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Onward with The Alphabet Challenge Variation (read 18 books where the title/author name begins with the letter A, then B, C, etc. through R).

Letter “L” for Christina Lauren

For letter “L,” I’m reading a story that my book group chose for this month, Christina Lauren’s “Dating You, Hating You,” published in 2017. Fortunately, I really enjoyed it.

This is basically a work romance. It’s set in Los Angeles — Tinseltown specifically — although there’s not much glamour or star power here. The hero and heroine are rival talent agents, each attached to a prominent company in the business. We see them — unglamorously — doing their jobs as they navigate the office and gender politics of this cutthroat business. I have to say, I really felt like we were there in Southern California, in their world and I even tried checking to see if the authors are from there, they did it so well. Although our protagonists meet off-site, at a friend’s party, they soon learn they are in the same biz and, before long, actually working in the same company competing for the same position. This leads to comic moments, as they try to sabotage each other, but it also leads to some real life angst that grounded this story. The supporting characters are also well-drawn. Their evil boss is a little over the top. But their friends and colleagues were so distinct that I was rooting for many of them as well, especially the hero’s brother, a rock photographer with an artist’s heart. (Will he have his own story?)

I’ve had this prejudice against authors who write together under one name, feeling like what they gain in collaboration, they lose in a distinctive voice. But, I was wrong here. I would never have been able to tell two authors are behind this work, it read so seamlessly — although they did shift chapters from hero to heroine which probably helped.

Finally, this story has been compared to 2016’s breakout hit, The Hating Game, but to be honest with you, I like this one better. Because of some of the serious issues it tackled — in this time when women are finding their voice — it just seemed more au courant while also being humorous. I’d give it an “A.”

The Alphabet Challenge Variation – 3 down, 15 to go (R, D, L …)