cover image Love, Theoretically

Love, Theoretically

Ali Hazelwood. Berkley, $17 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-593-33686-1

Bestseller Hazelwood (Loathe to Love You) delivers a decidedly quirky and thoroughly charming tale. The fake dating trope gets a techy update via Faux, an app connecting clients with pretend partners for hire, through which Boston adjunct professor Elsie Hannaway finds side gigs while she searches for a better-paying job in theoretical physics. While interviewing for her dream job at MIT, Elsie’s worlds collide: her favorite fake-dating client’s brother, whom she knew as Jack Smith, is actually Dr. Jonathan Smith-Turner, a legendary young physicist whose views are at odds with Elsie’s. The ensuing STEM-themed enemies-to-lovers romance is simply a delight, though it’s complicated by the fact that Jack believes Elsie is his brother’s girlfriend. Meanwhile, sunshiny Elsie’s imposter syndrome rings true as she navigates the cutthroat world of academia (“STEM academia is 98 percent politics and 1 percent science”) and learns that her mentor and idol has feet of clay. Geeky science jokes, humorous student emails, and expertly delivered snarky banter enhance the narrative. Readers will cheer for Jack and Elsie and their bumpy road to happily ever after. Agent: Thao Le, Sandra Dijkstra Literary. (June)