She Blinded Me With Science

As I’ve mentioned before in previous blogs, I am a reader of fanfiction.  So, I am usually gratified when I see some of my fellow fanfic writer’s works get recognized and promoted after they did the work and get them published in the traditional publishing world.  (This isn’t always true and I still don’t know how some frankly bad writers have managed to not only get published but have had multi movie deals and television shows)

Come to the Dark Side, we have Science!

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood was brought to my attention by a particular group I’m in wondering which ship writer got published.  We soon found that this was from a completely different genre but it was a ship writer.  Then it came out that this book started as a Reylo fanfic.  (For those who don’t know, Reylo is the ship for Rey and Kylo Ren/BenSolo from the last three Star Wars movies)

Then the hate came. Hundreds upon hundreds of posts on social media about how this book was disgusting, how they were just stunned that such a crap ship was published, so and so forth. I won’t lie, while I am a Star Wars fan, this ship didn’t click.  But I am also salty so I signed up for the Book of the Month Club, and bought this book specifically to support the author and to give a metaphorical finger to the haters. 

I have little time for haters.

Task completed, the book went into my TBR horde to linger with all my other book to be read at some time in the future. 

I picked it up on a Saturday because I figured I had two weeks before my next review was due and it would take me that long to read it.

Friends, I finished it in a day.

The story takes place at Stanford where third year PhD candidate Olive Smith is working on her doctoral thesis regarding early marker in the blood that detect pancreatic cancer thereby catching it in early stages where there is time for treatment rather than how it is currently found now in the late stages where the patient is given weeks or months to get their affairs in order.

Her best friend Ahn is crushing on Olive’s ex-boyfriend but won’t do anything because sisters before misters.  Olive’s messed up idea is to pretend she’s dating someone else to open the way for her best friend and her ex to finally start dating.  In a panic, Olive kisses the first man she sees hoping that Ahn will see her and therefore know that it is safe to date the ex. 

The problem is, the person Olive kisses is Professor Adam Carlsen, Stanford reigning top professor and well-known ass and tyrant.  And thus, the comedy of errors begins.

I’m not going to lie; I didn’t expect to love this book so much.  By page 42, I had already laughed way too many times and found myself rereading some of my favorite lines.  I sat down on my couch and by that evening (barring making lunch and other things) I had finished the entire book.  I utterly fell in love with kind, empathetic Olive.  Being a woman in a science field is hard and both Olive and her best friend Anh, a Vietnamese woman in hard sciences are used to being overlooked and marginalized and ignored. I love how Hazelwood includes this in her story without making it the overarching theme of the story.  Possibly because Hazelwood is also a PhD in neuroscience and understands the nuances of being a woman in a STEM career. 

Adam Carlsen is the perfect fictional man. Obvious amazing at his chosen profession, he clawed to where he was by drive and trauma, but loyalty and determination and basically by not giving a damn to what people thought of him.  Silent and taciturn, unless it involves his passion, Adam tilts all notions of who he is the moment he meets Olive and they begin this fake dating plan. 

And anyone who’s read my previous blogs knows exactly how much I love the fake dating trope.  (It’s one of my favorites).  Carlsen is an Austinesque hero in a modern time; arrogant in a good way, little to no social skills outside his own close group of friends, exceptionally kind, protective, loyal…you are all picturing the exact man or men I’m talking about here.  And better yet, he’s a man who knows the meaning of consent, which was scorching when that moment arrives. 

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There’s an underlying theme throughout the story, woven into the romance and that is Olive grappling with if she’s good enough to be in her field.  Adam tells her something on the first day they meet “I have no idea if you’re good enough, but that’s not what you should be asking yourself.  What matters is whether your reason to be in academia good enough.” (7). Over and over Olive is dealing with this question, not only in her academia but in her life and it’s satisfying watching her grow and blossom, to climb out of the self-imposed shell she had created and realize that she is enough.

I laughed and swooned and cheered along throughout this entire book, and when I finished, I wanted to read it again.  This is going on my short stack of books I love to reread.  I am ever so grateful that my spite drove me to buy this book.  A bookmark came with this book with the quote, “I tend to get lost” and that’s what I did.  I got happily lost.

I know you can buy this at Barnes and Noble and Amazon so if you missed the BoTM group or aren’t into new books every month, pick it up form your local bookstore or from the link attached, you won’t regret it. 

Happy November friends and remember, even with the sun setting early, it’s never too late to curl up with a warm throw, your favorite warm drink, and a good book.  

3 thoughts on “She Blinded Me With Science

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