Just a heads up, this blog is, in reality, a Laura Steven stan page, so if you don’t want to read about me saying how much she slays for the next [insert number of words here] then I suggest you find another blog to read (or maybe stick around so that I can enlighten you… just saying…)
I’m pretty sure I’d been excited for The Love Hypothesis to come out ever since the launch event for Laura’s previous book, A Girl Called Shameless, where she first talked about it. The teasers dropped between then of some interactions between the characters just made me want it even more (even if it did mean I needed to brush up on my A-Level German).
The premise is fairly straightforward. People are generally attracted to other people that are the same level of attractiveness as them, but what if you could take a pill to make yourself seem more attractive? Would you do it? Caro, our plucky lead, is faced with this exact choice.
Caro is super smart. Like, Sheldon Cooper levels of smart. She’s a senior in high school and thinks of herself as the plain one in her friendship group. Next to her best friend, pop-star-in-the-making Keiko, and her popular, cheerleading other bestie Gabriela, she feels invisible. And invisible doesn’t win the heart of school heart throb, football player, and all around wonderjock Haruki Ito who, not going to lie, sounds dreamy af.
So, when she finds a research paper about an experimental pill that can boost your pheromones and make you more attractive to anyone who could be interested, she takes the plunge and tries them. And wouldn’t you just know, it works! After a few awkward erectile instances, a very unwholesome ritual involving an eggplant (not what you think, get your minds out of the gutter), and all of the feels, Caro feels like she’s set.
Throughout the book (which, lets remember, is set in a highschool full of emotional, hormonal teens, and involves a girl messing with her own chemistry), you experience all the highs and lows that come with being a teenager and feeling like you don’t fit in or don’t matter. I like this boy but he doesn’t even know I exist is definitely one that I could associate with. Hard to imagine, I know, what with the adonis I’ve blossomed into… Through Caro’s monologue, you never feel like you know everything that’s going on with everyone. She experiences the same nerves and insecurities as anyone else, except it’s compounded by wondering if Haruki is actually into her for real, or just because of the pills…
What I love most, though, are the interactions we see between Caro and her dads, Vati and Dad. (Yes, dads, as in two of them. It’s 2020 guys, get with the program!) They’re without a doubt the comic relief, especially Vati and his German-to-English idiom translations (my favourite is “Who knows why the geese go barefoot?” and I shall endeavour to use it more when appropriate), but they’re so much more. I adore how they’re both so different but work together so beautifully. They’re an ideal of what a stable, grown up relationship is, sometimes arguing but always there for each other and doing their best to push the other one to be better. They are literal goals. Even with all Vati’s talk of phallic carrots and schwanz.
I said it right at the top, I love Laura and her writing, but I think The Love Hypothesis might be my favourite book that she’s written. I have to admit, it took me a while to finish, but that was more because I was preempting what was going to happen and weirding myself out (I do that a lot. What I thought didn’t happen. I psyched myself out for nothing. Learn from my mistakes.) but by the time I got to the end, I absolutely adored it all. I need more with the characters. I need more Haruki and Caro and Keiko and DEFINITELY more Vati (maybe selling his grotesque vegetables at a farmers market…? Just an idea Laura…) But I think what I need most is just more from Laura. I love her style, and her humour, and the way that she uses it to address really difficult, controversial topics without it coming across like she’s on a. soap box ranting. She did it amazingly with The Exact Opposite of Okay, and she’s done it again here.
If you enjoy books about funny, smart, likeable women, written by a funny, smart, likeable woman, then this is one you cannot miss. I think we all need to be a bit like Caro sometimes, and realise that we’re a lot more amazing than we ever give ourselves credit for.
The Love Hypothesis – Laura Steven ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️