Name: The Love Hypothesis
Author: Ali Hazelwood
Publication date: September 14th, 2021
Length: 352 pages (paperback)
Tropes: Grumpy/sunshine, Fake dating, only one bed (sort of)
POV: Female main character, third person, past tense
Steam level: ✦✦✦✦✧
Final rating: ★★★★★
Warning! Gushy review incoming! Yesterday I finished The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood, everyone’s latest favorite read. It came out in September of this year and I feel like I was the last of my Goodreads friends to read it. But that’s a good sign right? Especially because most people loved it! Except I usually don’t love the books that everyone else loves.. Well, this time I was proven wrong.
In this book we follow Olive, a third year P.h.D candidate (women in STEM, we love to see it!) Olive is on the ace spectrum (which was lovely to read about) and although it is never said with that many words in the book, I’d consider her demisexual: she only feels sexual feelings towards people she also has an emotional connection with. And that doesn’t happen often to olive. But then she panics and ‘accidentally’ kisses a young assistant professor that’s also a well-known ass. And then, because of reasons, they have to (gasp) fake date each other!
Let me start with the elephant in the room: I was a bit iffy to read about a student/professor relationship but it didn’t end up bothering me in this book. Of course, Olive is a grad student, so she’s a whole ass 26 years old. But also, the male main character isn’t in her department and they don’t work together. The book even makes it a point to mention they got permission from the department to date each other , as long as Adam is not involved with Olive’s research and thesis, which he wasn’t in the first place so that’s easy enough. All in all, I think the relationship in an academic setting was tastefully done, which I’m happy with, because it was a really fun setting to read about!
Something that really stood out to me was how funny this book was. I liked that it didn’t take itself or its tropes too seriously. I specifically remember two times where our main character thinks: this is just like in the romcoms! She is aware of the fake dating trope as well as the ‘there is only one bed’ trope, although the latter is proved wrong here! That made the whole book seem really fun and made it easier to suspend some of my disbelief regarding those things. There is also the grumpy/sunshine trope, which is one of my personal favorites, especially in combination with the fake dating trope.
When it comes to steam, I’d definitely say that it takes a while to get there, but when we do get there the pay-off is worth it. I have seen this referred to as a slow burn and I understand why, but at the same time a slow burn is often referred to as a story where the action doesn’t start to get going until 60% to 70% into the book, and technically these character kiss within like.. the first 10 pages. So I’m a bit iffy on that one. There is still a lot of yearning, pining and deep staring though, and that is always good.
You should also know that the steam is pretty explicit and not fade-to-black, but it also is pretty vanilla and contained to one specific section of the book. So if you’re not into that sort of thing, it’s easy to skip. I loved it though, and thought it was well written. Olive is pretty inexperienced in the sexual department and the author was not scared to show that. I much prefer to read about sex that seems at least somewhat realistic, it can still be hot!
This book was really fun, and it’s one of the better romances I read this year. I loved the setting, and I wish there were more romances about women in STEM! If you’re into romances at all, I highly recommend this one. I don’t give books five stars all that often, so I’m always happy to add another one to the list.