I picked this up because it kept coming up in CBR14 reviews. After researching it a little bit, it seems that it is hugely popular. I was intrigued to find out what made it more than the average romcom-type romance. Plus I was very curious to find out whatever it has to do with ReyLo.
Olive, a struggling biology grad student, kisses a random guy in her lab, her intent being to show her best friend that she has completely moved on from her ex so that her best friend can date said-ex without any guilt. Following me so far? Good. What starts out as an impulsive act to spare her friend’s feelings ends up turning into months of fake-dating random lab guy. Who, it turns out, is shockingly not some random dude, but instead Adam Carlson, the moody prof loathed and feared by 90% of Olive’s fellow grad students. Adam is a brilliant, moody, scathing asshole with the good looks and physique to rival Jason Momoa. As Olive and Adam fall deeper into relationship fakery, Olive’s remaining sense seems to evaporate as it seems she would rather impale herself on flaming spikes than put her feelings or basic survival needs above anyone else.
I find Olive very tedious. She is supposed to be cute, hapless, determined, and a very serious science person who has no time to worry about her feelings or how her impulsive actions continue to make her life more and more difficult. Perhaps her lack of basic nutrition and absence of sleep led her to this point, but I found her juvenile behavior and lack of any sort of critical thinking difficult to endure.
The good: This book touches on topics that resonated with me, such as Title IX cases, discrimination based on gender, slut shaming, how fucking hard it is to get through a graduate program and the little things; the small but persistent slights that wear away at you day after day. I loved the part about Anh and Olive needing their own stash of small gloves because the lab did not keep them stocked for the abysmally low number of female graduate students enrolled in the program.
The bad: Adam Carlson is a hunk. And a dick. But he somehow likes Olive. We never find out why. Just that he is gentle and kind to her and not to anyone else. This is well-trodden territory. Olive keeps talking about how funny he is. Sure, if you say so girl. Oh Olive….reading about you is just so tedious. I want you to be happy but honestly, I just want you to use that brain that everyone in this book seems to think is so brilliant.