Book Review: Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating ★★★

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“But at the end of the day,” she says, and puts her hand outside the open window, letting the wind pass through her fingers, “being myself is enough. I’m enough.”

Well well well, look who’s on a kick of fun and flirty lighthearted romance novels. It’s me. I’m on the kick.

No regrets!

This book was really cute. There were parts that I really enjoyed, there were parts that were pretty damn swoony, and there were parts that annoyed me. Ultimately, I did like this one better than The Unhoneymooners, but it was very close. I ended up giving this one 3.5 stars, as well, but I did like it just a smidge more.

As I’ve said, this book was really fun and easy to just fly through. I love that Christina Lauren’s books are so fast-paced and engaging. They are the perfect palette cleanser and are just what I need to scratch that rom-com itch I get sometimes. I really enjoy my time reading them and I will certainly continue to pick them up, when I have the chance!

This book features an elementary school teacher who doesn’t realize her best friend’s brother is the guy she’s had a thing for since college. After having sufficiently embarrassed herself in front of him back in college, making her “undateable” in her eyes, she vows to become BFFs with him when they meet again 10 years later. Cue the “we’re just best friends and we certainly don’t have feelings for each other” dating shenanigans.

I liked this set up and the story that unfolded between Josh and Hazel. It was really funny seeing them go on so many bad double dates while trying to deny their growing feelings for each other. Some of the situations and timelines for events felt rather rushed, though, and I think the book could have benefited from being longer. I would have liked to see more time taken to really develop the relationship and show us how the two characters experience the bad dates, which in turn bring them closer and closer together.

As characters, I liked Josh and Hazel more than I did Olive and Ethan from The Unhoneymooners, but I did still have a few issues with them. And really, they were the same kind of issues. I wasn’t a huge fan of how Quirky Hazel was. The whole message of wanting someone to love you for who you are is great and all, but there is nothing cute about being messy, inconsiderate, and obnoxious. I wish the authors would tone down that aspect in future characters to make them more realistic and make it so they are not trying too hard. I also found it really annoying how often Hazel would bring up the fact that she was so silly and so eccentric and so much to handle and so hard to love and soooo undateable. Going hand in hand with the too quirky bit, it was just over the top (it was like Jess from New Girl before the producers/writers realized it was annoying and dialed her back a bit). Josh was the better character of the two and I very much appreciated the care the authors took with his Korean heritage, as well. It was very well integrated and respectfully portrayed.

Something I loved about this one, was how steamy it got after the two characters started hooking up together. The scenes here were WAY more realistic and well written than the ones in The Unhoneymooners and I really enjoyed them. I liked how they didn’t shy away from real-life situations that people often get into and have to deal with. That being said, the ending/epilogue was far too Hallmark-from-the-eighties for my personal taste. I know women can have different ideas about what a Happy Ending entails, but this was a little too perfect and neatly wrapped up. I know it was what Hazel had hinted she wanted, but it kind of came out of nowhere for Josh. It seemed a little rushed. I didn’t enjoy that their issues were not resolved until after Josh found out, which made it seem like that was the only reason everything was working out like it did.

Overall, I liked this funny, light, and fun romance. It was a great time and I will certainly read more of Christina Lauren’s work in the future.

I wonder what Hazel would have named me!

Thank you for reading!

Title: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating
Author: Christina Lauren
Genre: Romance| Contemporary | Chick Lit | Adult Romance | Humor
Publication Date: September 4th, 2018
Page Count: 309 pages
Buy It: Wordery Book Depository

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