There’s a thin line between love and hate . . . and it cuts right through the middle of their office.
Bad boys? They run right over good girls like Georgina Keller. But after a confidence-shattering breakup, she’s determined not to let anyone at her new workplace push her around—least of all the brooding creative director, a “bad boy of publishing” who’s made it clear she’s enemy #1.
Sebastian Quinn’s taste for fast cars, late nights, and beautiful women may have gotten him to the top of a leading New York magazine, but the reputation that made him is suddenly threatening to end his career.
Georgina can help Modern Man shed its bad reputation, but in order to do that, she’ll have to start at the top—and no amount of rakish charm or inconvenient attraction will distract her.
Because if Sebastian gets her right where he wants her, it means she’s going down.
I loved this. It made me cry and I think it was the perfect book to start the year with because of the way it made me reflect. The female lead goes through her life essentially acting as two versions of herself: George in the workplace and Georgina in her personal life. In her mind, George is confident and self-assured, while Georgina is weak and a pushover. Eventually, though, she realizes that she is just herself, that both versions exist inside herself because she is a multifaceted human being (as we all are):
It was such a simple concept that I was embarrassed to admit I’d never really thought of it that way. I was still the one standing at the front of the room, not some version of myself that I could return to a box later . . . even if it sometimes felt that way. And of course there was the fact that I’d forgotten to be either version all day. I’d just been myself. (Loc 3456)
In my undergrad, I had a literature professor who spoke of the concept of “living as performance.” What that means is that we go about our daily lives putting on different types of performances instead of just “being ourselves.” Think about it this way: you act one way with your parents, another way with your friends, another with your boss, another when you’re alone, etc. So the question that arises from this concept is this: Which version is the real you? This is a trick question because they are all you. One could argue that how you act when you’re alone is who you really are, but that’s not necessarily true. Other people bring out qualities in us which we don’t even realize are there. Maybe it’s protectiveness or humor or bitterness. You can’t say that that’s not part of you, as well. I’ve struggled with this due to the way I grew up and the kind of school I went to. It took me a while to figure out how to combine those different performances I had to put on.
As for the romance — these two, y’all. It’s a slow-burn hate-to-love office romance, and it’s super cute. There was definitely angst in the book, but the way Hawkins handled it was so good. I expected her to drag out parts of it longer (since that’s pretty common in the genre…), but she didn’t. And when Sebastian and Georgina argued, I felt so uncomfortable because I hate confrontation — and that’s a good thing because it felt real. Both of their reasons for being angry at each other were valid, and they didn’t take long to contemplate and understand why the other would say what they did.
Bonus: there are dogs. Cute, lovable doggy friends.
- I couldn’t let Sebastian undermine me. I dug into my purse, unzipped a side pouch, and pulled out an emergency mini bottle of Aleve. Turning my head over my shoulder, I tossed it back, and Sebastian caught it with a look of surprise. “For the PMS,” I said with a wink to make absolute sure he knew I’d heard their earlier conversation. I took the next moment for myself, though I could’ve used a whole weekend with Halo Top and The New Yorker to agonize over my morning—oh, who was I kidding? I wallowed by eating Häagen Dazs Mocha Chocolate Cookie straight from the carton while binge-watching every available episode of HGTV set in Dublin or any movie featuring Saoirse Ronan. (Loc 533)
- You can be in touch with who you used to be and still be different. The idea is to keep getting better. (Loc 1782)
- Life is too short not to be where you are, even if it’s a rental. (Loc 3623)
- It turned out life was full of thin lines. They formed tenuous tightropes between loving and hating, mating and dating . . . life and death. One misstep, one nudge, could knock you from one side to the other before you realized it. Before you were ready. (Loc 4610)
- This was what life was about—showing up for the people you cared about when things weren’t pretty. (Loc 4875)