Hey, everyone! Today’s review is for Ali Hazelwood’s debut romantic-comedy, The Love Hypothesis.
About the Book
As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.
That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding…six-pack abs.
Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope (via Goodreads).
There are always those books that just get so much buzz, I have no choice but to let my curiosity get the best of me. Enter The Love Hypothesis. The publisher did their thing in making sure that this book was absolutely inescapable (seriously–it was released early through Book of the Month, and I couldn’t scroll on Bookstagram without seeing this cover). So, naturally, I caved and decided to see what the hype was all about.
Overall, I thought The Love Hypothesis was an okay read. The story itself was pretty predictable which is expected for a rom-com, but some of the main plot points were a bit too contrived, even for me. I really enjoyed the concept, but I read a lot of romance, so I was a bit let down by the overall execution. I don’t always expect my romance reads to do something new, but I do expect them to do the tropes well and to bring some type of emotion out of me, but that didn’t happen here.
I think I might’ve liked this book way more if it was written in dual POV, especially since it’s fake dating. I didn’t expect such a slow burn romance, so since we were only subjected to our heroine Olive’s thoughts, I was left feeling like there was a lot missing from the story. There’s so much about the hero, Adam, that we don’t know, and instead of finding that sense of mystery alluring, I was just left confused as to why Olive liked him so much. And why he liked her so much. I might’ve been rooting for their romance a lot more if I felt like I really knew his character. We’re told so much about his reputation, and how he’s apparently very different with Olive, but since we didn’t get to read about his pining on-page, I didn’t really buy their romance.
I’m aware that this book originally began as a fan-fiction and was re-worked for publishing’s sake, so maybe that alluring appeal of the hero could have just been lost on me as a new reader who was already not very invested in the story.
I also thought that the chapters were structured in an odd way that ended up hindering my reading experience. The chapters either ended very abruptly, or had their main points spoiled in the tongue-in-cheek hypothesis definition at the beginning. I listened to this book via audio, so some of these writing issues were especially noticeable to me.
Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely some cute moments in the book, but I just wasn’t as invested as I wanted to be. Even their reason for fake dating didn’t do anything for me– it felt extremely far-fetched and even a little childish.
However, my disclaimer to you is that I believe I just get in weird moods in expecting too much when reading rom-coms since their premises are supposed to be a little over the top and fun. So this book did its job in those departments–even some of those contrived plot points I mentioned earlier were able to make me laugh once they were all said and done. The audiobook also gets a few more points for being narrated by my favorite narrator, Callie Dalton.
My neutral feelings may be from me expecting too much when first going into the book, so there’s no one to blame but my own high expectations. As is the case for most of the “hyped” books that I read. I know this review may seem very negative, but I did not hate this book by any means. I’m just disappointed that I didn’t love it more.
Overall, I guess I see the appeal, but The Love Hypothesis didn’t entirely hit the mark for me.
Star scale: ⭐️⭐️ (2 stars)
Grade scale: C+