Review: The Love Hypothesis

Unbeknownst to me, in the span of six months I went from a hardcore fantasy/sci-fi girl to a hardcore fantasy/sci-fi/romance girl. I’m not sure when that happened but I have been reading so many contemporary romances recently and this one was a favorite!

This is a spoiler free review, all thoughts and feelings are my own.


The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
Published: September 14, 2021
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Romance
Pages: 384
Rating: starstarstarstarstar

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.

If you’re like me, and you’re a huge nerd, then you are going to love this book. Not only is it apparently a Reylo fanfiction (kinda?), but it’s also two nerds falling in love. And as a huge nerd, who has also fallen in love, this book was so freaking cute to read!

While I’m not a PhD student, or even in grad school, I love learning and if I could, I would be in school forever. Olive only cares about getting into a neighboring program in order to continue her research and making sure her friend finally goes out with this guy she likes! When her friend sees her in the hall with a guy, Olive does the stupid thing and kisses him. Not realizing the person she’s just kissed was legendary professor, Dr. Adam Carlsen. And to keep up the rouse to her friend, and get Adam his locked funds, Olive and Adam agree to fake date. What could go wrong?

Okay, fake dating is such a good trope. It never goes wrong! It’s always the perfect balance between the romance and other plot points, it makes the book feel so much more realistic. No one wants an instant love connection or a quick romance. I want characters forced into situations that make them realize that they may have feelings for the other person.

And this book does that well.

Olive is such a fun character. I love how naive she is in regards to Adam’s obvious feelings towards her, thinking it’s just an act he’s putting on and not real, true interest. Their interactions are just so cute and sweet and it makes me want to snuggle my fiance. And then there’s the spice.

It’s one scene, but it was like a whole chapter! I was sweating under my clothes a little bit and if you’re someone who doesn’t like sex scenes in books, this might make you uncomfortable. It does go into explicit detail about what is going on from start to finish – so no fade to black here.

Included in the spice is Olive’s discussion of her sexuality, which seems to be demisexual, or someone who only feels sexual attraction after creating a bond with a person. Like Adam. I haven’t read a lot of ace romance books, so it was nice to have a demisexual main character and I hope to add more ace books to my shelf!

Overall, this book is so cute! I love the real look into a PhD program and academia in general. I love Olive’s friends and their side love stories too. Everything about this book is just so great, it was hard not to give it five stars! If you haven’t heard of this book, I definitely recommend it!


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