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You Need to Read This Reylo Fanfic on the NYT Bestselling List

“At least there’s not a shirtless man on the cover,” I thought to myself as I started my latest romance novel. The Love Hypothesis is about a graduate student and a grumpy biology professor fake dating and eventually, falling for each other. I was extremely hesitant to like this love interest not so loosely based on Kylo Ren, and not so subtlety named Dr. Adam Carlson. This conversion of fanfiction to published novel has been seen many times before in the Young Adult genre, starting with Twilight and more recently, The Kissing Booth.

Because of the problematic misogynistic undertones of both these works, I did not have much hope for The Love Hypothesis. However, in the first chapter, the main character, Olive, pulls Adam into a closet and kisses him because her best friend walks by, and she’d told her that she was on a date. The complex plotline draws you in from the very first chapter. I was not expecting a fake dating trope or the main character’s best friend to have a crush on her ex. This is when I knew this book was not just any other enemies-to-lovers with a hint of the grumpy and sunshine trope.

Bookish influencers on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok are raving about this book, causing its popularity to skyrocket, and eventually landing it on the New York Times bestselling list. Popular romance reviewers on Instagram like Pauline (@thebooksiveloved), and Ayushi (@bookwormbullet) are calling The Love Hypothesis a “must read” for romance lovers. Twitter user Kasia (@kasiab1999) said that she already “finished this masterpiece for the second time.” Even booktokers like Fish (@the.sequel.nobody.wanted) that don’t regularly read or review romance are loving the setup and banter of The Love Hypothesis.

Author Ali Hazelwood has pulled off a multitude of common book tropes while also turning them on their head. Hazelwood includes the fake dating trope, but from the beginning, they’re more than friends. The superior romance trope, the one-bed trope, starts out with … two beds? At the beginning of every chapter, there is a hypothesis about the chapter, yet the predictability of the book makes it exponentially better.

Another aspect of the book that appealed to me, and many other readers, was the commentary about sexism in academia. Olive is struggling to navigate a male-dominated field and even though her research is revolutionary, she continues to face imposter syndrome. Olive is trying to understand her place in a field where she is constantly told she does not belong. Every time a door of opportunity is slammed in Olive’s face, I was reminded of the many opportunities many women have been denied because of structural sexism in academia.

Olive’s friends, Anh and Malcolm, are relatable, well-rounded characters. Olive’s friend group is relatable to the point where you can picture them hanging out in their apartment, presenting at a conference, and going to an event on the green. The diversity in her friend group pushes back against the idea that the hard sciences are only for straight white men. I’m tired of seeing stories about the myth of “grit” and how working hard enough can get you anywhere. The Love Hypothesis does not shy away from the truth that marginalized folks are often abused by the system of academia in the form of their work being stolen, their names being left off of papers and their positions being underpaid.

This real talk about sexism in academia in The Love Hypothesis might be the reason that thousands of young women on Goodreads gave the book five stars and wrote that they saw themselves in this book. The only negative Goodreads review I’ve found is highly entertaining, and the reviewer admits to liking the love interest and enjoying the smutty scenes. I’m pretty sure the one star was out of jealousy that romance is never this perfect and adorable. The Love Hypothesis is currently out of stock but be sure to keep an eye out for the unmistakable Reylo fanfic at your local bookstore.

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Hello! My name is Maya Topiwala (she/her) and I am a second year International Affairs major at Florida State University. I'm from Atlanta, Georgia. I am really passionate about local politics and grassroots organizing. In my spare time, I read, cook, and hike.
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