By Ali Hazelwood
Published September 2021
I put off reading this novel for months – in part because of the hype surrounding it (I’m usually disappointed with over-hyped novels and wind up posting an unpopular review), and in part because it’s romance. I have nothing against romance, I used to read a lot of it, but I’ve gotten away from the genre in recent years. A coworker finally talked me into putting a library hold on this one and I had no problem waiting weeks for it. In hindsight, that was foolish. I should have picked this one up asap.
Here’s the blurb: Olive’s life is science – as a PhD candidate, there’s not much room for anything else. But when she needs to convince her best friend that she has a boyfriend, she does what anyone else would do – she kisses the nearest man at hand. Unfortunately, she blindly chooses arrogant, superstar professor Adam Carlsen. To say he’s despised by his graduate students would be putting it mildly. Olive is convinced he’ll turn her in for sexual harrassment but to her surprise, he agrees to play along as her fake boyfriend.
It doesn’t take long for Olive to realize there’s a living, breathing human being beneath his scowl and six-pack abs. He seems to like her too and just when she thinks they might have a real future, her job is put on the line. The only way to fix it is to squander the professional opportunity of a lifetime and in the process, let Adam go. Or is it?
I loved this book. Really, really loved it. I laughed so hard I irritated my cat. Then I cried – twice. Add in the fact it’s the author’s debut novel and well, mind blown.
There’s nothing spectacular about the plot – although the fact it focuses on STEM and is set in Academia is a little different than my usual fare. I don’t mean to say it’s not a good read and a fun story, but for me it all came down to the depth of the POV and my emotional reaction. I’m amazed at how deep I was in Olive’s head, and Adam emoted more with a twitch of his lips than most men I know. The characters were goofy, compassionate, insecure, loyal, grumpy, ugly…I could go on. It’s the characters and their emotional resonance that I’ll remember from this novel. In fact, I’ll be buying a copy to use as a resource to try to figure out how the author worked her magic because I want my characters to jump off the page and make people laugh and cry too. It’s going to sit right by my copy of The Emotion Thesaurus.
My five star reviews are reserved for books I wish I’d written or that have a major emotional impact on me and this one did both.
This is my second five-star rating of 2022. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I’d give it more if I could.
Until next time, thank you for visiting.
My rating system:
5 stars – Wow, I could not stop thinking about this book and/or I wish I’d writtn it.
4 stars – This was an awesome novel, I’d recommend it to friends.
3 stars – This was a good novel, I will look for more by this author.
2 stars – An okay novel, but I probably won’t look for anything else by the author.