I knew The Love Hypothesis was super popular, and now that I’ve read it, I get why! I can’t give it a full five rating just because, as a Star Wars fan, this is so clearly ReyLo fanfic (which is fine!! – fanfic is real writing, and I ship it) but it is still really amazing.

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The summary, from Amazon:

The Instant New York Times Bestseller and TikTok Sensation!

As seen on THE VIEW!

A BuzzFeed Best Summer Read of 2021

When a fake relationship between scientists meets the irresistible force of attraction, it throws one woman’s carefully calculated theories on love into chaos.

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.

Buy The Love Hypothesis here.

Olive is a graduate student working towards her Ph.D. in the STEM field at Stanford. She’s in the lab late one night when she bumps into Adam. Her best friend Ahn has just spotted her, and she asks if she can kiss him – and thus, a whole fake dating situation is born. Olive just got out of a short relationship with Jeremy, who she isn’t really interested in, but realizes Ahn has feelings for. She lied and said she was on a date that night, so when Ahn saw her in the lab, Olive had to make it seem like she was there with a romantic partner. She didn’t even think about who it was she was asking to kiss, and kissing Adam was certainly controversial. Not only is he a professor, but he’s known for making his students cry or even drop out because of how harsh his criticism can be! He’s never been one of Olive’s advisors or teachers and though they’re in the same department, won’t be at this point, so their romance is acceptable at the university. Better yet, a continued relationship with Adam will convince Ahn she can date Jeremy. And for Adam, dating someone will convince Stanford that he has roots in the area and is less likely to accept a position at another university, hopefully leading to them releasing funds for one of his projects that they currently have frozen.

It’s all convoluted, but Ali Hazelwood does a great job of making the academic world just *make sense*. My interests lie in the humanities, and I’ve tapped out at my Masters degree, but I still totally understood what was going on throughout this novel. The author also does a great job of showing just how sexist and racist academia, especially in the STEM fields, can be. Ahn works on committees and teams to involve more BIPOC women in STEM, and ultimately Olive has to deal with sexual harassment that she struggles to report.

I gotta say, this was the deliciously slowest of slow burns. And when these two finally give in to their feelings, OOF it was hot. Probably the best cunnilingus scene I’ve ever read. *fans self*

If you are a Star Wars fan with a crush on Adam Driver, the hero in this one is literally Adam Driver as Ben Solo. He’s grumpy, six-foot-something, and HOT. And Olive is a stand-in for Rey, though I love how the author fleshed her out. She’s both shy and spirited, loving but guarded. Olive is also demisexual, and the representation is done really well. (On that note, Ahn is Rose, Malcom is Finn, and Holden is Poe. And yes, we get a Finn/Poe romance in the background.) Ultimately, this was a lovely read about two people fake dating, except… of course, it means something more to both of them! My only issues were how I felt the first few pages were just like, “THIS IS ADAM DRIVER.” And also, the use of “clean” to describe someone who doesn’t have STDs. 4 stars!

The Love HypothesisThe Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was really fun! Obviously I liked it since I read it in two days. As a Star Wars fan, it was… VERY clearly fanfiction. And yet it touched on so many important things in the STEM field, and also had probably the HOTTEST cunnilingus scene I’ve ever read. *fans self*

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Book Club Questions

  1. Describe the relationship dynamic between Adam and Olive.
  2. Who were your favorite side characters? Least favorite?
  3. Did you find the problem at the climax of this story realistic? How about how it was dealt with and the potential aftermath?

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