This is a difficult review to write as I adored The Love Hypothesis and also many of Hazelwood’s novellas including Below Zero. As a result, I pre-ordered Love on the Brain as soon as its adorable cover was revealed. I was literally counting down the days until its release. There’s evidence of me squealing with delight when it was finally delivered over on my Instagram Story. TLH was not without its faults (I personally find the miscommunication trope incredibly frustrating), however, the book reignited my love for romantic comedies, plus the women in STEM aspect was really interesting and totally unique to anything I’d previously read. It was a goofy and sweet read. A fun way to spend the weekend. That’s why it pains me to admit how disappointing I found Love on the Brain.
“Like an avenging, purple-haired Jedi bringing balance to the mansplained universe, Bee Königswasser lives by a simple code: What would Marie Curie do? If NASA offered her the lead on a neuroengineering project-a literal dream come true after years scraping by on the crumbs of academia-Marie would accept without hesitation. Duh. But the mother of modern physics never had to co-lead with Levi Ward.
Sure, Levi is attractive in a tall, dark, and piercing-eyes kind of way. And sure, he caught her in his powerfully corded arms like a romance novel hero when she accidentally damseled in distress on her first day in the lab. But Levi made his feelings toward Bee very clear in grad school-archenemies work best employed in their own galaxies far, far away.”
I really tried to get swept away in the hype and enjoy the book for what it is – a cutesy, slightly spicy, contemporary romantic comedy. Unfortunately, I found it infuriating. Love on the Brain takes the miscommunication trope to a whole other level. So much so that I couldn’t help but think that the two main characters (Bee a highly regarded neuroscientist and Levi a high-ranking engineer at NASA) were so incredibly… dumb. Both are unable to decipher any type of social cue, they never ask any questions, they make bizarre assumptions and ignore every scrap of evidence that they are presented with. I found their whole journey drawn out, predictable and frustrating. If you’re expecting enemies-to-lovers you’ll be disappointed as it’s clear to everyone (except Bee) that Levi has been head-over-heels with her since the minute he laid eyes on her in college.
Our FMC Bee (or Olive 2.0) is the ‘quirky girl’ who constantly bursts into tears. Despite her past trauma, she sobs at the mere thought of roadkill and faints at the sight of a child’s soft toy. Once again, Hazelwood repeatedly emphasises how tiny her physique is as if it is her one defining feature. It’s becoming a pet peeve of mine in romance books (see The Hating Game). Once you notice just how many times her size is mentioned you’ll be unable to focus on anything else – trust me. The constant pop culture references also made me cringe and what was with the repetitive use of ‘™’ ? Don’t get me started on the Twitter fiasco and the ‘plot twist’ at the end.
As I’ve mentioned previously – I love fluffy cliché rom coms! Book Lovers, It Happened One Summer, The Fine Print, The Roommate and, yes, The Love Hypothesis are among some of my favorites, however, I found Love on the Brain predictable, flat and disappointing.