it put him on edge. I'm not used to seeing that, especially from a hero. He could be quite direct, but Josh showed he cared when it counted. I especially loved a part in the middle where he had to take care of Lucy; there were so many wonderful and funny moments in that, as well as a few that showed a deeper side to him.
Yes, I loved just about everything about this book, but I really loved was how we didn't have to wait until the very end for things to sizzle. Sally introduces the physical fun relatively early on through some super sexy make-out sessions. The sexual tension runs constantly as the two stare at each other across their desks, and, being an office romance, there are of course moments when the tension gets to be too much and a few not-so-original hiding places are utilised. That being said, it never gets too explicit. And really, their banter is hot enough as it is.
Full disclosure: there is a bit of a love triangle in this. Josh doesn't consider himself a "nice guy". In fact, he's a bit bitter about the whole nice guy thing. And Lucy is a nice girl, at least outwardly (she has a bit more spunk on the inside...hahahahaha). She wants a nice guy, and she tries to be interested in a nice guy, but the niceness cannot compare to the intensity of her "hatred" for Josh. He even encourages her to try it with the nice guy, dares her to be with him, in fact. This was maybe the only time I felt a bit off about the book.
The style of writing and voice were very witty and well-paced in general. Time was shown to pass without unnecessary fillers and enough drop-ins to scenes here and there that truly added to the story and the development of feelings. Honestly, that's one of my biggest issues when reading: unnecessary fillers or there not being enough time for feelings to really develop. But no, these two have worked together for a few years, and the book covers a few months, so I could 100% believe the eventual love between them.
There's a reason I finished this within 24 hours, despite having to work/sleep/etc. It was just so damn good. I'm genuinely worried that it's ruined other hate-to-love books for me for a while, as I've never read a hate-to-love done this well, and I've read quite a few great ones! I will admit that while I'm eager to see what Sally writes next, I'm a little bit nervous that it won't live up to the greatness of The Hating Game!