Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Review: Josh & Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Josh & Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Published: September 4, 2018 by Gallery Books
About the book:

Most men can’t handle Hazel. With the energy of a toddler and the mouth of a sailor, they’re often too timid to recognize her heart of gold. JOSH AND HAZEL’S GUIDE TO NOT DATING tells the story of two people who are definitely not dating, no matter how often they end up in bed together.

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?

Move over all previous Christina Lauren books, because here comes a new favorite!! As soon as I got my hands on a new installment from the writing duo CLo, I stopped what I was doing (or reading, I should say) and cracked this baby open. I didn't want to stop until I was finished! Wait, no. I lied. I read so painstakingly slow because I DID NOT WANT IT TO END. Y'all, this adult contemporary ball of swoony goodness is everything I love about this powerhouse writing team. It is MAGIC.

We first get to know Josh and Hazel during their college years. Though their first meeting is brief, it is still very much impressionable and the type of first encounters that lingers in your mind. As the story progresses and we meet a more grown up version of Josh and Hazel, there's an instant spark, the one you saw ignite early on and have been slowly watching as it spreads... hot... hotter... INSANELY HOT! GET THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER HOT! *fans self*

The relationship of just friends, but you know -- good lord, do you KNOW -- that it's something so much more than just friends, is the best part about this entire story. As the reader, it's so obvious how they feel about one another. But it's the journey, as we sit back and watch these two characters come to that realization on their own terms, that fulfills this story on such a crave-worthy destination. Not once did I find myself yelling at the characters to figure out the obvious. I truly enjoyed their discoveries, in their own time.

I like the risks these characters take. Hazel has always been carefree and extravagant. While Josh has been the more reserved, careful one. You would think they'd mix like oil and water. But there's a beauty in the connection they make, first as friends, then as something so much deeper and just more. I found myself having the Wild Seasons vibes (a previous Christina Lauren series that I absolutely adore and reread constantly), but mixed with a more emotional twist. I've already pre-ordered a signed copy and plan to reread this novel when it arrives. THAT is how much I love it.

Josh and Hazel, you are yet another shining example of the brilliance that evolves from Christina and Lauren's beautiful, creative minds.

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to this one. I haven't read any Christina Lauren yet.


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