Cover Image: The Hate Project

The Hate Project

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Member Reviews

As a person with anxiety this book read very authentically, to the point it made me emotional multiple times. I kept taking screen shots of sections and sending them to my friends with endless crying emojis. I loved these characters. I loved how the communicated and grew together. I loved that Oscar wasn't treat like a child because of his anxiety. I just loved this book. It feels like Ripper is creating this series just for me.
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As always, Ripper's books are an absolute joy. This one is no exception! So much found family, so much heartfelt seeking and figuring things out and messing up and trying again. Really loved the balance of thoughtful exploration of mental health and anxiety with a lot of hilarity.
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Overall, I enjoyed this — I found the grumpy-grumpy pairing to work really well here and enjoyed the verbal sparring between Jack and Oscar. Their magnetic bantering is conveyed perfectly. I also absolutely adored Evelyn and her relationship with Jack — talk about an ideal grandmother and secondary character. The humor landed better for me in The Hate Project than it did in The Love Study — it felt less forced, somehow. Also, as my anxiety has spiked during the pandemic, I found Oscar’s anxiety and his crankiness but acceptance of his anxiety to be captured incredibly well — there’s no magic fix, just a change in meds, learning how to cope and communicate your needs better to others, and accept that sometimes you just need to breathe and get through the next five minutes. The heart and humor behind the mental health awareness in this series is really stellar.

What worked for me less was the pacing of the romantic arc. I feel like Jack and Oscar are too early in the HFN stage when we wrap things up — we’ve barely seen them as a “real couple”. Though I think this series would also argue that a “real couple” is a fake concept (which is a totally fair and accurate point). I guess what it comes down to for me is that I don’t feel as though we actually get to know Jack that well through his interactions with Oscar. Instead, we get to know Jack through his interactions with Evelyn, via what Evelyn confides in Oscar, and what Oscar comes across while cleaning Jack’s childhood home. While these are legitimate ways to learn about someone, it doesn’t work as well for me when it comes to establishing a romance, because the emotional vulnerability of directing confiding in someone is absent. Jack doesn’t tell Oscar about his divorce — instead Oscar learns about it through Declan, through discovered papers, and finally by talking to Evelyn. While Jack’s divorce isn’t his defining characteristic, it was still odd to me that Jack’s divorce was brought up by others but never Jack himself. It felt like false intimacy and, honestly, a bit invasive. It didn’t ruin the book for me by any means, but I found myself wishing for more actual interaction between Oscar and Jack, with just the two of them. While I loved the scenes with Oscar, Jack, and Evelyn (so many great lines/scenes!), I could have done with more relationship building with the two of them alone.

Quibbles aside, this was my favorite book in the series thus far. The comedic timing was great and I enjoyed the conversational tone of Kris Ripper’s writing.
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I really enjoyed the first book (the Love Study) but this one managed to be even better - more relatable, more heartwarming, and even funnier than I could've hoped for.
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3.5 stars

Kris Ripper writes self-aware characters who are flawed and real and constantly making mistakes while still trying to be better at the whole life/human being thing in a way that just really works for me.

Zir found families work well for me, too. Usually this type of group would feel too quirky to seem real, but here they just feel like people who know each other really well, flaws and all, who don't ignore the flaws, and sometimes argue quite heatedly about said flaws, but continue to support each other anyway. Her first book in this series was one of my favorite reads last year, and I love how ze made this same group of friends feel very different when viewed from a different character's perspective.

I did *not* think Oscar the grouch was going to work for me, but I was so, so wrong! Oscar could not be more different from the friend who was the MC in Book 1, but I was very quickly all in on everything this book was doing.

And holy shit, the realism of those sex scenes was a revelation!!! I loved everything about them. I read a lot of erotic romance, and the repetitive, manufactured, too picture-perfect formula of them often pulls me out of the story at the worst times. I don't know how ze managed to make clunky, fumbling, bumbling, awkward sex hot as hell, but ze definitely did.

There's about 20% in the middle of this that got a little draggy. Oscar is in a bit of a spiral, and while the portrayal of the circular thought patterns and abject frustration of knowing what you *should* be doing to get yourself out of this spiral without actually being able to get yourself to DO IT was done so well, I didn't necessarily want to experience so very much of it with him.

I was so relieved when he pulled out of that tailspin because it was starting to pull me down a little, too. The end of the book lost some of the magic for me, but not in a way that I have any real complaints about. But that is where it lost that half star.

I'm not sure how much of that was due to the incredibly realistic and therefore frustrating-to-experience funk Oscar was in leading up to it, and how much of it was because Jack has drawn back into his shell after the events that led to the spiral, so he's just beginning to creep back out and show us his real personality again when it ends. (This is written as a single POV, so we're only experiencing Jack from Oscar's perspective.)

The epilogue was awesome, so I think I just wish we'd gotten a little more of Jack being more open again before the end.

I still loved these two, and now I'm super excited for Book 3 next month. Mason and polyamorous romances aren't even things that I necessarily find appealing at the moment, but this reminded me why Kris Ripper is on my list of favorite authors. This series is really working for me right now, and I will go wherever ze wants to take it.

(Also, I don't think you'd need to read the first book of the series to enjoy this one. The prominent characters are all fully drawn as if this was a standalone, and it's the opposite set from the characters who were more prominent in Book 1. There were maybe a handful of sentences that I got more enjoyment out of from knowing Sidney and Declan's relationship story.)
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I don’t know why I always do this – I know I’ll love a book, but I just can’t get myself to start reading it. And then I start postponing, which means I end up in a vicious circle and now I can’t start reading it and if any of this sounds familiar? Congrats, you’re both like me, and the main character of The Hate Project!

The story
This arrangement is either exactly what they need–or a total disaster

Oscar is a grouch. That’s a well-established fact among his tight-knit friend group, and they love him anyway.

Jack is an ass. Jack, who’s always ready with a sly insult, who can’t have a conversation without arguing, and who Oscar may or may not have hooked up with on a strict no-commitment, one-time-only basis. Even if it was extremely hot.

Together, they’re a bickering, combative mess.

When Oscar is fired (answering phones is not for the anxiety-ridden), he somehow ends up working for Jack. Maybe while cleaning out Jack’s grandmother’s house they can stop fighting long enough to turn a one-night stand into a frenemies-with-benefits situation.

The house is an archaeological dig of love and dysfunction, and while Oscar thought he was prepared, he wasn’t. It’s impossible to delve so deeply into someone’s past without coming to understand them at least a little, but Oscar has boundaries for a reason—even if sometimes Jack makes him want to break them all down.

After all, hating Jack is less of a risk than loving him…

The opinion
Honestly, I did this to myself. If I didn’t want to feel ridiculously seen by a book, then maybe I shouldn’t read any of the books in The Love Study-series, because apparently, that’s just what they’ll do to me.

Here’s the thing: Kris Ripper can write. That doesn’t necessarily mean all of zir work is for me, because, you know… Genres. But it does mean that, when I picked up The Hate Project, I was fully prepared to be impressed. And usually? Well, that would just mean I was setting myself up for disappointment.

That didn’t happen, though. As I said, maybe it’s because Oscar’s anxiety rings just slightly too true to me, maybe it’s because the story was so utterly enjoyable, it might even have been the glimpse into Declan and Sidney’s life post-The Love Study. Whatever it was? It worked for me. This book managed to be so very enjoyable, and yet touch on pretty heavy subjects. There was a combination of flirting, really quite hot smut, and actual personal growth that never felt forced. And of course: there was a happy ending. What else could I possibly need on a grumpy September Monday?

The rating: 4/5
Honestly, I was really considering just giving this one a full 5 stars, but I haven’t read the last part of this series yet, and I want to allow for room for even more growth, if that’s possible? And if you know anything about me, you’ll know that’s the real giveaway: I want – no, need – more. Let the countdown begin!

-Saar
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I have many favourite tropes that I love reading about in romance novels, but I’ve never read a book that so perfectly encapsulates the grumpy x grumpy dynamic like The Hate Project by Kris Ripper does.

The book follows Oscar, who’s a little bit grouchy and a lot anxious, but who has a great group of friends as his support system for the times his depression rears its ugly head or when his panic attacks become too much for him to deal with. One of his best friends, Declan, decides to make Oscar’s life even more difficult by introducing a new member to their friendship group: Jack. Jack, whose a little bit older then the rest of them and manages to get on Oscar’s nerves like no other. When Oscar is let go from his job, he and Jack have one night of no-strings, sort-of-pity sex that Oscar is happy to forget about. But then through Declan’s machinations, Jack hires Oscar to clean his house that is going up for sale and is currently a chaotic mess from Jack’s grandfather’s hoarding. Oscar and Jack then use this time as an excuse to continue hooking up, until their no-strings arrangement starts to feel a little too real.

While The Hate Project is primarily a romance novel, it also focuses heavily on Oscar’s mental health journey as he suffers from anxiety and depression. His anxiety is so relatable, I found myself highlighting entire paragraphs on my Kindle because I could so clearly see myself reflected in Oscar. It was also really illuminating to see how Oscar worked though his anxious episodes, especially with help from his friends who are always there for Oscar but also respect his boundaries when he says he’s not ready to talk about something. The found family dynamic in this book was just wonderful.

Jack, on the other hand, is a bit domineering, very grumpy and, like Oscar, terrified of commitment. He’s not afraid of saying exactly what he wants, which baffles Oscar but also intrigues him. I really enjoyed the snark banter between the two men and felt that the development of their relationship was handled perfectly. There’s a bit of miscommunication between them and I found it so refreshing that they profess their love for one another in a non-typical way–as in they never say the words, but the reader can still see how much they adore each other. I can’t wait to see more of Oscar and Jack in the next book in the series, even as they following book focuses on a different pairing.

I honestly didn’t think I’d enjoy a romance that revolves so heavily around anxiety and depression, but there you have it: Ripper has written an incredible love story here, even if Oscar and Jack would object to that word. If you’re looking for a unique romance novel where the love interests keep denying the fact that they even like each other, then I highly recommend The Hate Project!
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I absolutely love the anxiety rep in this book but I couldn’t care less for the romance. So where does that leave me?

In total confusion about whether I should recommend The Hate Project or not. Like… Is it any good or is it the worst? Okay, it’s not that bad but I still don’t feel comfortable saying you should read this book neither does it feel right to tell you to not read it. Have I ever been in this situation before? I honestly can’t remember but I am pretty sure this is new for me. Especially because I’m known for my rather strict reviews I guess.

Okay so. What now.

If I have to have an opinion – which I kinda do – read this one if you want some healthy portrayal of especially anxiety. A portrayal that is so real I often felt called out and understood at the same time. I’m not saying that this is the one true way TM to be anxious, because there isn’t some shit like that, but it is realistic and not romanticized which is so fucking important. I’ve also felt how Oscar is feeling his depression, so there are some bonus points on that front.

Overall I do like the characters and I had no problem following them or their dynamics without having read the first book which is called The Love Study.

But I really, really can’t get behind the romance. I’m not feeling it at all. What I am feeling is that Oscar and Jack were not in a headspace to enter a relationship. Both have so much baggage inside themselves that should have been dealt with before putting on top that complicated relationships of theirs. Maybe that is way I didn’t feel the romance. Maybe there simply was no spark to begin with, I’m really not sure.
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Warm and quirky! I really enjoyed this take on the odd couple romance. Oscar in particular is a memorably vivid character.
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The Hate Project is the second book in the Love Study series by Kris Ripper. You do not need to read the series in order to enjoy the read, although returning readers will have a head start in understanding the characters and the friend group dynamics. 

Oscar is a grouch. That’s a well-established fact among his tight-knit friend group, and they love him anyway. Jack is an ass. Jack, who’s always ready with a sly insult, who can’t have a conversation without arguing, and who Oscar may or may not have hooked up with on a strict no-commitment, one-time-only basis. Even if it was extremely hot. Together, they’re a bickering, combative mess. When Oscar is fired (answering phones is not for the anxiety-ridden), he somehow ends up working for Jack. Maybe while cleaning out Jack’s grandmother’s house they can stop fighting long enough to turn a one-night stand into a frenemies-with-benefits situation.  The house is an archaeological dig of love and dysfunction, and while Oscar thought he was prepared, he wasn’t. It’s impossible to delve so deeply into someone’s past without coming to understand them at least a little, but Oscar has boundaries for a reason—even if sometimes Jack makes him want to break them all down. After all, hating Jack is less of a risk than loving him. 

The Hate Project is another winner from Ripper. I loved getting to know Oscar and Jack- and the honest and open way their personalities and issues are part of the story and never felt like elements added to the story to tick check marks or create unnecessary drama. Oscar's anxiety and depression were very well described, as was the reality that everyone reacts to stimuli differently, and that medication has good and bad aspects including the difficulty of finding the right prescription. Evelyn is a great character, and I enjoyed seeing the group I came to care for in The Love Study again. The character interactions and growth had me fully engaged in the story and wanting more, I really want to know where the whole group goes from here. My only complaint is that I would have like to see at least some of this from Jack's point of view- because there a more than a few moments in the book were I really wanted to know where he was thinking and where he was coming from. 

The Hate Project is a solid romance with great characters.
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Let me just fangirl about this book for a moment: 

1) GAH, CUTE. The grumpy ones falls for the ... grumpy one! A trope I didn’t know I loved! I haven’t read any romance book with that trope in it, and now I want more of them. Ripper writes characters so well, and their stories are so engaging (and relatable)! 

2) Oscar is a total mess and I love him. He annoyed the shit out of me sometime, but most likely because I saw myself in lots of his dumb self-sabatoging ways. 

3) There was a LOT more sex in this, as compared to the first. Which I enjoyed, and thought it fit with the story. 

4) I love that these books follow a group of friends, so you can see how characters you got to know in the first book were in the second book ... and I’m super excited to read the third book now!
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I had mixed opinions on this book when I started reading, but ultimately I didn’t want to stop. This book was very clearly written for the queer community and not toned down for heteronormative consumption. It felt raw and personal in a way many romcom novels do not. The narrative also addressed complications in relationships that have to do with mental health and its treatment - as well as the importance of having a support system in place for when things don’t go as planned. The writing style took some getting used to, but I am glad I finished this novel and I would read more books by this author.
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First, look at that cover. Isn't it adorable? And it very simply describes this book quite well. I love it when a book cover actually matches the book content. :)I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this book. It was just a little different than most other gay romances. There was a huge amount of hoarding, which is definitely not something you ever see. An MC who was just afraid of let his guard down, jobless, and was kind of a bit of a mess. It was honestly refreshing to see a character fall in love, even though there were points in the book where he couldn't get out of bed. Sometimes that is where life leads us, into places we don't want to be, but there we are.Meanwhile, the other MC, while having a good job, the home he lived in, his grandparents was its own hot mess. And he'd been in the situation of just not knowing what to do as it continued to get worse and worse.I really loved how as Oscar was cleaning out the house, he found himself really digging deep into the family, their secrets, their pain, and even their joy. Jack's grandmother was a feisty old woman, and I was completely here for it. :)This book didn't play out the way I expected at all, and that was a very good thing. Their emotions were just so bottled up, you had to wonder how they couldn't come flying out!4.5 pieces of eye candy
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I really enjoyed the back and forth between Jack and Oscar, but Oscar really made me want to smack him most of the time. Although Oscar's internal issues provided almost all of the tension, the character was built in such a way that it didn't seem over the top or easily fixed. I liked that they had to negotiate every step of their relationship, clear to the end of the book. And of course, it was a pleasure to see the whole gang from the first book.
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Although I haven’t picked up all of the Carina Adores offerings, I’m loving what I’ve read so far. Which brings me to the fact that I somehow missed the first book in Kris Ripper’s The Love Study series. I need to rectify that because I really need to get to know Oscar and Jack’s friends – because as friends go, this crew is amazing!

In the beginning, the short description of Oscar and Jack is pretty accurate. “Jack is an a**” and “Oscar is a grouch” – but that’s only on the surface. There’s so much more to both of these guys. The fact that they seem to bring out the worst in each other doesn’t help. They’ve both put up emotional walls that they are desperately afraid to let down.

I loved watching these two get closer and pick away at those walls. It broke my heart when the inevitable happened and those walls came up stronger than they were before. Since The Hate Project was told entirely from Oscar’s POV it would have been easy to sympathize with him, but my heart surprisingly went out to Jack more than once. And although the story was Jack and Oscar’s, their friends were a driving force in The Hate Project. They may have loved Oscar, but they didn’t coddle him. They called him out when he was wrong, but were there for him regardless.

As I said, this is one series that I’m definitely going to back track. The Love Study isn’t part of Carina Adores, but after meeting these characters and reading the description, I already know it’s the beginning that I shouldn’t have missed out on. 😉
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I had no idea what this book was about when I clicked on it - but it was definitely my kind of book. Oscar, Jack, and all their friends were the kind of family that everyone should have. Oscar with his anxiety, but definitely some tools to deal with things, at least most of the time, is the protagonist. And Jack is the object of his... hate? attraction? love? friendship? it could go either way.
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I think my favorite thing about this book is that it’s called The Hate Project but it is unbelievably sweet LOL

Great rep for depression and anxiety and for how when we fall in love we are not fixed. There is no magic love cure. More books like this plz. 

Oscar and Jack being grumpy loves grumpy was also a delight. Sometimes grumpy needs another grump. 

Loved.
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By turns hilarious and slightly uncomfortable (because it hits a little too close to home), this was a quick read. It was insightful to get a glimpse into the mind of an anxious overthinker, and how to navigate a relationship with one. Plus, the banter was fun, and I adored Evelyn. 

I was aware that this was a second book when I read it (I have not read The Love Study yet), but it wasn’t so jarring in its sequel-ness that it threw me off.
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*2.5 stars*

I feel wildly torn in my rating about The Hate Project by the very talented Kris Ripper. On one hand, I found this book to be relentlessly exhausting to read, even to the point that I dreaded picking it up to continue reading it. However, on the flip side, I thought it was an exceedingly accurate portrayal of depression and I was impressed by the writing. But still, the dread. I think most readers will fall into either the dislike or like camp, and the reviews will be very split.

I personally found Oscar to be very, very realistic but also not really someone that I think is in the right place for any sort of relationship. I mean, who am I to judge what kind of place he is in, right?, but I didn't like the way he hurt Jack and screwed up communicating, even if it wasn't his fault. I also found Jack to be difficult to get to know, mostly because we didn't get his POV.

I loved the hoarding and cleaning plotline and Jack's spunky grandma, and those were highlights for me. I had a bit of a hard time with all of the friends in the book, mostly because I didn't remember much from the first book in the series, but I think they were lovely and supportive overall.

The romance was also a big sticking point for me. I don't quite view this as a romance, partly because I didn't really get the chemistry and even the impression that Jack and Oscar got along all that well. I guess something was *starting* between them, but I was meh about the whole thing.

The Hate Project has very, very strong and accurate depression rep, from what I could gather, and I loved how the issues didn't magically resolve themselves. That being said, I found the book emotionally draining to read and not a particularly satisfying romance. However, I think for readers who relate to Oscar, this book would be very welcome and much needed. Moral of the story: ignore my rating and read this book to decide how you feel yourself.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
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Love the idea of a "grumpy one/grumpy one" romance. Who needs the sunshine one when you have witty banter?
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