Review: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Star rating: 3.5 ⭐ / 5 ⭐

Synopsis: from StoryGraph

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?

General information: This book was published in September 2018 by Gallery Books.

My thoughts:

I think I’m slowly turning into a Christina Lauren fan! This book had a lot to live up to, though, because The Unhoneymooners was one of my favorite books that I read in 2020 and In a Holidaze was another 5-star read for me.

I really enjoyed Josh and Hazel’s friendship-turned-romance. It was very sweet and I loved how Josh just accepted Hazel as she was. Hazel was a character who kind of grated on me at first, but grew on me as I kept reading. It seems like that may have been intentional, though.

I actually really came to love Hazel’s character. She’s the typically klutzy and messy heroine, but she’s not expected to change or be anyone other than herself. I loved their chemistry, too. I was really rooting for them by the end, even though they had the typical just-talk-to-each-other miscommunication issues.

I did have a couple of quibbles with the book, though. There’s this whole minor plot point around how Hazel can’t (either can’t or won’t) say Josh’s Korean name correctly and that kind of got on my nerves. It should just be common courtesy to make an effort to say someone’s name correctly.

I also had an issue with the way that one character’s alcohol problem was depicted. It seemed to be used for comedic value which I didn’t like. I guess I just don’t find alcoholism to be a source of humor.

I still enjoyed the book, don’t get me wrong! Those two things just bothered me. They aren’t major facets of the book, so I didn’t take off more stars for them, but they were problems for me nonetheless.

Overall, this was a cute and steamy romance that I’d recommend if that’s what you’re looking for! I got it from my library but I don’t plan on buying my own copy just yet.

Content warnings: Sexual content, infidelity, alcoholism, blood

Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!