Sure, Levi is attractive in a tall, dark, and piercing-eyes kind of way. And sure, he caught her in his powerfully corded arms like a romance novel hero when she accidentally damseled in distress on her first day in the lab. But Levi made his feelings toward Bee very clear in grad school–archenemies work best employed in their own galaxies far, far away.
Now, her equipment is missing, the staff is ignoring her, and Bee finds her floundering career in somewhat of a pickle. Perhaps it’s her occipital cortex playing tricks on her, but Bee could swear she can see Levi softening into an ally, backing her plays, seconding her ideas…devouring her with those eyes. And the possibilities have all her neurons firing. But when it comes time to actually make a move and put her heart on the line, there’s only one question that matters: What will Bee Königswasser do?
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Ali Hazelwood’s The Love Hypothesis was one of my top two books of 2021, right alongside Emily Henry’s People We Meet on Vacation, and like nearly every contemporary romance reader, I’ve been anticipating her second full length book ever since finishing her debut!
Love on the Brain follows Marie Curie superfan, popular women in STEM Twitter account runner, & neuroscientist, Bee, who takes her research assistant and heads off to NASA to work on a neuroengineering project. While Bee is ecstatic about this project, she is not looking forward to working with her enemy from grad school, Levi, who is the head engineer on the project. Bee could never figure out why Levi was so standoffish towards her, even once refusing to work on a research project with their advisor together, and still seems to feel that Levi is trying to sabotage her work at NASA.
Love on the Brain reminded me why I love Ali Hazelwood’s writing style so much. I love the humor and sarcasm from all of the characters, and especially the side characters, like The Love Hypothesis. Bee is a very unique character based on her personality and interests whom I think will become very memorable to readers. I was very mixed on her novella series this year, so this book was a reassurance in my enjoyment for her writing. I 100% admit that I didn’t always understand the science part of Levi and Bee’s project, but it had some twists that I did not see coming.
Love on the Brain tackles a ton of themes and plot developments – while I appreciated the balance, I do think there should have been some more depth when it came to Bee’s past relationships with her ex, best friend, and her family (something that Levi does try to her to open more about). One of the biggest being how women are treated in STEM. Bee has experienced a ton of gender discrimination in school and in her work before NASA, as well as in her past broken engagement The book also addresses privilege and the costs of getting into higher education programs, as Bee’s assistant, Rocío, struggles to get into a Ph.D. program. In addition, I thought that the Marie Curie Twitter storyline was also fun and added more to Bee and Levi’s relationship.
My biggest critique of Love on the Brain is that I didn’t really understand why Levi and Bee were so weird, to put it simply, about their feelings for another. I know that the enemies-to-lovers trope almost always needs some build-up, but I wish we learned about why Levi was so standoffish to Bee when they went to school together earlier, similar to how we learn whether or not Levi is trying to sabotage Bee’s role in the project. I liked learning the reasons behind Levi’s feelings, but I think there could have been more exploration in both his and Bee’s losses and how that affects their outlook on love and relationships. I really liked Levi as a romance lead – definitely the cinnamon roll trope- but I do agree with some reviews saying that he was very similar to Adam in The Love Hypothesis.
Overall, while The Love Hypothesis is still my number one Ali Hazelwood pick, Love on the Brain was an enjoyable contemporary romance read that will especially appeal to readers looking for books in the STEM space.
Have you read Love on the Brain yet? What are your thoughts? Have you read The Love Hypothesis or the STEMinists novellas? Share in the comments!