Christina Lauren is one of those authors who just gets crazy buzz online. It seems like everyone who has read Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating has just loved it (seriously, it has an average of over 4 stars on Goodreads). Given that kind of hype – I was a little hesitant to pick it up. I’m glad I got over that – Christina Lauren has become one of my favorite romance authors (and an auto-buy author) after this fantastically cute book.
Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.
Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.
Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?
Plot-wise, this book was fairly predictable. It was pretty easy to guess that Josh and Hazel were going to end up together, but in a romance book, that’s pretty much a given. This book didn’t particularly go anywhere new in terms of plot, but the familiar plot points it used were well executed and were given of color by the vibrant characters. Having chapters set from both of the main characters points of view is one of my favorite writing devices, and in the case of this book it brought a new level of depth to Josh and Hazel’s dynamic.
Hazel was super fun to read about. She’s legitimately quirky – not in the commercialized Tumblr way – she was super weird and did things that made me cringe in nearly every chapter. She brought color to even the smallest of interactions. Somehow, all of her zaney antics actually made her even more endearing to me – her big, give no effs personality is rare to find in the romance genre and was certainly a breath of fresh air.
Josh on the other hand was the definition of straight edge: he lives a meticulously ordered life and thought he was only a few years away from a white picket fence and the perfect nuclear family. One of my favorite Josh moments is when he was defending Hazel to one of her dates and encouraged her not to tone herself down for the sake of those around her. Josh and Hazel have one of those super organic connections – it slowly grew throughout the book and it was easy to observe the impact they were having on each other.
The best part about discovering a new book is getting to explore the author’s catalog of books (and adding a wealth of new books to your TBR). This is one of the few books that really, truly lives up to the hype. It’s an adorable, well executed romance book that will definitely be a reread for me later. I’d highly recommend this book if you’re in the market for a super cute romance or just for a great beach read this summer. 5/5