#BookTok, 5 Star Reads, Book Reviews, Romance Novels

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

Image: Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

Synopsis: Bee Königswasser is a badass neuroscientist with a secret viral Twitter account, @What Would Marie Curie Do, that gives advice to women in STEM fields who have to deal with the trials and pressures of navigating a male-dominated field. Bee encounters her greatest professional and personal challenge yet when she is offered the job to co-lead the project of a lifetime at NASA. There’s just one problem. She’ll have to lead with her grad school nemesis, Levi Ward.

Levi’s dislike for Bee was common knowledge in their grad program, although Bee never quite understood why. All she knows is that in the present, she’s trying to collaborate with a man who is entirely unhelpful in matters of ignorant male engineers, missing equipment, and scientific politics. But the project might not survive if Levi and Bee can’t learn to see eye to eye. As much as Bee would like to ignore her brooding, removed and definitely not smolderingly green-eyed handsome coworker, she might not have a choice. Will putting these two on the same page bring them together? Or is it a recipe for disaster?

Review: Five stars! I am shamelessly going to say that I have so much fun reading Love on the Brain. It was silly, thoughtful, and at times so cringe that I had to put the book down for several seconds and take a deep breath. But in a real world where personal relationships can be serious and extremely complicated, sometimes I want to read a book that is unapologetically sweet and perhaps unrealistic. I sat down on a Thursday evening with the intention of starting the book, but five hours later I was on the last page and realized I’d in fact spent my whole evening immersed.

Main characters Levi and Bee are polar opposites in disposition, with Bee being a lovely whirlwind of sunshine and Levi being moody and distant. However, there’s more that aligns them than on may think. They’re both cat lovers and think that The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars film. So, basically, they’re a match made in heaven.

The plot was extremely predictable. I knew who the bad guy would be and what the final ‘all is lost’ twist would be from the first chapter fo the story. Did this lessen my enjoyment? Not at all. Reading a book like Love on the Brain means knowing that you’re rooting for two characters who will get together because that’s just what the story is about. This book is about falling in love, and it will focus on that and you won’t be surprised that it does.

This book is simply an entertaining read. Even readers who have never read a romance book in their life will so clearly see that Levi has a thing for Bee from the first moment they meet. The characters banter and every moment of near honesty is met with the classic interruption before the big reveal is shared. Levi and Bee circumstantially don’t learn the truth about one another for quite a long time, and this leads to a serious slow burn.

In my review of Hazelwood’s other work The Love Hypothesis, I spoke about how the title IX jokes did not sit right with me. I was glad to avoid that harassment humor here, and to enjoy a romance where there isn’t some sort of weird power dynamic going on. This isn’t to say that every joke in Love on the Brain landed for me and felt necessary, but there were no recurring harassment jokes in this one.

Hazelwood again brings in the discussion of what it is like to be a woman in male-dominated STEM fields, this time focusing more on what this looks like in the workplace than in academia. She also tackles the topic of problematic entrance tests that keep capable students out of academia, which is a super important discussion that I was glad appeared in this book.

I’m giving Love on the Brain an un-critical five stars, meaning this rating is based off of my giddy enjoyment of the cheesy tropes and the abundant Star Wars references woven into the text. This book is a fun one.

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