Book Reviews

Like You Hate Me by Bethany Winters

Genre Gay / Bisexual / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Bob-O-Link on 28-September-2023

Book Blurb

I’ve never hated anyone as much as I hate him.

The day my sister died, I told her best friend I never wanted to see him again, and I meant it.

I lost her because of him. Everything I used to care about means nothing now because of him.

It’s all because of him.

So when he shows up on my driveway two years later and tells me he’s moving in with me for his freshman year of college, I kick his ass and tell him to disappear. For good this time.

But I already know the defiant little brat’s not gonna listen. He never does.

Being near him again makes me crazy. I’m supposed to be the college basketball star my father raised me to be, but now I’m focused on a new game. I’m obsessed with watching him, touching him, breaking him. His body, his head, his heart, anything I can get my hands on…

I’m gonna take it all until he’s got nothing left.

And even though he knows exactly what I’m doing to him, he’s gonna let me do it anyway.


Book Review

While I’ve heard it before, I’ll save some time by affirming that I am raving – no, maniacal – but entranced with ‘Like You Hate Me.’ Be it my current literary mood, or author Winters’ skill, I highly rate the book and you’d be forgiven for skipping my encomium and going directly to the pleasure of immersing yourself in this novel. Just be forewarned that a prime artery of the story is conflict, between the major characters’ little and big heads, of their disgust versus desire, and of sobriety versus penance. Is love capable of overcoming anger and blame?


Also, as imperfection is inescapable, Bethany Winters employs a difficult style (gimmick?) of alternately switching from time to time for important events. Does it work, revealing useful facts appropriately? Is it helpful, or merely a clever conceit? When you’re done reading, feel free to write your opinion on tissue and then promptly flushing it – thus memorializing a personal, useless opinion between you and your commode.


‘Like You Hate Me’ is wonderful reading, populated with people we likely are apt to know, and whose actions, including some expert coital episodes, may be familiar to the well-practiced.


And so, we are set to go!


Xavi is a psychologically injured young man, suffering the tragic loss of his best friend, Katy, two years earlier. His introduction is presented dramatically and at an appropriate pace, as is, on a more minor basis, Katy’s odd situation. Nate, Katy’s older brother, quite depressive, hates Xavi and blames him for his part in Katy’s death.


Most oddly, after drug rehab and psychological assistance, Xavi is moving into a house Nate and a teammate have rented for college living. (Peculiar? Any more so that Tolstoy conveniently employing the War of 1812 for his personae?) There are well-presented but useful minor characters: Frankie, a self-possessed but weird occasional girlfriend taking sanctuary with Nate; Carter (another roommate), and Easton, a fellow basketball team members with Nate, everyone's archetypical parents. Their interactions are all of interest. Nate is angry, Xavi is a defiant boy with balls!


Xavi is gay, Nate is a somewhat bisexual – his estranged father once caught him having sex with the pool boy. That makes it easier for Nate to vent his hate. Carter to Nate: “I know what you want. He’s yours now, Nate. You can beat him, fuck him, kill him and be done with it if it’s going to make you feel better.”


This is a multiple-character study, with useful factual development. But the people are the essence. They are young. They communicate in clever repartee. If not generally ambivalent about their situations, their reactions are quite variant – ranging from loathing to raging desire for each other. While this might be tilting into mental illness, author Winters never leaves the realm of reality. It could be any of us! In an unexpected situation, despite Nate’s “hatred” of Xavi, he clearly wants him sexually. And it seems to be reciprocated.


The plot, which will be withheld as a reward for readers, is engaging. It held my attention and allows the characters to wonderfully fulfill their assignments – which is to assist in reaching the HEA.


Parents are parental, for good and bad. Friends are also good and bad, depending on the moment. All developments are rationally pared to serve their purpose. Of course, if the sex it is what one wants to read – it’s frequent, varied, well-detailed, (“Shut up and take what I give you.”), aggressive (“It hurt, but that was his plan all along, wasn’t it? To hurt me…”), both hot and cold, (“Get naked,” he repeats slowly. “Or get out.”) If nothing else, Xavi and Nate’s physical interaction is an essential reflection of the developing plot and ultimate resolution. Their interim determination seems to be active sex – Xavi being a hole for Nate to stick his dick into. It is both a punishment, and a reward. Sometimes it is a matter of control by one, and the demeaning of the other. When Nate is done with what they're doing, he tells Xavi that he’ll be nothing, be simply discarded.


Have faith, have patience, and believe in glorious HEA.




DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the author via GRRT for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 404 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 29-August-2023
Price $4.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback
Buy Link