if you’re looking for a cozy read with a simple plot, that’ll cause you several belly laughs, then this is the book for you!!
Every once in a while I like to challenge myself to read outside of my usual genre. Partly because reading more broadly is never a bad thing and because I’m an indomitably curious creature.
So I caved to social pressure (booktok – which I’m not even a part of so, go figure) and thought I’d try contemporary rom-com The Love Hypothesis. Now…Romcoms are something I can only rarely enjoy during a very specific amount of time in a month and only if they’re more hilarity than romance-based and they come in movie form. Preferably with Ryan Reynolds because, well, Ryan Reynolds (The Proposal is such a classic). I’m not trashing the genre though, far from it, but I just personally have a ton of pet peeves when it comes to most of its tropes.
But as I said, this was a challenge to myself and one I actually really enjoyed!!
For one, I thought this book was freaking hilarious dear reader! In fact, I found myself saying that it had no business being as funny as it was. But here I am happy to divest myself of my usual cold-hearted and jaded guise to say how much I enjoyed reading it.
First of all its protagonist, Olive is my age which has been pretty rare for my usual reading. And secondly, I related to her a bunch cause I too, am in the throes of academia, and even though I’m not going for a Ph.D. like she is, I could still very much see my own struggles and tired/broke student humor in her. Olive’s inner monologue is an ongoing source of hilarity and her hyperbolic internal reactions to situations that make us all die of second-hand embarrassment were truly a joy to experience.
It really made for a lighthearted read that helped me unwind that day. Yes, I said day cause I read this in one afternoon & evening! You could say I was just charmed into reading it all in one go since the narrative style and writing lent themselves well to a speedy and low-effort read.
So how did I get over all of my pet peeves you might wonder. Well, Hazelwood didn’t write any of them in! This is a fake dating trope, which when done well like in here, can be really funny and pleasant. But it can also be iffy, so I appreciated that the main cause of the fake dating scenario was for the benefit of Olive’s friend’s happiness (I don’t want to elaborate to avoid spoiling too much) rather than just to prove she isn’t lonely and *needs* to have a boyfriend in order for her friends to get off her case and for her to be happy; which is a tired clichè IMO and, a misleading bit of the blurb, be warned.
Secondly, the narrative of consent throughout is superbly done! Not just in a sexual context either. You know I love pointing it out when it’s there and I am happy to say this novel passed with flying colors! Hazelwood touched on it in more than one regard, as well as bringing forth real concerns in the academic world (be it impropriety, power dynamics, stolen credit, funding issues, bullying, etc.) in a manner that did not romanticize certain behaviors and challenged tendencies/attitudes that we’re better of without.
And finally, my two biggest pet peeves are miscommunications and big angry or loud fights to round out the penultimate act of the story. It’s the known tension “needed” to cause the protags to separate for a time etc., and it annoys the heck out of me because it is often very poorly handled and I have a hard time accepting the reconciliation afterwards if things aren’t addressed enough, purely for the sake of “well they’re meant to be together, all is forgiven”.
Tensions can be created in many different ways and still maintain a healthy relationship between the characters and, which allows for things to be resolved in a credible and wholesome manner. Which is what Hazelwood did here thus managing to create a relationship that felt pure, wholesome, and genuine, setting a healthy example to follow.
To wrap up, this is an adult romance novel and as such there are explicit sex scenes and some silly clichés I was expecting, (e.g. he is huge in all the ways and especially the ones that matter wink wink – something the author never lets us forget, which I could have done without, I’m not gonna lie. Yes, I get it he’s really tall and broad and dreamy, I know), but I don’t really begrudge them because they are staples of the genre and if it really bothered me I shouldn’t have been reviewing it. Furthermore, silliness aside, I did find it all tastefully written and it fit in very well with the rest of the narrative, the protagonist’s voice, and certain plot points relating to Olive’s demisexuality – which hey! Nice bit of rep I thought!
So, if you’re looking for a cozy read with a simple plot, that’ll cause you several belly laughs, a good dose of feels, and that ultimately gives you the fuzzies wrapped in a bow of satisfaction, then this is the book for you!!
I’m certainly glad I challenged myself to read it!
Until next time,
Eleni A. E.