I am so freaking charmed. You all mean to tell me this is a debut novel? Brava, Ali Hazelwood! THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS is a delight. What can I say about this book that hasn’t already been said? It’s like a big cup of hot chocolate with lots of whipped cream and sprinkles (which our heroine would love and our hero would hate!)
From the very first page, I knew the writing and plot just worked. Our heroine, Olive, is a spunky grad student who, in a fit of panic, kisses Adam – the biggest jerk professor in the biology department. From there, an unlikely and deliciously fun fake dating romance starts between our sunshine-y heroine and major grump hero.
Do I know anything about high-level, fast-paced academia? No. But I loved learning about it through Olive’s eyes. I was fascinated by the challenges women in STEM face. Hazelwood masterfully weaves professional challenges, personal angst (so much angst), and toe-curling romance in an obviously personal setting.
The longing/pining and banter were the highlights of this book for me. Adam was so incredibly dreamy. Watching Olive slowly, oh so slowly fall for Adam, and his gruff kindness over sugary coffee and inside jokes was just fabulous all the way around. Waiting for the slow burn in this book to pay off was EXCRUCIATING at times; it was worth it. One of the best love scenes I have read in a long time. I mean… sigh I am still thinking about it.
I love how self-aware Olive is about her trope-tastic life. Who doesn’t love a romance-reading heroine? Living in her head was both wonderful… and occasionally a bit of a chore. While it is addressed in the book, Olive lies. A lot. To herself, to her friends, and to Adam. And while it does add to the overall angst and make the book more than 150 pages long, there were parts where I just wanted to shake her. I understand why Hazelwood needed Olive to be so unaware – to enable the reader to be aware of Adam’s real feelings – but it occasionally made her seem dim. And annoying.
I also thought the ending was extremely anti-climactic. I needed at least one more chapter to believe the HEA and get a little more insight into Adam’s POV. While these things kept me from giving it five stars, I still enjoyed the book a whole lot.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The angst made my heart hurt, the issues addressed added the emotional heft I wanted, and the romance made my heart warm. THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS is a hard-to-put-down warm hug of a romance novel; I can’t wait to see what Hazelwood writes next! Consider me a fan!
**I received a free copy of this book in order to provide an honest review**