**Review copy provided by the publisher**
In Dating You Hating You, Evie and Carter are talent agents who hit it off at a party and then find themselves competing for a single job. Evie worked her way up over the last 14 years, while Carter has been in LA less than two years, and is brand new to the Features department. But in the eyes of their boss, the great Brad Kingman, Carter’s got one thing in particular on his side, a Y chromosome.
Dating You Hating You is the right book, talking about the right things, hitting at the right time. To call it kismet or serendipity would be selling author duo Christina Lauren short. Two smart, funny, accomplished women put in the work to intertwine an “it’s complicated” workplace romance with a message about sexism and workplace (in)equality . Like Carter says, “…this combination of attraction and competition makes me insane.” Me, too, Carter, me, too. To hear CLo tell it, this one didn’t just manifest itself as the perfect novel right out of the gates, which almost makes it more satisfying to read.
Dating You Hating You may be Christina Lauren’s best work yet. It has all the feels, sheet-popping sexiness, and laughs you expect from a Christina Lauren book. Seriously, the hijinks in this one will have you laughing out loud. (I couldn’t even put together a proper bookstagram without spoiling the fun). It also has a dose of reality, and an edge we haven’t really seen in previous CLo books. A welcome edge.
There are sooooo many moments where I threw my hands up and said, “Yes, girl, that has happened to me.” Whether it’s being dismissed, a golf event for business; or having a comment you made be passed over, only to have a male colleague repeat it to rave reviews. Evie’s frustration is palpable when Brad decides for her that she doesn’t need that doughnut she’s brought into a breakfast meeting. Then he adds insult to injury saying, “What? Are you depressed? Trust me, you don’t need that.” Oooh, both Evie and I saw red over that one.
Let’s be clear, Dating You Hating You is feminist, but not man-hating. It’s a walk through an office and a career scenario that some of us know all too well. It reflects what women are continually dealing with in the workplace. While Carter is slightly oblivious at first about some of the discrimination, once it’s pointed out, he even starts to see how he might have contributed to it. Still, it’s Evie who has to prove herself, who has to wrestle with putting career first. If you’ve been there, you know. If it’s not choosing job or partner, it’s job or children. And it’s tough to put it all together.
Evie and Carter’s attraction is undeniable, and it blooms into something more, even amidst the push/pull of their professional competition. There are plenty of steamy stolen moments, setting up the big question: Will competence, or confidence and charisma win out? Or will love?
Christina Lauren has nailed it: Dating You Hating You is smart, sexy fun with a serious side. For my money, Evie’s got it right: “I feel all of us exhale in a swoon in unison. A swoonison.”
This might be my new favorite read, and my new favorite word.