From the publisher:

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.

A BuzzFeed Best Summer Read of 2021

This is a terrific rom-com; smart characters, interesting storyline, great secondary characters and an interesting setting – Stanford University. Specifically, in the biology department. The first meet-cute happens a few years before the actual story. Olive was trying to decide if she wants to pursue her PhD in biology, but she is an impoverished student wearing contact lens that expired years earlier. It has made her vision blurry and she can’t stop crying, so she heads to the nearest restroom where she meets a man who she assumes is a grad student. She really can’t see him, he is just a very tall, very large blur. Olive isn’t sure academia is really for her, but he asks her a couple of good questions that help her decide.

Spring forward and Olive is a couple of years into her graduate program. She doesn’t really date, but did go out with Jeremy a couple of times, but there was no spark there. So when her best friend Anh and Jeremy realize that they really like each other, Olive is in a quandary. Her best friend won’t date Jeremy as long as she thinks Olive is interested, and no matter what Olive says, she isn’t changing her mind. So Olive tells her she has a date with someone else, but when Anh shows up, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is professor Adam Carlson, a MacArthur genius and Stanford legend, feared by his students and respected worldwide. Olive is mortified, but he is very kind. Once she explains why she did it, they decide to fake date. It will keep Anh dating Jeremy, and help Adam as well. The dean has frozen some of his grant money because he’s afraid Adam is going to leave Stanford; he’s considered a “flight risk.” But if Adam is dating someone, then maybe the dean will think he’s staying and release the funds. That is the premise behind the fake dating, and if you’ve ever read a romance or seen a romcom, you know what happens. I especially love the tongue-in-cheek references to other romcoms.

The competitive school setting was terrific, with all its politics and chicanery, and Olive is as quirky a character as I could love. Adam is the quiet type, but enough hints are dropped that you know this is more than fake dating for him. And eventually for Olive as well, but there are a lot of complications that get in the way. Title IX, the sexual harassment laws that govern colleges and universities, comes into play here, pretty much paving the way to the happy ending.

The humor and the characters really make this book, and there is a bit of steamy sex which is well done. I loved this book – don’t miss it!

9/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS by Ali Hazelwood. Berkley (September 14, 2021). ISBN: 978-0593336823. 384 pages.







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