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Okay, book friends. I can count the number of times that I’ve stayed up past my bedtime to finish a book on one hand. And after last night, I’m adding The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood to that list.
It started off innocently enough. I sat down around 7:30pm to read a little while, having started the book the night before. I’d been looking forward to digging back in all day but between apple picking, baking apple pie, and a few virtual social activities, I hadn’t gotten a chance. So, I cheerfully settled in on the couch with my pup and figured I’d read until bedtime.
Around 8:30, my fiancé suggested we go up and read in bed (still #relationshipgoals to be honest), so I carried the book up there, tucked myself in, and kept on reading.
Then it was 9:30, and I figured probably I should only read another chapter, given that my typical bedtime is 9pm. But then it was 10:30 and I could tell something steamy was about to happen.
It did, but then of course we had to have The Bad Thing. In a romance if I ever read to The Bad Thing, I know that’s it, and I’m finishing the book because I can’t go to sleep until they hit happily ever after.
I went back down to the couch so I could turn the light off in our bedroom, and an hour later, I closed the book, having finished it in the span of a single evening. Because I now regret my life choices and am devastated that the delightful experience of reading this book for the first time is over, I’m writing this review.
Fair warning: I’ll be vague, but there will likely be some minor, general spoilers ahead, so read on at your own risk.
If you’ve been around this blog a while, you know I love a good fake dating trope. What I loved even more in this book is that our protagonist, Olive, is self-aware that what she and Dr. Adam Carlsen have agreed to is a romance trope.
Adam, of course, has never seen a rom com and is terribly amused/perplexed by how easily she refers to the “fake-dating” scenario as if it is an obvious, known thing. Delightful from the start.
I have to admit that I was surprised and a little confused at how quickly we got to said fake dating premise, and how easily Adam agreed to it in spite of the fact that Olive’s reasons were, in my opinion, a bit tenuous.
Nevertheless, the characters are so likeable that I didn’t mind how quickly we skipped to the “oops, we have to convince my friends and your colleagues that we’re actually dating so I guess I have to sit on your lap in this crowded lecture hall” of it all.
Gloriously contrived fake-dating aside, I really enjoyed the fact that Olive is so dedicated to her research and studies. There aren’t a lot of rom coms out there that prominently feature women in STEM, let alone spend so much time focusing on the protagonist’s work life and passion.
As someone who works in academia, I also loved that this book was set on a college campus, even if I did some eyebrow raises at how chill most people were about a PhD candidate “dating” a faculty member in her department. Hazelwood does due diligence to explain why this is presumed okay, which I appreciated, but still.
There are some deeper threads to this relatively light, enjoyable ride, between Olive’s backstory on why she’s so determined to research pancreatic cancer and some of the events that occur near the end of the book.
I love a little bit of real-life balance to the sugary sweet goodness that is a romantic comedy, so I appreciated this aspect of the book, as well. I have seen few folks note they wished there were trigger warnings for the parental death and sexual misconduct mentioned, so I am noting those here so you can make informed decisions before picking up this book.
Finally, I love when the issue that threatens to push the would-be couple apart isn’t some ridiculously contrived misunderstanding that would be resolved by just talking to each other. On that count, this book delivers wholeheartedly, even if I did feel the ending came together a bit quickly. This may also be because it was 11:30 and I was reading really, really fast by then.
In all, I recommend this book to, um… everyone? If I had to hone in on an audience, I’d say rom com fans, science buffs, and folks who’ve been graduate students at any point in time.
But seriously, this book so lived up to the hype, which I honestly worried it wouldn’t since I’ve been seeing it everywhere.
Have you read The Love Hypothesis? I’m not ready for it to be over so please talk to me about it if you have!
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