Summary (from the publisher): 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.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Ali Hazelwood’s The Love Hypothesis has been EVERYWHERE (& as you’ll find out in this review, VERY deservedly so) in the second half of 2021. I’ve had a very busy start to the fall with back-to-school season, so I admittedly have been sleeping on some new anticipated releases and have been just putting them on hold from my county library. And with publishing and printing delays, new books have been taking even longer to come in. The Love Hypothesis had been especially hard to find with the supply chain shortage & Ali Hazelwood even shared on Instagram that the book was way more popular than her publisher could have imagined, which meant they need to print more copies ASAP. That all being said, between having a quiet weekend and my local Barnes & Noble finally getting The Love Hypothesis back in stock, I decided to get my hands-on the most popular & BEST contemporary romance this fall.
I knew I was likely going to enjoy The Love Hypothesis just for its fake dating meets academia synopsis, which I had shared in my Fall 2021 Anticipated Releases post, but I recently discovered before reading that the book is loosely based on Kylo Ren & Rey from Star Wars…which made even more sense considering the male lead, Dr. Adam Carlsen, looks a lot like Adam Driver on the cover & in the book… and is also named Adam. Anyways, The Love Hypothesis follows biology Ph.D. candidate, Olive, who in hopes of convincing her best friend that she’s really over her ex so said best friend will just go for it & date him, kisses the closest guy in sight…whom happens to be young hotshot professor who’s known for d making grad students cry, Dr. Adam Carlsen. Olive is not only shocked by Carlsen going with the kiss, but even more so when the two decide to fake date to help Olive out & convince Stanford that Carlsen has no plans of leaving the university so he can keep his research funding.
I started reading The Love Hypothesis Saturday afternoon & I finished it by midnight that night. This book is the definition of can’t put down!! Nearly every time I thought about taking a break, the chapter would end in a way that made me need to know what happened next ASAP. The Love Hypothesis is for sure my new favorite fake-dating romance! I was instantly hooked into Olive and Adam’s relationship from the very start. Their sarcasm and banter was so, so fun to read, and yes their fake coffee dates made me want even more pumpkin spice coffee. I really kept imagining a STEM/academic versions of Kylo Ren and Rey throughout reading (& no, you don’t have to be a Star Wars fan to read this one but having the fandom background made it so much more fun to read). I loved their meet-cute and while there was some predictableness, I thought the reveals about Adam’s feelings for Olive were so spot on. Adam is for sure one of my new favorite fictional boyfriends.
The book had the perfect balance of fluffiness, serious topics (TWs for cancer, family death, and sexual assault), work/academics, and friendship. I think The Love Hypothesis was the first book I’ve ever read with a grad school/Ph.D background, and I loved being immersed in that world. I have no background in STEM, but I really loved how this book features women in STEM, like Olive & her best friend Anh, and address the need for more female and diverse individuals in that space. I totally admit that I usually skip the headers/quotes used at the top of chapter headers, but I thought Olive’s hypotheses for each chapter were so funny and added to the book’s STEM atmosphere.
Overall, READ THIS BOOK!!! Obviously it’s really not a competition, but The Love Hypothesis just made it really difficult to pick my favorite book of the year in the best way possible – you’ll probably be able to guess, but my FAVORITE book of the year is between this one & another super well loved 2021 contemporary romance release. Honestly, I might reread The Love Hypothesis this week because I just loved it so much and want to relive everything! It’s the type of book that makes you want to read it for the first time again & again and then tackle reading any contemporary romance. I’ve been super busy with work since school started again, but this book made me remember why I love reading so much & why I need to prioritize it more this month! I am so, SO excited to see what Ali Hazelwood has in store, including her next two releases, Loathe to Love You (an anthology of STEM rom-coms) and Love on the Brain.
Have you read The Love Hypothesis? What are your thoughts? What contemporary romances have you been loving lately? Share in the comments!