Book Review / Books

Book Review: The Love Hypothesis

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.


Gang, I am pleased to say that the rom-com novel is alive and thriving.

Ali Hazelwood’s The Love Hypothesis is a breath of fresh air in a stale world of meet-cutes and insta-love stories and has injected a much needed dose of life into what I feared may be a slowly dying genre. It may be one the best romances that I’ve read in years.

I was aware of the hype surrounding it, but I’m always hesistant when a romance novel receives a barrage of five stars on GoodReads. Surely, it can’t be that good, can it? How wrong I was!

The Love Hypothesis had me hooked from the get-go. I’ll admit the reasons for Olive and Adam entering their fake relationship were a bit shaky, but as the novel went on, it felt really natural. In short, I fell in love.

Maybe I’m biased because I am lowkey in love with Adam Driver – especially as Kylo Ren – and upon learning that The Love Hypothesis started out as AO3 Reylo fanfiction (that’s Rey x Kylo Ren, for all you non-Star Wars fans!), I was sufficiently intrigued. While I couldn’t really care less about Rey and instead viewed Olive as her own character, there’s no dancing around the fact that Dr Adam in the novel is 100% Kylo Ren – just if he decided to work in STEM rather than be seduced by the dark side – and, yes, my crush on Adam Driver did probably impact my enjoyment of the novel greatly. So be it.

I’m glad that Hazelwood kept in references to inside Star Wars jokes about Ren as a nod to novel’s origins. As Matt the Rader Technican so aptly put it, Kylo Ren is shredded. And so is Hazelwood’s Adam.

Star Wars aside, The Love Hypothesis is ridiculously adorable. It’s smart, extremely funny, packed full of sass, and SO swoon worthy! I particularly loved Hazelwood’s focus on being a woman working in STEM, the barriers that Olive and Anh face as well as dealing with the topics such as sexual harrassment and workplace/college bullying.

To be honest, my cold heart never stood a chance against The Love Hypothesis. Despite working in tech, I’m an Arts & Humanities gal at heart and I really related to Olive’s struggles and insecurities within the academic setting. University is a lot and, while I’m certainly not gunning for a PhD, I remember the self-doubt all too well. Having also lost a parent to cancer like Olive, Hazelwood was tugging on my heartstrings. I couldn’t help but weep like a baby at times.

While The Love Hypothesis had the clichés of a typical romance born out of fanfiction (we love the super high stakes and excess drama!), it didn’t bother me at all. Olive and Adam were stupidly cute and endearing. I struggle to think of a rom-com pairing that I adore as much as these two. There’s something so believable and charming about the way that Hazelwood writes them. Ugh, just sheer brilliance!

The only part of the novel that I did find questionable was the sex, or rather the hotly-debated boob snafu, to be more specific. For a book that revolves around science, there’s some slightly dubious physical logistics here r.e. the line about Adam fitting Olive’s entire breast in his mouth. Look, Adam Driver is a very large man and I don’t want to doubt him, but that sentence really just took me out of it for a bit.

Boobgate aside, I cannot emphasise enough how much I LOVED this book. Look at me, reading a romance and enjoying it. It’s writers like Ali Hazelwood that give me faith.




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