Okay, so I didn’t hate The Hating Game, but I didn’t love it either—and let me tell you why. I’ll start by saying that I really enjoy romance novels. Not all romance novels, but I love the quirky rom-com types that give you that cozy warm feeling when you read about them. I was hoping The Hating Game would be like that, but I didn’t feel that was the case, at least for me.
When I go for a romance novel, I look for fun, a bit of conflict, something that reads quick/easy, and of course, a happy ending (pun intended?). Whether the book has smut or not, I look for good plotlines. I felt The Hating Game could have come close, but there was just too much bickering for my taste. It was obvious that Lucy and Josh really did hate each other, at least until a certain point, and at that point I start to wonder how realistic the story is when they turn things around.
If you read my review on The Roughest Draft (if you haven’t, you can check that out here), I felt very similarly about that book as well. Suffice it to say, if you liked The Hating Game, The Roughest Draft might be for you. But, if you’re a reader who doesn’t enjoy the arguing as much, there are many other books that fall in the enemies to lovers trope that are just as quirky, but maybe even better.
So, without further ado, here are four novels that fall in the enemies to lovers category that are just a little less cringy.
#1: Shipped by Angie Hockman
Now I haven’t had the opportunity to read this one yet, but it’s on my TBR list, for sure, and it certainly sounds like a similar premise to The Hating Game. Shipped is about Henley Evans, a cruise ship manager taking night classes for an MBA. She’s career-focused and basically has time for nothing else. When she’s up for a promotion at her job, she finds out that she’s competing against Graeme Crawford-Collins, the remote social media editor. Though she’s never met him in person, Henley and Graeme have definitely had it out over email more than once. In order to get the promotion, the cruise ship company sends both characters to the Galapagos islands to write their proposals. When Henley and Graeme meet for the first time, Henley learns he’s nothing like she imagined at all. If you’re interested in Henley and Graeme’s story, you can buy Shipped here.
#2: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
If you like the enemies to lovers trope, The Unhoneymooners is for you. This is a fast-paced easy read that would be great for a beach trip, or maybe a pool day. In The Unhoneymooners, Olive is her twin sister’s maid of honor. On the day of the wedding, the buffet gives everyone terrible food poisoning—that is, everyone except Olive and the groom’s best man, Ethan. The only problem? Olive and Ethan don’t exactly get along, and Olive’s sister is too sick to use their non-refundable honeymoon tickets. When the two embark on a trip made for lovebirds, Olive and Ethan try to put their differences aside to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime trip, no matter how unbearably sappy it might be. You can check this book out on Amazon here.
#3: Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Okay, it’s no secret that People We Meet On Vacation was not a favorite of mine. In fact, it might have been one of the lowest ranking romances I’ve ever read. The reasoning? I didn’t feel like the characters could have had a realistic romance that way (You can read the full review by clicking here). Though, if you like friends to lovers, People We Meet On Vacation might be for you. Either way, Emily Henry has just released her new book, Book Lovers, this week and I’m on board.
In Book Lovers, Nora Stephens is a cutthroat literary agent who specializes in getting her clients the best book deals. When her beloved baby sister Libby begs her for a girl’s trip to North Carolina, Nora knows she could use a break. After all, maybe it’s time for her to be the main character in her own story, right? When Nora arrives, she quickly has a meet-cute of her own with Charlie Lastra, a bookish editor from the city. The only problem? Nora and Charlie have met many times before and it’s never been cute. Thrown into an array of situations, Nora and Charlie are forced to rethink their stories and their past experiences. If you’d like to order Book Lovers, check it out on Amazon here.
#4: Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho
Last but not least, I had to add in at least one Asian rep for Asian and Pacific Islander author celebratory month. In Last Tang Standing, Andrea Tang is living her dream. She’s a hotshot lawyer living in a posh condo and she knows all the hottest clubs in Singapore. Andrea is happy with her life, but as a lone, unmarried member of her family’s Tang generation, she is constantly hearing complaints from her Chinese-Malaysian family.
When Andrea has a chance encounter with a wealthy entrepreneur, she knows he’s just the man that would satisfy her family, and he might give her the right opportunities for her career, too. The only problem is that her office rival keeps throwing a wrench in her plans. In an endless war between making herself happy and pleasing others, Andrea has to decide what her future may hold. If Last Tang Standing sounds like your cup of tea, you can purchase it here.
Whether you’re a fan of The Hating Game or not, these enemies to lovers recs are sure to be great options for your TBR list. Have you read any of these books? Would you add any others to this list?