Monday, November 29, 2021

The Love Hypothesis - Ali Hazelwood

I'm so cold that I'm typing with gloves and a scarf on as well as the biggest wooly jumper I own. I've spent most of my free time over the last couple of days trying to finish the second sleeve of an even bigger wooly jumper I'm working on so that I can retreat into it. I'm also trying to make room for the Christmas tree I'm collecting tomorrow (early, I know, but it's when I can get a lift, and why not enjoy it for as long as possible?). All in all, there hasn't been much reading lately, and what I have read has been on the light side. 

This includes Ali Hazelwood's 'The Love Hypothesis. Until I started working in a bookshop the concept of Book Tok had entirely passed me by, and honestly, I still haven't engaged with it much. However, it's a foolish bookseller who would ignore it because it's really driving sales. So much so that the average age of our customers has dropped considerably, and honestly I'm all for teenage girls being an economic power in the industry. 

'The Love Hypothesis' has been a hit online, along with Madeline Millar's 'The Song of Achilles'. I chose Ali Hazelwood's book to see what all the fuss was about after someone said it looked like Star Wars fan fiction (I don't think it is - but I could be wrong) and that was appealing in the moment. 

I will look up how many copies of this we've sold at some point, but it's easily in the hundreds which seems remarkable to me for something that's a decent, but otherwise unremarkable romance. That said there's a lot to like about this book, starting with Hazelwood's honesty about what she's writing - she frequently references made for tv romances, and that's how this book reads, but with humour and self-awareness. 

The plot doesn't really stand up to much scrutiny, people do not, on the whole, behave like this, but that's okay because the characters are likable and Hazelwood clearly does know American STEM academia, which is the background for the book, and that helps ground it. 

Olive is a promising post-grad student who accidentally kisses her department's star professor (for reasons). For more reasons he agrees to fake date her, until to nobody's surprise they turn out to be genuinely into each other. It's cute, good on the details, big on consent, funny, and a reliably good alternative to an afternoon film. It looks like Hazelwood has another romance out next year, which I'm fairly sure I'll read too, because in the end who doesn't want some reliably feel-good books in their collection. There are plenty of days when nothing else will do. 

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