The Love Hypothesis

Ali Hazelwood

Quick Synopsis

A biology PhD student wants to prove to her best friend that she has moved on and is dating. With no way to prove it, she kisses the first man she sees, none other than Dr. Carlsen, known as one of the most unapproachable and critical professors. With his own reasoning, he agrees to become Olive’s fake boyfriend. But what starts as a fake relationship later turns into what Olive wishes was real.

Publisher’s Synopsis

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. 


The Love Hypothesis is a fake dating romance centered on Olive, a PhD student in Stanford’s biology department. This was my first book with a fake dating plot, since I am relatively new to romance. After this book, I would say it is a trope I enjoy. When I finished The Love Hypothesis, I immediately wanted to start reading the book over again.

Ali Hazelwood’s portrayal of a woman in a STEM PhD program was incredibly accurate. She perfectly captured the emotions and struggles of being both a PhD student and being in a male-dominated field. I feel like these depictions are rare despite their resonance and comfort to those going through similar experiences.

Another thing I loved about this book is its demisexual representation! While Olive never labels herself as demisexual, it is clear from her descriptions that she is. Olive thinks that she is somehow broken and strange because of her lack of sexual attraction without an emotional bond. It is so refreshing to see aspec representation in a mainstream book and for the author to authentically depict the feelings of someone who is still struggling with this and has not yet found her sexual identity.

It is hard to capture all the wonderful things about The Love Hypothesis in a short review. The relationship built over time and was fantastic with a brooding love interest. The banter and chemistry was electric. There were a few spicy scenes that were simply hot. I also loved that there was more depth to the plot than simply the romance. I smiled so much while reading The Love Hypothesis and then I proceeded to hug the book when I was finished.

Overall, The Love Hypothesis is among the top romances that I have read this year. I highly recommend it and am looking forward to Ali Hazelwood’s new work.


Overall Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Character Development

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Love Hypothesis



Publication Date
September 14, 2021

Page Count

Storygraph Rating
4.42 stars

Goodreads Rating
4.46 stars

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