“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. And 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.” – the summary on the back cover of my copy.
I read this book because my bff gave it to me for my birthday. She didn’t tell me until I was halfway through that it is adapted Star Wars alternate-universe fanfiction (about Rey and Kylo Ren in case you were wondering). It is, I think, literally the only romance novel I’ve ever read, so my recommendation is not as an expert in the genre. It’s a very quick read, a delightful dose of escapism that only took a couple of evenings to get through. The back cover tells me that the trope it uses–”grumpy meets sunshine”–is a common one, so if you’re into that, that could be a reason to pick it up. I found it to be a fun break from my usual genres.
First of all it’s very funny to me that this lighthearted romance novel has a three-paragraph blurb summary when most books are content with just one. The Love Hypothesis is a little bit extra in that way; it’s totally unapologetic about being what it is, which is a tropey, fun, steamy romance novel. The sex parts in it are tastefully done, and it’s nice that readers get the payoff of about a chapter and a half straight of such parts after a couple hundred pages of building tension.
I was often frustrated with Olive’s denseness, which manifested in her consistent refusal to believe that Adam would like her; her inability to put together basic and flagrant clues about his liking her; and her inability to trust that Adam would believe her about Tom being a creep even though Olive knew that Adam had been abused in grad school and felt like he couldn’t tell anyone because no one would believe him. As I texted about Olive to the friend who gave me the book, “come on girl use that brilliant science noggin to make better choices.” While her denseness was a bit maddening, it was consistent with her character. She had very little relationship experience, and the author frequently brought up Olive’s spiraling anxiety and her tendency to assume the worst-case-scenario about what could go wrong in any situation. The primary dramatic irony situation that Olive creates is resolved relatively quickly, which I was thankful for as a dramatic-irony-hater. Overall it’s a cute book with good payoff for the tension it creates; it accomplishes what it sets out to do.