Book Review: The Hate Project by Kris Ripper
After having read and thoroughly enjoyed The Love Study (one of my top 5 books of 2020) I was delighted to see The Hate Project available for review. We met Oscar (the grouch) and snarky Jack in The Love Study, where they clearly struck sparks, and here they go from occasional acquaintances-with-benefits to finally achieving a relationship status neither of them are too eager to put a label on but which makes both of them happy.
It’s sometimes hard to like Oscar, who is absolutely his own worst enemy pretty much all of the time, but it’s very, very easy to identify with him, with his anxieties, depression, self-directed fatphobia and absolute conviction that nobody could find him lovable or even attractive. Kris Ripper does not shy away from depicting Oscar’s issues, warts and all, right down to the effects changing medications can have on mental state or libido. If you don’t suffer from anxiety, it might occasionally feel like Oscar is just ‘overreacting’ but if you feel like that, I’d urge you to sit back and take a second look, be more understanding that for someone with anxiety, the smallest thing can be absolutely overwhelming. This is one of the most realistic depictions I’ve ever read of someone just trying to get through everyday life without falling apart, and sometimes absolutely failing at it and needing support to pick themselves up and carry on.
Jack’s got issues too, not least of which is his tendency to use sarcasm as a defence mechanism instead of talking about his feelings, but his willingness to try and his refusal to judge Oscar made me like him a lot. The tone here is quite different to The Love Study, not least in that the sex scenes are both more frequent and a lot more detailed - I get why, the body issues of Sidney from The Love Study made it much more tactful not to go explicit - but I admit I was slightly surprised at least the first time around at Oscar and Jack getting raunchy on-page. I adored Jack’s delightfully willful grandmother Evelyn, who definitely deserves to be an honorary member of their friend group, and delighted in the appearance of Declan and Sidney from the first book here too. The only reason I didn’t love this quite as much is because, as previously mentioned, Oscar’s not all that easy to like. It’s still wonderfully written, though, a very modern real-world love story between two complex people. Five stars, and I’ll be eagerly looking forward to the next in the series.
The Hate Project is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.