Check out my review of Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood to see if this STEM, female-focused academic rivals to lovers book is one worth reading.
*Disclosure: This post may include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Love, Theoretically Main Characters: Elise Hannaway and Jack Smith
Love, Theoretically Summary:
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 Jack Smith, the annoyingly attractive and arrogant 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 he’s the same Jack Smith who rules over the physics department at MIT, standing right between Elsie and her dream job.
Elsie is prepared for an all-out battle 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 Love, Theoretically Review:
Don’t wait on this book. Preorder it, open it as soon as it drops and just sink it. It’s my favorite Ali Hazelwood book as I’m in love with Elsie and Jack!
I think I’ll forever one-click Ali Hazelwood’s books because she hooked me with her debut novel, The Love Hypothesis, and I adore how she features women in STEM getting their happily-ever-after.
She creates the best characters with amazing personal journeys and that’s exactly what you get with Elsie and Jack.
Elsie is an adjunct professor who’s barely able to pay her rent or afford her insulin despite working three teaching jobs. To make up for it, she works for an app where people can hire her to be their pretend date for events.
It helps pays the bills but the side job may also cost her a professorship when the brother of her “boyfriend” – a guy she’s been fake dating for some time, turns out to be on the hiring committee as well as the one man who single-handedly ruined Elsie’s mentor’s career and her field’s reputation.
Love, Theoretically almost felt like reading two books in one. The first half was following Elsie as she interviewed for a professor job at MIT where you see firsthand her passion for her work, her struggles as an adjunct and the politics within the field and academia.
The second half of Love, Theoretically was when we really see Elsie grow as a person with the help of Jack who truly sees her for the person she is and not a role she plays to make him like her.
This really is a story about Elsie and how she begins to change a lifelong habit of changing herself to be what a person wants in order for them to like her and not leave her.
Elsie does this to the extreme but I think many of us do this to a point – hiding our true selves in the hopes of either blending in or just getting someone to like you. I loved this aspect of the story and it really showcased Hazelwood’s talent.
While Elsie was lovely and the focus, I also adored Jack. He’s your typical Hazelwood male hero – a bit of an enigma at the beginning – a man of influence and power yet quiet and hard to read. I loved how Elsie couldn’t read him!
Though Elsie was the character with the most change, I loved Jack’s backstory and his transformation as well.
He is the epitome of an amazing book boyfriend because he truly saw Elsie for who she was, and pushed her “in a good way” to break out of her patterns. He instantly joined my list of best book boyfriends of 2023.
He demanded honesty, and that is what enabled them to build a strong relationship from the start. While holding her to honesty, he was also such a safe spot for her – being there when she struggled, always seeing her to her core. It was beautiful and the best part of the story.
Ali Hazelwood has a formula to her books. She does and I’m totally OK with it. While this may annoy some readers, I say don’t change what’s not broken!
I love her enemies to lovers, STEM, female-focused novels with the quiet, alpha hero and the struggling heroine. Keep giving me more because they are different and unique in their own ways and I love them.
Of all of Ali Hazelwood books, I definitely loved this one more then Love on the Brain and dare I say maybe even more than The Love Hypothesis. The Olive and Adam cameo however was perfect in this novel!
Love, Theoretically is absolutely one of my favorites of the year so far and most definitely will be a hit among readers. I highly recommend it as one of the best romance novels of 2023.
Book Lists With This Book:
- Best Academic Rivals to Lovers Books
- Best Enemies to Lovers Books
- Best Romance Novels of 2023
- 2023 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Romance
- Most Anticipated New Romance Books of 2023
- Ali Hazelwood Books in Order