Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.
Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.
Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?
I’ve only read one YA novel by this author duo but I loved it so much and was very excited to receive this eARC. If their adult romances are as fun as this book, I really have to go back and read all their other titles.
Hazel is the definition of quirky, has no filter on her mouth and we can never guess what she will do when she gets drunk. This obviously puts a damper on her dating life because all guys seem to like her eccentricities initially but eventually want her to tame down. Despite seeming wild, she is actually a wonderful person, a true friend with a heart of gold and very strong in her convictions that she doesn’t need to change herself for any man.
Josh is the calm to her storm, very put together, stable with a cool head, a traditional family man in every way. But he is also devastated after finding about his cheating ex-girlfriend and is low on confidence about putting himself out there and loving again.
I loved how Hazel just decided to force herself on Josh as his new friend to get him out of his post breakup funk. They form a tentative friendship which quickly turns into easy companionship due to their proximity as “temporary roommates”. They also decide to set each other up because they can’t date each other. Their double dates are hilarious, always ending in unexpected disasters but it’s so obvious that their solid friendship is a strong foundation for something more. Their falling in love feels so inevitable because they are perfect for each other – she brings fun and light to his ordered life and he truly admires her, eccentricities and all.
The side characters are so wonderful and loving. Josh’s sister Emily who also happens to be Hazel’s best friend is a slightly pushy sibling but an excellent confidant to both, wanting best for them but never taking anyone’s side. Her husband Dave is very funny and I loved the dinner parties and conversations at their house. Both Josh and Hazel’s mothers are so adorable, just wanting their kids to settle down but also find someone truly worth their love. It was great to see such beautiful family dynamics.
The ending is actually quite predictable and I would have liked something a little different. But on the whole, this is a very entertaining rom-com with extrememly endearing characters who will make you laugh out loud many times. Definitely recommend to anyone who wants to read a feel good friends to lovers romance.
P.S: Thanks to Gallery Books and Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy. All opinions are my own.