The Love Hypothesis

Ali Hazelwood

Olive Smith is a third year Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University. She doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships, but her best friend, Anh, does. So, to convince Anh that she’s over her ex and moving on, Olive kisses the first guy she sees. It just so happens that the man she kisses on a whim is Adam Carlsen, the young hotshot professor and well-known ass in the biology department. 

Olive is expecting rage when she pulls away from him and discovers her horrible mistake. But she’s met with sarcasm and… understanding? She’s even more surprised when Adam offers to help her with her charade to help her friend get a happily ever after. But, of course, Adam needs something in return. Stanford see’s Adam as a flight risk, and has fears of him leaving and going to more prestigious schools, like Harvard. And with such fears, Stanford has frozen a large portion of his funding for his lab. In order for Stanford to unfreeze the money, Adam needs to look like he’s putting down roots and settling down. Two birds, one stone. 

So, from their chance encounter smacking lips in the hallway of the biology building, Olive and Adam put on a show. They meet every Wednesday at the campus Starbucks for “fake-date Wednesday,” Olive gives him kisses in the parking lot after Adam pushes a dead car out of the way, sits on his lap in full lecture rooms, and lathers sunscreen on his chest to prevent him from getting skin cancer. 

Olive has never really thought about sex or attraction or dating. It’s never been on her radar and never something she’s sought out. But Adam is changing her view of things. He’s brooding and mysterious and can be unapproachable, but he’s also sweet and caring and so incredibly gentle. Olive can’t help but fall in love. Adam is 100% on Olive’s side. 

When Adam, Olive and her friends are at an annual science convention, many words are shared between the group and things escalate, in more ways than one. 

This was so worth the hype. I know that this is supposed to be a fanfiction, and it can sometimes read like one. But it was so incredibly lovely that you forget. Olive is hilarious and relatable and genuine. She’s gone through a lot in her life, and uses that pain and trauma as momentum to become the best scientist she can be. She will do anything in the world for her friends. And I think she represents all girls with crushes perfectly. Giddy when they see their name pop up on their phones, wanting to just be near them, wanting the best for them. The love she has for Adam was palpable from the words. And the same goes for Adam. Even though we didn’t see things from his point of view (I’ve never wanted to see a man’s POV more in my life), there was love in the way Olive described seeing him and his reactions and words. What a wonderfully, beautiful man. 

Adam had it rough too. This adds to his enigma and character. He grew up moving around and only settling when he was about six or seven years old. He’s moody and rightfully so. He’s earned the right to be an ass and have his moments. But the love that showed through his actions and words towards Olive is incredible. He only wants the best for her. And he wants it the entirety of the book. Even after the breakup.

This was easily the saddest, most beautiful breakup I’ve read. There wasn’t yelling or shaming. There weren’t lies being told to hurt the other in an unforgivable way, even for a romcom. Olive was the one to deliver the breakup, and Adam took like a gentleman, offering her friendship and loyalty after she broke his heart. Their parting kiss gave all the feels. Intense and lastly. And when she needed him after, he was there to protect her and help her. 

This was an exceptional read. It was different, fun and emotional. A few tears were shed for my loves. It was steamy. And good steam. The tension building up the the moment was *chef’s kiss.* Every woman deserves an Adam Carlsen in their life. This was jam-packed with the best tropes. And trope awareness, which is hilarious. Fake dating, grump/sunshine, forced proximity, hurt/comfort. And healthy hurt/comfort. I flew through this book. The fastest I’ve read a book in a while. I wanted it to go on forever. I demand a sequel. This has easily become a comfort read and will forever hold a special place in my heart.