Hypothetically pretty good

By Dominique Tassell

The internet can’t stop raving about The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood, and while the novel doesn’t knock your socks off it is an easy and enjoyable read.

The book has been hyped up on TikTok for months now, with my copy of the book proudly stating this on the cover.

The novel follows Olive Smith, a third-year PhD candidate who hasn’t had any luck in the dating department for years. But when her best friend falls for a guy she briefly dated and refuses to act on it because of girl code, Olive takes drastic action to convince her she’s moved on. Basically, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

Awkwardly, this 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.

Things get complicated when their careers come into play, but Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support. And his unwavering good looks.

If you’re a fan of the fake dating trope, this is the book for you. It goes through all the motions you’re looking for and is also amusingly self-aware of this fact.

I personally could see some things from a mile away, but I really didn’t mind at all. In fact, that kind of made it all the more enjoyable.

It’s a decent book, but it wasn’t perfect.

The writing, both narrative and dialogue, sometimes felt a bit too formal. Multiple times I found myself thinking “no one speaks like that”.

A pet peeve of mine is writers refusing to use contractions in their dialogue; the use of say, cannot instead of can’t, is jarring and brings me out of the story.

There is also the issue of the…intimate scene. Honestly, as someone who just binge-read 12 Bridgerton books, the scene in The Love Hypothesis is really not needed.

It’s awkward and not in a charming way and I just wanted it to be over. So basically no woman’s ideal version of that scenario.

Then there’s the issue of pretty much everyone’s personalities. Sometimes they all felt a little bit like caricatures of real people. Olive felt too awkward, and some aspects of her characterisation like her possible demisexuality were weirdly done. Adam was at times confusingly bland, like he lacked a scene explaining why he was the way he was. And then the side characters at times felt campy but in a childish way.

All that aside, it’s the kind of easy read I’ll turn to again. It’s definitely a book I can see myself re-reading, even if I do skip over that one scene.

While it has flaws, as most books do, I say we treat it for what it is. It’s not Jane Austen but not every book can be. It’s a decent romance novel that the reviews on Good Reads prove the majority of people like.

If you like cheesy romance novels, add this to the list.