Mattie Johns, desperate to save her ailing recruitment company, agrees to star on a dating game show. Confident in her man eating abilities, she knows she’ll win the huge financial prize without suffering heartbreak, even if it means a few bad dates along the way. Then she discovers the twist: her dates are actually with four unhappy ex-boyfriends. Desperate for the reward money, Mattie is determined to proceed at the mercy of the scorned exes, the ambitious TV producer and most of all, herself. Will she make it through to the end to claim the prize?
Lydia - 3.5 Star
I had anticipated reading The Hating Game since being contacted by Talli Roland about reviewing her debut novel. Loving almost anything reality TV related, the premise of this novel intrigued me and I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it, and I wasn’t disappointed. This novel was fast paced, easy to read and frequently amusing. I was eager to discover what was going to happen and was rooting for Mattie to figure everything out.
At times I loved Mattie’s take no prisoners attitude both professionally and in her personal life, but other times it grated on me, from how she treated her best friend and her exes. I had hoped she would soften a bit earlier in the process, but somehow I still cheered for her and wanted her to want more from her life, to break down the barriers she had and in the end I wasn’t disappointed by her transformation and realizations.
Mattie’s observations throughout the book made me chuckle frequently and I found even her most insensitive thoughts could be quite amusing at times. I enjoyed the quirky secondary characters and thought the alternating perspectives from character to character provided a solid grasp on their thoughts and motives.
The Hating Game made me wonder about the reality TV process and just how far the shows would go for ratings and I’m wondering if I’ll view them differently now when I leap back into them in the new year. I also wondered throughout the novel about being in Mattie’s position and having to interact with ex boyfriends I had no desire to see again – or who might have some bones to pick with me. The entire premise of this novel was so interesting that I wonder how the scenario would play out on an actual reality TV show!
I look forward to more from Talli Roland!
Kathryn - 3.5 Star
I thought the premise of this storyline was great- I’ve heard that there are perhaps other novels that include the same sort of idea but I haven’t read any of those so to me the dating your exes game show was original and fresh!
I found main character Mattie Johnson a bit dry and a in reality a little bit scary! She was given some warmth when discussing the “one that got away” but as she’s completely in denial about his being the one for most of the novel it made sense that she joins the cast of this bizarre show entirely for the cash prize. Mattie’s voice was particularly funny at times and I did enjoy her internal ramblings about the cast and show and her perseverance to see it through to the end.
I also enjoyed the other voices and liked that we were given the perspective of more than one person throughout , it made the plot less about a woman looking for love (or cash prizes) because it included the workings of making a reality TV show with the voices of the producers, hair & makeup artists etc. Wow- hope it’s not quite that bad for the contestants on the ones I watch!
I was a little disappointed occasionally that we were given such brief overviews of the dates which made it harder to warm to her exes and really understand what the audience saw in the aired episodes and I would have liked a few more details in regards to location descriptions sometimes but all in all I enjoyed The Hating Game and am looking forward to another Talli Roland novel!