BookTalk: “The Love Hypothesis”


photo by Madi Denizard

Senior Lauren Tait holds her copy of “The Love Hypothesis” by Ali Hazelwood. Tait read the book over a weekend during the summer and loved it.

While browsing the aisles of Barnes and Noble, searching for the perfect rom-com, a book catches your eye on the never disappointing BookTok table. You pick up “The Love Hypothesis,” read the summary on the back and quickly make your way over to the cashier because this will be the book that gets all your attention this weekend. 

This book is described as the story of Olive Smith, a third-year Ph.D. student. What really draws you in is the focus on STEM—especially women in STEM. Olive doesn’t believe in romance, but her best friend does, so when Olive is caught in her lab instead of the date she said she was on, she does what any sane person would do and kisses the first man she sees. Of course, it ends up being the super grumpy professor, Adam Carlsen. This sends them into a complicated fake-dating situation that just adds to the story’s allure. 

Madi: When I bought this book, I had very high expectations from all the hype it has gotten on social media, and let’s just say I was not disappointed. I read the first chapter a couple weeks before I actually read the rest of the book. I had some trouble getting into it at first due to the long chapters and introduction, but once I did, I could not put it down. I was really interested in the science aspect of the story and how it played into the relationship between the characters. The portrayal of women in STEM and the misogyny that comes with it was conveyed in a way that emphasized the struggle but still allowed for the story to be very light-hearted. Throughout the book, Olive experiences a lot of imposter syndrome, meaning she feels out of place and doubts her abilities due to the lack of diversity in her program. The story was also full of tropes that make rom-coms so fun to read, the main one being Olive as the friendly, sunshine character and Adam being a very deadpan and grumpy character. This dynamic makes their relationship more complex and unexpected. 

Lauren: Before reading this book I wasn’t much of a reader. Madi actually suggested this book to me, and although I was a bit skeptical and partially intrigued, I gave it a go. Once I started reading this book I seriously could not put it down. It fulfilled all my romantic comedy expectations. Just like Madi said, this book follows the grumpy/sunshine trope and the author sets this up perfectly. She incorporates small details into their interactions, such as Olive’s love of sugary drinks and Adam’s usual order of black coffee, to add to the contrast of their personalities. Even though Olive and Adam are completely different, you are guaranteed to love them for their individual personalities and how they interact. The atmosphere that the author builds makes for a very unlikely romantic setting, but it makes sense as the story progresses and the characters have more experiences together. I found the book interesting and engaging beginning to end. The last few chapters will especially have you on the edge of your seat. 

Madi: I agree with you, Olive was such a likable character. She was funny and some of her lines had me laughing a lot throughout the book. She also struggles with self-esteem, which allows a lot of people to relate to Olive. I also really enjoyed how even though Adam is the grumpy character, he was able to laugh with Olive and even have inside jokes with her. The author’s portrayal of STEM, and the mind of someone whose passion is STEM, was done really well. It is clear that she put a lot of time and research into making it as accurate as she could, which I really appreciated. 

Lauren: I love how you mention how the books touch on women in STEM. It is so important to represent that and this book is a wonderful way to applaud all women worldwide who are hardworking and driven for something they are passionate about. Olive is very passionate about her work; she doesn’t do it just because she wants to gain a higher level of education, she does it because from her own personal life and experience she specifically wants to study pancreatic cancer. The uncommon situation between Adam and Olive leaves readers wondering if they really will work out, or if they truly have feelings for each other. The end of the book is full of twists and turns, but it leaves you satisfied. It makes you root for Adam and Olive to work out, and it gives you the perfect warm fuzzy feeling a good love story should. Aside from the lengthy chapters and slow beginning I can say that this book is definitely worth a read; once you start it you won’t be able to put it down!