A light fun read with some good and bad parts, overall enjoyable.
“How many times have you done this?” —
“Zero. But I am familiar with the trope.”
Who should read it? Since I was not familiar with the fanfic, I’ll go ahead and say anyone who’s into light romance.
Would I recommend it? Yes, with its pros & cons.
I’ll start by saying I had zero knowledge about the fanfic this book originated from until I reached the very end and read the author note. So I’ve read this book with a fresh mindset, expecting a fun and light romance, and I felt it didn’t disappoint in that sense. Not to say it was hilariously funny, but it was cute and refreshing in many ways!
Now, like every other book, there were things I liked and disliked about it, and unfortunately, it didn’t delight me enough to deserve 4 full stars. Solid 3 stars (perhaps even 3.5) as I still enjoyed it overall.
Some things I LOVED about the book:
🧡 A book that makes fun of its own tropes
I really liked how the characters made fun of the obvious tropes such as “fake dating”, amongst other romcom references. Tropes aren’t necessarily a bad thing, and this book proves exactly that. It didn’t try to be clever, reinvent the wheel or add a twist for the sake of sounding different. It followed good storytelling practices, and honestly, it worked really well for me.
🧡 Did anyone say flirting?
The couple dynamics and overall chemistry were quite fun and charismatic. Which I found to be impressive since I didn’t care as much about each of the characters individually. More on that later.
🧡 The Final Fantasy reference!
Erm… excuse me here, I’m just fangirling for a moment.
🧡 Inclusion of women in STEM
Haven’t read many romance books doing this, and I can only say, well done Ali!
There were things I didn’t like as much:
🌧️ The actual main character…
I usually don’t think the main character needs to be likeable in order for me to enjoy the book. In fact, if I hate a character, that’s not a bad thing, it’s usually a sign of powerful writing that evokes emotions. I couldn’t care less if the character has different opinions and interests than mine either. Even annoying characters can make sense for some plots. That being said, Olive felt completely indifferent to me. Despite her academic life and relatable struggles as a woman in STEM, there was not much I felt for Olive.
At some point, I even thought Olive’s personality was sacrificed in order to keep the plot going. When she hides, lies and is unable to face reality, she’s not being selfless. She’s being selfish, denying the right others have of knowing the truth. I’d be okay with that if that was what her character was about. Her behaviour even seems to be normalised and rewarded by everyone else. “It’s okay to lie for a good cause” was the message I got in the end.
🌧️ Spicy scenes
I have mixed feelings about this because I really liked the author’s approach to writing raw scenes, more realistic than you’d see in most love stories. It didn’t try to make it unrealistically perfect, which is quite refreshing. Honestly, I’m tired of watching movies or reading books that never take into account how awkward and not-magic the first time you’re with someone can be.
However, at some point, it was just a bit too much for me. Maybe this is a case of “it’s me, it’s not you?” as I’m actually a bigger fan of fade to black (unpopular opinion). And there were almost two chapters of it, I think? Which I kind of skimmed through.
🌧️ Why are they together again?
I did mention the couple dynamics were great once the whole fake dating started, but I don’t understand how they were ever drawn to each other in the first place.
I won’t go into detail to avoid spoilers, so I’ll just say it would’ve been more realistic for me if the author was able to flesh out their relationship while they were fake dating. Near the end, even though it was a bit predictable, it felt as if the purpose of the fake dating plot was lost. So what? Have they always been meant for each other? Why? How?
Overall The Love Hypothesis was a fun and light read, bringing many refreshing aspects to the genre! Those who read the fanfic might have a different opinion, but even though I didn’t fall in love with this book, I still enjoyed reading it.