I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Published by Gallery Books on September 4, 2018
FINAL DECISION: Quirky and sweet contemporary romantic comedy. I read this one on a whim and ended up loving the story between two opposites. It was cute and fun and just perfect for a couple hour’s escape.
THE STORY: Hazel Bradford is a lot to handle. Chaos follows her everywhere, she doesn’t have a filter and she has a habit of doing or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. She met Josh Im in college when she vomited on him at a party. Ten years after college, the two meet again and Hazel is determined to be Josh’s best friend. After a bad breakup, Hazel convinces Josh to agree to go on a blind date with Hazel. Well, they would each set the other up with someone and they would double date. The two have no interest in one another, but somehow their dates don’t work out and the attraction between Hazel and Josh keeps growing.
OPINION: Some books you just have to approach with an open mind and an open heart. Not that everyone would love this book if they did, but I know that I had to be open to this book to enjoy it.
Hazel is a lot to take in. She is a whirlwind — chaotic, intemperate, brash. But she also is completely open to loving other people. She cares deeply. The chaos and her inability to censor herself would be something that might annoy me greatly — until I saw how caring she is. She wants to love so much that she opens herself up and is hurt again and again. And yet she keeps caring for others. And that is what makes her who she is.
She is desperately aware that people are attracted to her, but that she becomes too much and people expect (or want) her eventually to tone down. But she doesn’t. Although Hazel is confident in herself, she also doesn’t believe that she has any chance with Josh. She dubbed him “Perfect” as in the model for the perfect guy. Her caring for him makes her want to be close to him, but because she doesn’t believe he can be for her, she instead wants to be his best friend.
Hazel and Josh begin a friendship that is funny and sweet at the same time. She brings color and imperfection into his life. Josh brings some order into Hazel’s. Josh, however, is always completely accepting of Hazel. He may not understand how her mind works, but he doesn’t criticize her or try to make her into someone else. Hazel is a force of nature and Josh is the calm in the storm.
The two end up on a series of terrible dates (with other people) which end up being an odd courtship between them. I loved the humor and the pure acceptance between these two.
This is the first Christina Lauren book I’ve actually read. I have a bunch on my TBR list and own a bunch, but I have always set those aside to read something else. Why did I decide on this one? Because the hero is Korean American. I thought the interracial romance was handled well.
My only complaint about the story was the ending and the epilogue. I’m not a fan of leaving obvious story points unfinished and them coming back in the epilogue to give answers. I love epilogues, but personally prefer that the story be complete without it and then have the epilogue as a bonus. But that is a quibble with what was a wonderful, light and fun romance.
WORTH MENTIONING: The story is told in alternating first person points of view.
CONNECTED BOOKS: JOSH + HAZEL’S GUIDE TO NOT DATING is a standalone.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to help prepare this review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.