Summary (from the publisher): Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.
Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.
Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
In my quest to read all the contemporary romance, I had to pick up Christina Lauren’s fan favorite, Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating. I started reading Christina Lauren last year and started with their newer titles, so I’ve been doing some backtracking to their older ones. I’ve read 6 books of theirs so far! Some of my book blogging friends haven’t been super in love with Christina Lauren’s books published after Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating and claim that this book is the author duo’s best. It’s so much pressure for me to have to choose my favorite, but I’ll admit that Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating is definitely a new favorite Christina Lauren read of mine!
Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating is one of the best friends-turned-lovers romances I’ve ever read. Josh was Hazel’s TA and biggest crush in college, and she reconnects with him seven years later at a barbecue. Hazel is insistent on becoming Josh’s best friend and getting him back into the dating pool after a bad break-up. The two set each other up on a series on double dates, but have more fun with each other than with the people they set each other up with.
This book honestly feels like it could be so easily turned into a movie without any changes. You immediately fall in love with Hazel and Josh from the start. Hazel just might be one of the most perfect romance leads I’ve ever read. She’s funny and quirky, and honestly makes for the perfect third grade teacher. I haven’t read too many books with a teacher as a protagonist and I loved it! Hazel’s best friend (who also happens to be Josh’s sister and brother-in-law). There are a lot of books with protagonists who think they’re less than perfect, but Hazel completely owns and carries herself out with confidence. My only ‘complaint’ is that as much as she is confident, she often says that she ‘undateable.’
The book alternated between Hazel and Josh’s perspectives, with I think a touch more told from Hazel. The first chapter is Hazel’s recap of her college years, including her crush and misfortune with Josh, who was her TA. I know there has to be some sort of problem or conflict keeping the two from getting together that is typical in the contemporary romance genre, but I wish Josh and Hazel would’ve admitted that they should date earlier. They have so much chemistry throughout and I think it might’ve been more fun to see them move from friends to lovers instead of doing so while going on dates that just aren’t going to end well. There’s some steam and romance scenes in the second half. I loved seeing them grow into a couple toward the end of the books due to a certain circumstance, which I think could be seen as predictable, but I personally didn’t see coming and sort’ve loved!
Nevertheless, I did enjoy the fluff and whimsy between their friend hangouts and dates. Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating is the most rom-comiest out of all Christina Lauren’s books. There’s something to make you laugh almost every chapter. Additionally, Josh and Hazel’s families primarily serve as the secondary characters, and I love how they attributed to the character’s personalities. Josh and Emily are Korean and really cherish their family and culture, while Hazel and her mom have a really fantastic and supportive relationship. Across so many of Christina Lauren’s books, I’ve really loved the incorporation of family.
Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating makes me want to continue picking up more of Christina Lauren’s books. I probably won’t stop talking about it for the rest of the year, but I’m so exciting for their upcoming holiday-inspired read, In a Holidaze. I plan on ranking the Christina Lauren books that I’ve read, but think I need to read at least two more of their backlist releases before I do so, which includes: Beautiful Bastard, My Favorite Half-Night Stand, and Dating You/Hating You.
Have you read Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating? What’s your favorite Christina Lauren book? Share in the comments!