Review: Josh + Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Published: September 4th, 2018

Pages: 309

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: Hazel is at a party at her best friend’s house celebrating her new position as 3rd grade teacher when she runs into Josh, a college crush that she hasn’t seen in years. Hazel declares that she will become his best friend, so the pair starts to hang out and get to know each other. To help Josh get over his cheating ex-girlfriend, the two go on a series of double blind dates.

Non- Spoiler Review:

I have read multiple other books by Christina Lauren, but wow, this is one blows the others away!! I listened to the audiobook for this and normally when I’m listening to an audiobook, I’ll play a game or use a coloring app on my phone, but for this one, I was so engrossed that I just listened (until 3:30 in the morning, I might add). The concept of this book isn’t groundbreaking, but the execution was just so good. It has alternating chapters from Josh and Hazel, which I think works so well in romance because you can see the relationship from all sides. I also thought the characters were really interesting. Hazel is so unapologetically herself, from her loud outfits to her mass quantity of pets of with funky names, and I loved it! She knows who she is and she doesn’t let other people bring her down just because she’s not ‘normal’. I feel like most of the romance I’ve read, the main man is always kind of a jerk in some way or another, but Josh is just so nice in the best way. He respects people and always has Hazel’s best interest in mind. The progression of their relationship was so exciting and well timed! There was a solid foundation of friendship laid down before either had serious romantic feelings.

The side characters were fine, but I don’t really expect much from side characters in romance since I’m here for the main couple. My one complaint, if you can even call it that, was the ending. The problem they had to overcome, without saying what it is, is something I don’t personally like seeing in romance books and it felt like not enough time was really spent on the solution to that situation. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I really need to own a copy.

One other thing about this book before I get to spoilers is that Todd Haberkorn narrates Josh’s chapters and my past anime-obsessed self was screaming the whole time because he does a lot of anime voice acting and I could not get that out of my head.

SPOILERS:

The “situation” at the end that I mentioned above was Hazel’s pregnancy. I personally don’t ever want kids, so this is always a tough thing for me to relate to, especially because some authors tend to use kids as a kind of end goal for happiness in relationships. Don’t get me wrong, anyone who wants kids is completely valid, it’s just that I can’t relate. In terms of the book, I feel like Hazel’s whole bleeding dilemma wasn’t explained enough. Obviously, she was fine because of the events mentioned in the epilogue, but I felt like it was too vague about what actually happened. There was no actual resolution since the main story kind of just…ended.

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