This book was cute. I mean adorable. I read it in two days (would have been faster but I forced myself to put it down so I wouldn’t finish it the day I got it. No book crash, thank you.)
Our characters are Olive Smith, a third year Ph.D student, her best friend Anh, her roommate Malcolm and the love interest Adam Carlsen, described in the book as a “young hotshot professor–and well known ass.” Dude makes grad students cry.
We learn throughout the book that Olive is demi, Malcolm seems to be bi. So the queer rep was nice to see. Olive’s best friend Anh is Vietnamese and a huge portion of her life is taken up with BIPOC spaces. Wanting to have mentorships and groups who can talk and vent and just be. Anh sounds like a pretty awesome person.
So awesome, that when Olive has the chance to make her best friend happy, she does the only logical (to her, at that precise moment) thing, and kisses the first guy she comes across.
They start a fak-relationship that has a planned shelf life of about a month. Until September 29th. He needs to look like he’s staying at Stanford and it should be enough time on Olive’s end for her to prove to Anh that she’s happy so Anh can go after what she wants.
There’s a lot of banter. A lot of Adam calling Olive a smart-ass. It’s what he calls her the second most often after her name. It’s cute. There’s rom-com shennanigans like the fake-dating, Anh pushing Olive into situations that would make anyone in her situation blush.
It was fun. Even when there was a lot of scientific jargon on the page that I, as an average, non -Ph.D. student, didn’t get.
Adam is also big on consent. During the steamy moments (which I got to at breakfast of all times), we see him ask permission. They also talk about contraceptives. It’s fast, it’s easy and it’s believable and I appreciated seeing it when so many people leave that detail out.
Olive is also extremely anxious during it and Adam does his damndest to get her relax. He doesn’t want to hurt her. And when she’s freaking out not knowing what she should be doing, he gets her to stop. It was actually pretty cute.
That’s a word I will always use to describe this book.
Now, for some of the less than amazing parts.
We’re told Adam is an ass. It’s printed on the page. He’s an ass because of the way he hands out feedback to people. While we get it all second hand, we never see it. It isn’t a big deal but I would have liked to see this behavior instead of being told it. Because we get told often that he is, and we get told about the events that have happened to other people, we just don’t see it.
My biggest issue with the book is the lack of a trigger warning.
There is attempted sexual assault in the form of attempted unwanted kisses.
Having that there, with no warning, is always a glaring issue. A trigger warning at the beginning of the book would have been an easy way to give people fair warning about what was going to happen.
The character even had to be told what happened to her was sexual assault, it wasn’t something she had verbalized even though the vent made her cry. When those words came up, she became a sobbing mess.
As one would. It’s understandable.
What isn’t understandable is why someone like the author, who herself is incredibly intelligent judging from the fact that she’s a professor herself who studied a Ph.D. in neuroscience, didn’t see the benefit of putting a trigger warning in the beginning of the book.
That was upsetting as a reader. People have the right to decide if they want to read a certain book based on the content inside.
If I pick up a fantasy book I can expect war and violence. A detective mystery will probably have murder.
I have read so many books and only recently in 2020-2021 have I started seeing books put trigger warnings at the beginning. The best ones even put resources for help for victims in the back.
And none of the trigger warnings spoiled the story. I just knew what I could expect and could make an informed decision about whether or not I wanted to put myself through it.
So the lack of a trigger warning, especially for that since it’s a rather large part of the end of the book, knocked a star off for me.
I hope in future printings the author will have one added.
I’m giving The Love Hypothesis a three (3) star rating.