As 2021 comes to a close, I’m revisiting my 20 favorite romance novels of the year, and one of my absolute favorites is The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood! This debut is mega popular for a reason – it’s intelligent, playful, and filled with slow burn goodness. I loved this mysterious, grump of a hero, and figuring him out was tons of fun. I also loved the vibrant setting, science-filled moments, and build in intimacy. It reminded me of all-time favorites like The Hating Game and The Spanish Love Deception, but this also feels fresh and different from other enemies to lovers romances. Here’s hoping that Hazelwood brings the same kind of love to her next releases – this was fantastic!
Read on for my original review, notes on the audiobook quality, and plenty of quotes to give you a feel for the vibe!
I loved this SO VERY MUCH. It’s one of those books that left me smiling like a fool, with a full heart and a strong desire to start reading it all over again. The evolution of these characters from start to finish is intense, and I absolutely loved how everything came full circle by the end. One of my favorite parts of the story was trying to decipher our hero’s quiet looks, moods, and glances – there is some outstanding subtlety to this love story. And it is definitely a love story. The romance is central throughout, with a light, fresh feel that gets richer and deeper as the story progresses. It tackles difficult subjects like sexual harassment and self-worth, while also remaining exceedingly light and uplifting for much of the book. And by the end? I was content, happy, and oh so satisfied to finally see these two fools get together.
The story follows Olive, a 26-year-old grad student trying to cure cancer. She is still finding her confidence, but she loves what she’s doing. So when Olive’s best friend develops feelings for the guy Olive just started dating, she does the logical thing… kiss a random man to make her friend believe that it’s all okay. Or at least that seemed logical at the time. Turns out, the random stranger that Olive kissed is none other than the most hated professor around, Adam (34). And while Olive has no desire to spend time with Adam, her impulsive act means that entering a fake relationship with the man is actually a good idea. But as the two get to know each other better, Olive discovers that the mercurial, moody professor might just be a sweetheart underneath his broody exterior.
This is one of those books where the love story is SO completely unique. It’s awkward, science-filled love – and I adored every minute of it. Sure, Olive might’ve been a bit too peppy and upbeat for me at the beginning, but that’s all part of her character evolution. I loved the grumpy/sunshine dynamic, and Adam becomes such a swoonworthy cinnamon roll by the end (with a little bit of alpha gruffness). It’s a slow burn romance with one incredibly intimate and dynamic love scene – the intimacy and emotional connection are the shining stars here. Well, it’s all pretty great, actually. This has such a vivid, distinct voice that I am very much looking forward to whatever’s next from Hazelwood.
I switched back and forth between the audio and the ebook throughout – and the audio was excellent. This is told exclusively from Olive’s point of view, so there’s one narrator. She did a great job. The vibe feels young and fresh, with a voice that actually sounds like a 26-year-old. As a slow burn romance, this is perfect for listening at work – there’s nothing steamy until later on, and the story is light and easy much of the time. Your only issue will likely be that work will take a backseat to listening, lol. The runtime is a bit longer than I’d like (11 hours), and I found it difficult to listen to the narrator’s voice at a faster speed. I have no desire for the book to be shorter though, so just know that it may take awhile to get through. Overall, an excellent audiobook to go with an incredible read.
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.
About the Author:
Ali Hazelwood is a multi-published author—alas, of peer-reviewed articles about brain science, in which no one makes out and the ever after is not always happy. Originally from Italy, she lived in Germany and Japan before moving to the U.S. to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience. She recently became a professor, which absolutely terrifies her. When Ali is not at work, she can be found running, crocheting, eating cake pops, or watching sci-fi movies with her two feline overlords (and her slightly-less-feline husband).
More of the Best of 2021!
Top 20 of 2021: The Complete List – here
Best of 2021: Top Picks by Trope can be found here!
Best of 2021: My 10 Favorite Romance Series can be found here!
Best of 2021: My Favorite Covers can be found here!
Every 5-Star Romance Novel I Read in 2021 can be found here!
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