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BOOK REVIEW: The Love Hypothesis

The Love HypothesisThe Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
Publication Date: September 14, 2021 (TUESDAY!!!)

TW: Cancer, death of a parent (off page), misogyny, sexism, emotionally abusive mentor (off page, but described), sexual harassment (workplace setting)

Plot: Olive, a third year PHD student, is trying to convince her best friend that she is over a guy (so her friend doesn’t feel guilty about dating him) and in a pinch ends up kissing the first guy she sees. Who happens to be Dr. Adam Carlsen, a professor who has a reputation for being harsh and rude. When a rumor that the two of them are dating runs through the Biology Department, they decide to keep up the ruse and fake date for their mutual benefits.

Look I have been hyped about this since it was announced. I followed the author on Twitter before it was announced since she wrote fanfiction. So, when I realized that she was getting one of her fics published…I was so excited for her (and for me because her fics are very good) and then the cover looks just like Rey and Kylo Ren (from Star Wars) and it’s illustrated by an artist who has done a lot of Reylo art…I’ll let you put together the pieces.

Also, I made an Instagram reel for this book and spent like 2 hours looking at stock images of people kissing and lab techs so if you would like to give it some love…I would appreciate it. You can find it here.


  • Everything lol
  • I literally have already reread it.
  • I am trash for fake dating and I loved how it played out here. You got the meddling friend, the friend that knows it’s fake, the rando people who witness the whole thing, & more.
  • I’ve read a ton of fanfic of this pairing and there are common themes/side pairing in them, and it was fun seeing what the author chose to include in this. I also sort of knew how this was going to end because of a common trope in many of these fics, but as a result, it almost felt like a comfort read even though I had not read it before.
    • A big part of the reason I love fanfic is that as a reader, you’re invested in the characters before you even read the fic. So going into this, I almost felt that feeling with Olive and Adam. I loved them very quickly even though they were still being introduced to me. 
  • The banter between Olive and Adam is amazing. We have grumpy/sunshine and “I hate everyone but you” tropes going on which are a lot of fun.
    • This whole book is just full of tropes and I am not mad about it.
  • Olive is very self-aware of the fact that “fake dating” is a rom com trope and it was refreshing.
    • Also, when they go away together she is like “THERE IS ONLY GOING TO BE ONE BED” and Adam is like, “No…I booked the room…there are two” and Olive responds with “THERE IS ALWAYS ONE BED” and Adam is just ???? Literally amazing. 
  • I love the representation of a woman in STEM and the academia world on page. The author has a PHD and is now a professor, so I am assuming it is pretty legit.
  • There is a subtle Pride and Prejudice (2005) hand touch moment which killed me. At least I am interpreting the hand touch as inspired by the 2005 film based on how often the author posts memes from the film. 
  • Adam is literally so funny. I highlighted so many of his lines bc I was dying!!
  • They both are so smart and are both super proud of each other which is cute. There is also some science talk in here that I was like…okay yay science! 
    • Olive has a lot of imposter syndrome and seeing her work through it was pretty cool.
    • I loved when her and Adam talked about their work and when he worked with her to make her slides better. 
  • I liked the discussions on academia. From funding to professors retiring to lackluster lab equipment to grad students having no money.
    • There is an excellent dry comment by Adam when he offers to pay for her food that had me LOLing. 
  • This novel is tightly plotted! It flies by and stuff happens quickly.
    • I never felt like the plot slowed and the ending worked for me. Often endings of romances drag for me and I’m just waiting for stuff to get patched up, but I enjoyed seeing this ending play out. 
  • This is a slowburn, but doesn’t really feel like it since things go quickly.
    • But, FYI the sex scene is at like 70 ish percent.
  • How Olive’s friend calls her Kalamata
    • I just generally loved Olive’s friendships. 
  • The parallel moments between Adam and Olive. She will think something and then he says the same thing out loud.
    • But also, the moments where they are opposites. Like his favorite cover is black and hers is white.
  • There is a moment that is so freaking sweet that has to do with Olive’s love of chocolate and Adam’s dislike for it that had me like the crying emoji. 
  • The picnic scene and the sunscreen moment was amazing. 
    • Like this whole scene from when they are driving to the event to the end was perfection.  


(note these were my dislikes the first time I read this, by now I don’t really care lol)

  • I wasn’t the biggest fan of the prologue and how they played out, I did not think it was needed and it was weird?
    • Although I did like the conversation they had so maybe I did not hate it??? It just felt a bit farfetched. 
  • There is a lot of lying which is not my favorite thing in romance, the characters do apologize and feel bad about it so it did not detract from my enjoyment, but at times I was just like OLIVE STOP LYING.
  • There was a conversation that walks around asexuality that I did not think was handled super well. It sort of implies that Olive thinks something is wrong with her because she doesn’t feel sexual attraction often. In the end it seems that she is demisexual, but that word is not used. I wish they had a bit more of a nuanced conversation on this topic. However, I am not ace, so I don’t want to imply that I’m right about this, it just felt a bit off to me. I think the author has said on her Insta that Olive is demisexual, but it is not expressed on page. 



Overall, this is one of my favorite reads of the year and probably one of my all time favorite romances! I highly recommend for fans of contemporary romance. 5/5 stars

*thanks to the publisher & NetGalley for the eARC; all thoughts are my own*


xoxo, tree 

24 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: The Love Hypothesis”

  1. I agree with you about the prologue. The way it felt to me was that the prologue is supposed to serve as a “they were always meant to be” sort of thing: it sets up the chemistry between them and gives Adam a reason to be kinder to her, as well as provides Olive with a “oh! my feelings didn’t come out of nowhere!” moment. The problem with the prologue is that there isn’t a need for that surprise moment for Olive and there didn’t need to be an explanation for Adam being kind/playing along with her plan. Their chemistry as characters more than explains both of these things because it’s clear from the start the two have a connection, and their relationship genuinely develops on the page, so their later feelings make sense. The author did too good a job of showing their relationship grow to need the prologue if that makes sense?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love this perspective and I totally agree! It was cute and fun, but not really needed for the story? I think it would have worked just as well without the prologue even though it does at a bit of the whole “they are destined to be together”. Ali is just too good at writing banter/cute moments/chemistry for it to be needed.

      thanks for sharing such a thoughtful comment!
      xoxo, tree

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am very late with this comment, but I thought you might appreciate the perspective of an asexual individual.
    I do agree that the scene could’ve been a bit more explicit in what it was trying to convey. However, not everybody chooses to use the microlabels – or any labels at all – and that is completely fine. Frankly, I was too excited to see a demisexual character represented in such a popular book to pay it much attention.
    As for Hazel feeling like there was something wrong with her, it’s a feeling most of us will recognise as something we have experienced at one point or another. Therefore, I did not mind it too much. It would’ve been nice if Hazel had been able to explain her level of sexual attraction as something other than “weird” but at the same time I think that I speak for a lot of aces when I see that it also made me feel seen. Explaining it to others will always be difficult.
    Amazing review and you opened up some great discussion points!

    PS: I typed this on my phone so I apologise in advance for the amount of typos I most likely made.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective & thoughts in such a comprehensive and kind way!

      I’ve actually thought about rewriting that part of my review a few times because after reading more reviews, I would no longer frame it as a “negative” part of the book. I am really glad that a book this popular explores demisexuality and that Ali Hazelwood talks about it in interviews etc. I think initially what led me to this perspective was I felt the tone towards Olive’s sexuality was a bit negative & I wanted another character to validate it more, but that’s not always “real life”.

      If you’re okay with it, I’ll edit my review to encourage others to look at your comment.

      Thanks again for sharing!
      xoxo, tree


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