Published by Berkley Books on 14th September 2021
Buy on Amazon
When a fake relationship between scientists meets the irresistible force of attraction, it throws one woman's carefully calculated theories on love into chaos.
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.
‘The Love Hypothesis’ is a really delightful one. And I’d thought that this would be a 5-star read throughout from the start when the fake-dating trope takes off under somewhat unusual circumstances. Done in the sole context of academia (surly, hot professor and somewhat timid and meek grad student), it’s also an irresistible one…to me at least.
There was a tad bit of implausibility that ran throughout the whole story—suspend the disbelief here in this rom-com—but once it takes off, the slow burn between Olive and Adam was impossible to ignore. I loved Olive’s character from the start: her words, actions and thoughts were gently funny and endearing and while I definitely found myself at sea with the academic processes or the science that lay behind the stuff mentioned in the book, Ali Hazelwood brings her entire cast in with aplomb and personalities that did seem larger than life.
But while Olive was 3-dimensionally fleshed out, the other half of the pairing, Adam Carlsen, remained a half-formed, unreadable protagonist in my mind, with my only recollection of him seen through the veil of Olive’s eyes as disapproving, distant, sharp and lacking in words…but also stoic to the point where you needed to shape him through what other characters say.
While it was all well and good as a narrative device here, it did however, come to a point where it stopped being enough because Adam needed to step through that veil on his own, which he didn’t. Usually, in books where single POVs are maintained throughout, there is typically a moment when the other protagonist says something, or makes a confession or a grand gesture that tips the bucket of emotions that you have been inferred of or ‘put’ onto the characters themselves the whole time, finally resolving what you’d triumphantly thought you’ve known all along. There wasn’t such a lightbulb moment with Adam, sadly. Where I finally expected grandiose speeches, he simply ran out of words and steam and the whole picture building up to a climax that was supposed to be glorious (in my head) turned out flat instead.
In all, the geeky angle appealed immediately but I knew however, it could have sent me further into the stratosphere with a few tweaks with POVs and character development, more so as we came to the final quarter of the story. Instead, my clay feet stayed rooted to the ground, while Adam/Olive seemed to be lacking a lot more serious, clear-up-the-air-type conversations that the reader needed to be privy to.