Author: Ali Hazelwood
What I’m Talking About:
Ten months ago, Elsie graduated with a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Northeastern. She doesn’t make enough as an adjunct professor, so she’s got a side hustle working for Faux (app) as a fake girlfriend. There is something off-putting about her favorite client’s brother, Jack. She can’t read him and be the best Elsie for him like she does with everyone else.
Elsie applies for a full-time job with MIT and discovers that Jack is none other than Jonathan Smith-Turner, the experimental physicist that ruined her mentor’s career. She’s determined to get the job to show Jack and all experimental physicist that theoretical physicists are not fake scientists.
Love, Theoretically is another delightful, standalone STEM-based romance from Ms. Hazelwood. Falling in the enemies-to-lovers trope, Elsie and Jack’s romance takes time to slowly develop, simmering until it explodes. There is a lot going on outside of the romance, yet it impacts their relationship, and as the story unfolds, the larger picture is slowly revealed.
At first, I didn’t care for Elsie. She is quick to assume, not listening to others because she “already knows.” She evaluates everyone and gives them the Elsie she thinks they want, never disagreeing or being her real self. Additionally, she wants Jack to suffer for his part in ruining the careers of several theoretical physicists, including her mentor, and her fantasies would go a bit too far. While there were times I didn’t much like Elsie, I came to love and respect her over the course of the story. The author spends a lot of time helping the reader understand Elsie’s issues and insecurities, both via her own revelations and via Jack’s love and affection. Watching Elsie evolve over the course of the book is heartbreaking and beautiful.
Jack is a saint. Although we don’t get his POV, it’s obvious he cares. There are little things the reader realizes Jack is doing for Elsie, to be kind to her, sprinkled in here and there. Jack recognizes his obsession for Elsie right from the start. At first it’s physical yet completely intangible, but then he gets to know her and it’s passion and love. He’s protective.
While there is a lot of jargon and science, I’m a STEM nerd and enjoyed it. I don’t think the book would have been as good with a dumbed-down vocabulary. In the end, I enjoyed both the romance and character growth of Elsie and Jack and recommend Love, Theoretically.
My Rating: A-/B+
About the Book:
The many lives of theoretical physicist Elsie Hannaway have finally caught up with her. By day, she’s an adjunct professor, toiling away at grading labs and teaching thermodynamics in the hopes of landing tenure. By other day, Elsie makes up for her non-existent paycheck by offering her services as a fake girlfriend, tapping into her expertly honed people pleasing skills to embody whichever version of herself the client needs.
Honestly, it’s a pretty sweet gig—until her carefully constructed Elsie-verse comes crashing down. Because Jack Smith, the annoyingly attractive and broody older brother of her favorite client, turns out to be the cold-hearted experimental physicist who ruined her mentor’s career and undermined the reputation of theorists everywhere. And that same Jack who now sits on the hiring committee at MIT, right between Elsie and her dream job.
Elsie is prepared for an all-out war of scholarly sabotage but…those long, penetrating looks? Not having to be anything other than her true self when she’s with him? Will falling into an experimentalist’s orbit finally tempt her to put her most guarded theories on love into practice?
Release Date: June 13, 2023
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format(s): paperback (400 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Amazon (affiliate link)
Other Stories from this Author:
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood (Standalone)
Under One Roof by Ali Hazelwood (The STEMinist #1) – Audiobook Review
Stuck with You by Ali Hazelwood (The STEMinist #2) – Audiobook Review
Below Zero by Ali Hazelwood (The STEMinist #3) – Audiobook Review
Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood (Standalone)