Review: LOVE ON THE BRAIN by Ali Hazelwood
Also by this author: The Love Hypothesis
Published by Berkley Books on August 23, 2022
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction
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FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Ali Hazelwood’s debut novel The Love Hypothesis was one of my favorite reads from last year, and I’m happy to report that her latest “STEMinist” rom-com, Love on the Brain is just as hilarious and steamy as its predecessor. I devoured the book in less than a day and closed it with a satisfied smile on my face.
Love on the Brain follows Bee Königswasser, an up-and-coming neuroscientist whose hero is Marie Curie, the mother of modern physics. When NASA offers Bee the chance of a lifetime, to lead a huge neuroengineering project, she of course says yes, without hesitation. But then she learns who she will be working with – her archnemesis from grad school, Levi Ward. After years of loathing Levi and knowing he feels the same way, Bee can’t imagine a worst case scenario than being stuck working with him for three months. But at the same time, it’s her dream project so she reluctantly packs her bags and heads to NASA Headquarters in Houston.
I absolutely adored Bee. She’s brilliant, quirky, and just flat out hilarious. She’s also tough and independent, which I loved, but at the same time, there’s a vulnerability to her that made her especially appealing and relatable. Her parents died when she was very young, and she and her twin sister were bounced around from one extended family member to another throughout their childhood. Bee never stayed in one place and has grown up craving stability and a place where she can put down roots. A horrible fiancé who left her at the altar has also put her off romance of any kind.
Levi was also a wonderful character, even though I kind of wanted to punch him in the face when Bee recounts her horribly awkward first encounter with him when they were in grad school and how it became the start of their mutual hatred of one another. As we get to know Levi though, it becomes clear that while he may be the King of Awkward when it comes to Bee, it is not his hatred of Bee that makes him act so cold and aloof around her.
I’m not sure if I would call this enemies-to-lovers or more of a miscommunication trope, but either way, I was here for it. I loved watching Bee and Levi slowly get to know each other better, and especially for Bee to realize that her initial perception of Levi was completely wrong. They work together well professionally, the banter between them is hilarious and flirty, and the sexual chemistry between them is off the charts. I flew through the pages just waiting for the moment when they finally couldn’t resist each other any longer.
Love on the Brain is also filled with some pretty great side characters as well. I adored Bee’s research assistant, Rocio, who is just as quirky as Bee but with a darker sense of humor. Bee’s twin sister, Reike, is also a fun, free-spirited counterpoint to Bee and often brings levity to the conversation when Bee is mid existential crisis.
If you like quirky STEM heroines, witty banter, and plenty of steam in your rom-coms, you’ll definitely want to check out Love on the Brain! 4.5 STARS