Love, Theoretically is my favorite of Hazelwood’s novels so far. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of miscommunication, but there’s also swooning and seeing people for who they are. There were some parts I had some troubles with, but overall this one is my favorite! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
The many lives of theoretical physicist Elsie Hannaway have finally caught up with her. By day, she’s an adjunct professor, toiling away at grading labs and teaching thermodynamics in the hopes of landing tenure. By other day, Elsie makes up for her non-existent paycheck by offering her services as a fake girlfriend, tapping into her expertly honed people pleasing skills to embody whichever version of herself the client needs.
Honestly, it’s a pretty sweet gig—until her carefully constructed Elsie-verse comes crashing down. Because Jack Smith, the annoyingly attractive and broody older brother of her favorite client, turns out to be the cold-hearted experimental physicist who ruined her mentor’s career and undermined the reputation of theorists everywhere. And that same Jack who now sits on the hiring committee at MIT, right between Elsie and her dream job.
Elsie is prepared for an all-out war of scholarly sabotage but…those long, penetrating looks? Not having to be anything other than her true self when she’s with him? Will falling into an experimentalist’s orbit finally tempt her to put her most guarded theories on love into practice?
My relationship with Love, Theoretically is a bit of a love hate relationship. At the beginning, I was absolutely smitten. I love Elsie’s narrative voice, how unique and personality driven it is. It is something Hazelwood does a phenomenal job at. The signature charm and personality of not only Elsie, but also the side characters. But then about 20% through, I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue. I know miscommunication is an issue for everyone, but it just seemed like a good conversation would solve it?
It turned into me yelling, “just talk to each other!” There has to be a degree of ballooning in a book, but I just wasn’t sure if the amount of miscommunication – and then for how long it takes – would lose me. I did end up finishing and I’m glad I did. Once I took a few deep breaths, I ended up losing myself in Elsie’s character. Not going to lie, the audiobook narration is basically the reason I got through the rough patch. Thérèse Plummer does an amazing job at infusing Elsie’s narration with personality, fears, and hope.
I ended up kind of relating to Elsie. How deeply she’s people pleasing and has lost all traces of herself. You know that movie where Sandra Bullock doesn’t know how she likes her eggs? If you love that you’ll love Love, Theoretically.
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Within there’s rivals to romance, workplace swooning, and a beautiful representation of friendship. At its core, Love, Theoretically is a story about having the bravery to be seen for who we are and to accept only people who see us and love us for that. To know we are worth being seen. Find Love, Theoretically on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon, Bookshop.org, Blackwells, Libro.fm, and Google Play.