Most men can’t handle Hazel. With the energy of a toddler and the mouth of a sailor, they’re often too timid to recognize her heart of gold. New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Roomies, Beautiful Bastard) tells the story of two people who are definitely not dating, no matter how often they end up in bed together.
Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.
Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.
Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 5 Stars
Readers and writers of the friends to lovers trope, take notice: Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating is by far the best example I’ve seen of this trope being flawlessly executed. In general, I’m not actually a huge fan of this particular trope, but Josh and Hazel were just so damn wonderful.
When I sat down to write this review, I decided to take a moment to analyze why this particular book stuck out to me. After a few moments of contemplation, during which I imagined Josh Im naked, I figured it out. In most friends to lovers romance novels, one party or the other spends all of their time hiding secret feelings, or being insanely jealous. In this book, however, the first half of the book is solely about Josh and Hazel as friends. There were no ulterior motives, not romantic scheming or unrequited feelings. It was refreshing as hell.
Hazel was wonderfully weird. Kind of everything I’d like to be but am not quite brave enough to share. She was zany and hilarious and had no filter at all. Her issues stemmed from past relationships, and really spoke to issues that most women have: that they’ll be too much or not enough for the person they’re dating. She was so secure in herself though, and refused to change for anyone, which I loved.
Josh was, sigh, just a dreamboat. He was such a great contrast to Hazel’s wildness. They complimented each other right away and I felt myself being drawn to his his stoic calmness. Together, the two of them were endearing and hilarious. Friendship goals personified, folks.
My Takeaway: It isn’t often that I fall in love with the friends to lovers trop, but as per usual Christina Lauren has managed to exceed all expectations. You ladies make me love your characters more with every book you write and I. NEED. MORE.