Book Review: Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood

About the Book:

Title: Love, Theoretically

Author: Ali Hazelwood

Page Length: 368

Publication Date: July 13, 2023

Publisher: Little Brown Books

Synopsis: 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?

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon

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My Review:

First things first, how fabulous is that cover? All of Ali Hazelwood’s books have the best covers, and you can tell it’s going to be a swoon-worthy romance before you even open it up!

Hazelwood has a writing style that works so well, and I always find myself easily pulled into her stories and fully invested in her characters. The quirky FMC and the hunky and broody MMC, both super intelligent and working in STEM careers, and the fun sidekicks may be similar to her other novels, but they feel wholly different.

And any book that references Star Wars and Twilight and has a swoon-worthy and intense love story, relatable (and comical) characters, and an engaging plot is fantastic in my eyes.

A theoretical physicist and adjunct professor struggling to make ends meet, Elsie earns money on the side as a date-for-hire. She is a people pleaser, putting her own needs and desires aside for the sake of others and taking on the personality she believes the other person wants. She constantly tries to fit into the mold she thinks others want instead of being her true self.

Elsie grows so much throughout the story, and I like that she faces some of the things in her life she’s been ignoring like difficult family relationships, work worries and changes, and being true to herself. And when an opportunity to quit teaching, which she hates, some of these issues come to a head. (By the way, the emails she receives from her students are hilarious! As a former teacher, I can attest to receiving similar outrageous messages.) Elsie’s developing relationship with Jack and his support and challenges push her to be more reflective, self-aware, and self-assured. He’s the first person to see through her façade, and he will accept nothing less than the real her. He pushes her out of her comfort zone, much like she does with him.

Jack is intense and serious, and he sounds like a gorgeously grumpy dreamboat. I adore how he accepts Elsie flaws and all, and there’s an emotional depth to him that makes him even more appealing. Jack pines for Elsie quite a bit, especially when he thinks she is dating his brother. He also grows because of Elsie’s influence, which I loved. Elsie goes through a lot and proves to be an intelligent and strong person. She offers insight into a past situation that makes Jack look at his actions from a different perspective, and she humbles him a bit.

With two dynamic characters like Elsie and Jack, it’s no wonder they have such a fantastic and swoon-worthy romance. What starts as an antagonistic relationship quickly turns into something else as they clear up miscommunications, secrets are revealed, and an unexpected romantic relationship blooms. Elsie and Jack have fantastic banter and some incredibly funny conversations, and I love all of the pop culture references and the sizzling chemistry between them.

I always enjoy Hazelwood’s stories. Her stories are engaging and engrossing, and she always creates compelling and fully fleshed out characters that are easy to become emotionally invested in. They are layered and complex and messy and relatable. And cheers to the Adam and Olive cameo! So excited to see them again! Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.



Favorite Parts:

  • THE ROMANCE!!!!!!!
  • The characters.
  • The writing style.

Favorite Lines:

Losing a game’s always painful, but knowing that you haven’t played your best hand makes it bearable.


  • enemies to lovers
  • only one bed
  • miscommunication

13 thoughts on “Book Review: Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood

  1. This is a great review!! I was starting to wonder if all her books were the same but I’ve been seeing rave reviews for this one. I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  2. The characters especially the main character, Elsie, really made this story. She is just so relatable in her own quirky way. Excellent review! (So glad we both enjoyed it!)

  3. Great review, Julie. I like the fake dating plotline, what a fun way to make extra money. I’m looking forward to getting to this one eventually. I have enjoyed her other books.

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