The Love Hypothesis: A Book Review

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.

Well hello, beautiful people! It’s time for another book review! I finished The Love Hypothesis last night and had to get my thoughts down right away. This story is all about Olive, who impulsively kisses Dr. Adam Carlsen in a sporadic, and misguided, attempt to convince her friend she is over her ex. Of course, the kiss gets around campus, and the unlikely pair agree to fake date in order to achieve both of their goals.

Let’s just get past the elephant in the room, yes, Ali Hazelwood got her start writing fanfiction. Yes, I absolutely love this for her. More importantly, she wrote from her perspective as a woman in STEM. This experience shows in the love and care she put into the science in her story.

Olive is a grad student working her way up to her Ph.D., and she is grinding hard to get what she is striving for. She also happens to be a woman in a male-dominated field. I love how this was not only mentioned but served as a plot point for her. And you can tell her love for science runs deep. It’s not an “I have to do this to become rich and famous” thing, she’s doing what she’s doing because no one has tried it her way yet. I love that!

Adam is just as devoted to science as Olive is, but he needs funding, and part of his has been frozen because he’s a flight risk, hence his arrangement with Olive. He’s antagonistic to his Ph.D. candidates. But for good reason, of course. He’s also got a softer side. And it’s fun to watch that play out.

The side characters, one of which, Anh, is the catalyst for the whole kissing debacle, are not just plot points. They actually have form and depth. I really like Malcolm.

One of the things I really enjoyed in this book was the LBGTQIA+ rep in this book. We have a demisexual character and a bi-sexual character, two very underrepresented groups in the book world. Hopefully, this kind of book will lead to more!

The crux of this book is in how Adam and Olive interact with each other. Their relationship starts out as two people who will be, if nothing else, good friends. It plays very much in that way, at least on Olive’s part. And if this wasn’t very much a romance book, I would have been happy to read about these two friends, that’s how much I enjoyed their dynamic. I guess what I am trying to say is that when the inevitable feelings do happen, it’s built on a firm foundation and I love that for them.

After all is said and done, I really liked this book. I gave it four out of five stars and have already pre-ordered Ali Hazelwood’s next full-length book.

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