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

Synopsis

“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?”

-Synopsis from Goodreads

Review

Cover of Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Cover image from Amazon

Short Take

I absolutely loved this book! This was my first Christina Lauren read, and it won’t be my last. There was so much to love about this book and I was hooked from the very first chapter.

Characters

I liked Hazel immediately. She is quirky and unique but most importantly, she is hilarious. She knows that some people may refer to her as “eccentric” and she even refers to herself as that on a few occasions but I don’t know that I would call her that.

She’s her true authentic self, from her unique clothes to the way she speaks. I saw her as someone who knows one hundred percent who she is. She takes after her mom in that respect, who is also a woman with a strong personality that many men have shied away from. Hazel’s positive relationship with her mom and their banter and the way they interact was a joy to see.

Josh and his sister Emily were so great. I know that a lot of readers fell so hard for Josh in this book. I really, really liked him, but he also seemed like a regular dude to me? He is sensitive and caring and an all-around good guy, but that wasn’t exactly ground-breaking to me. I don’t mean this in a negative way at all. The way he protects and stands up for Hazel was more than enough to win me over!

“He’s just lovely. Loyal, and aware, and kind, and thoughtful. I sort of worship him…I know I’m like Pig-Pen in Charlie Brown, and I have chaos around me, but it’s like he doesn’t even care. He doesn’t need me to change or pretend to be someone else. He’s my person. He’s my best friend.”

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

Writing Style

As I mentioned above this was my first encounter with Christina Lauren’s writing style. I loved the witty dialogue and short descriptions (of everything from Hazel’s clothes, to each character’s mannerism, to settings) and the way Hazel and Josh’s characters changed over the course of the book.

I am a fan of writing that is concise and to the point and that is exactly what was delivered. I think that some people may refer to this book as “chick lit” but I don’t really like that phrase. I think contemporary romance is a much better fit. The writing was smart and witty and the plot was very realistic.

Final Thoughts

I was so thrilled with how the story ended. It isn’t often that we get to see what happens after the story, but the epilogue takes the reader into the future, and I am still thinking about how sweet it was weeks later.

I would recommend this to anyone looking for an uplifting, funny book that will leave you smiling.

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