This is the month of reading popular books it seems. Or the month of reading romances. I suppose that probably should’ve been last month but…*shrugs*
It took me less than 48 hours to read The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood (published by Berkley), a new-adult romance with the fake dating trope. *swoons* Olive needs to prove to her friend she’s moved on from her ex and so the only logical thing was to kiss the first guy she sees. Unfortunately, that guy is Dr. Adam Carlsen, a professor at the university where she is a PhD candidate, and a known ass. But for reasons of his own, Adam plays along and goes along with the whole fake dating charade.
I think this book was Ali Hazelwood’s debut. She’s from Italy, lived in Germany and Japan, before moving to the US to get a Ph.D in Neuroscience. (Her and Olive make me wish I were smarter). She’s now a professor and an author, exploring romance in scientific settings. She has since written four other books.
I really liked this book. I couldn’t put it down–except for when I had to cover my face from secondhand embarassment. Let’s be honest–a lot of choices Olive made were cringe-worthy.
Obviously, I’m no stranger to the fake-dating trope. It’s one of my favorites and I don’t mind any clichés that come with it. What made this story unique was that Olive was also aware of the trope and self-aware whenever her story hit a cliché I can’t decide if I liked that about the book or not.
This was also a slow-burn which I whole-heartedly appreciate. The pacing was good, without feeling too slow. Especially when every chapter something new or cringey happened that forced Adam and Olive to do something a bit PDA-y.
I think some people would argue that this also follows the grumpyxsunshine trope with Adam being the grumpy one, but I disagree. The whole time, Olive calls him an ass, but he never acts like a jerk, and I kind of think she was being unfair and ass-like about it all. That being said, it was nice to watch as the two got to know each other, peeling layer by layer (emotionally!!!!), and finding out who each other really was. (Ok, there may be one chapter where it’s not just emotionally).
It was also so important that we saw into the world of women in STEM and how they are treated. Olive has to deal with certain things, like not being taken seriously or sexual harrassment, and her friend Anh, who is also POC as well as a woman, has it even worse in the department. My favorite advice comes from Olive’s adviser: “Carry yourself with the confidence of a mediocre white man.” Even though I’m not in STEM, I might still try to take this advice to heart.
The language was easy-to-read and casual, believable for a 26-year-old in 2021. Yes, there were some scientific things that were mentioned that I have no clue what they were, but it never distracted from the actual story, and always managed to get the point across. So, while I think it could be super cool for people in STEM to read this, you don’t have to be a scientist to understand it.
I was emotionally invested in Adam and Olive’s relationship from the start. I loved each time they were forced to be a little physical, even if it made me hide my face in the book with a cringe and a blush. I loved seeing their relationship develop.
Also, I felt kind of seen. Olive experiences sexual attraction, but not often–definitley less than what we think the average person does, and I’m just like her. Like, I don’t know if I’m asexual but I feel like, for the most part, I have to know a person before I’m attracted–though I’m almost always attracted to fictional characters. And my boyfriend, of course. Anyway…
There was one thing that drove me crazy in the book. This was, at the height of the climax when there were so many problems, I wanted to scream, because all of the problems could be fixed with simple communication. A lot of the problems were created by lies and lies to cover up those lies and I just screamed to Olive for her to come clean! I get that was kind of the point of the book though, and one of the problems I understand why she wouldn’t want to say anything. But sometimes I just want characters to UGH communicate already.
Anyway, coming off the amazing read that was Red, White, & Royal Blue, it was hard to fall instantly in love with another book, and though The Love Hypothesis was great, it wasn’t as great so…
Four stars. Out of five. Not too shabby of a rating there. Definitley reccomend to anyone who likes the fake dating trope and wants to see more women in STEM.
Find Ali Hazelwood on Instagram here.
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