Tuesday, September 4, 2018

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

Title: Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating
Author: Christina Lauren
Series? No
Pages: 320
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: I received an e-arc of Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Netgalley and Gallery Books!

Most men can’t handle Hazel. With the energy of a toddler and the mouth of a sailor, they’re often too timid to recognize her heart of gold. New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Roomies, Beautiful Bastard) tells the story of two people who are definitely not dating, no matter how often they end up in bed together.

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?

This summer, I started reading more romance novels. Before the summer, I read romance novels here and there, but never actively kept up. After reading Roomies and Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren and loving them, I had to request Josh and Hazel's Guide on NetGalley.  I was delighted when I was approved, and thank goodness I was! At the time of finishing the book, and now months later, Josh and Hazel's Guide is one of my favorite from the author duo. 

If you have been following my readings tastes these past years, you won't be surprised when I say that I love romantic tropes. That is, if they are done well. Josh and Hazel aren't love interests right away. Instead, they are best friends who set each other up on blind dates. Combine the "best friends to lovers" trope with Christina Lauren's magnetic writing and hilarious blind dates, and you've got a wonderful novel. 

As of September 3rd, I've read several of Christina Lauren's books. This includes:
  1. Beautiful Bastard
  2. Beautiful Stranger
  3. Roomies
  4. Autoboyography
  5. Dating You / Hating You
I read all these books this year, so while I'm not a long-time fan of Christina Lauren, I am now familiar with their work. All five of the books, except for Autoboyography (which is a gem!!), are adult romance novels. It is without question that Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating is my favorite adult romance novel from the writing duo. I don't know about favorite all the time, but it would be a very tight race between Autoboyography and Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating. Out of the list, Josh and Hazel's Guide stands out to me. Yes, I recommend all the books, but Josh and Hazel's story has been the closest to perfection for me. 

What makes Josh and Hazel's Guide stand out was the perfect balance among drama, romance, comedy, and more emotional moments. With other romance novels, the never ending drama and non-stop sex scenes can grate on my nerves, the humor doesn't work, etc. Surprisingly, and much to my pleasure, Josh and Hazel's Guide worked perfectly for me. There were times I was laughing out loud and other times where my heart ached for Josh and Hazel. 

There is only one teeny tiny speck that detracts from what would be a five-star book, and it happens near the end of the book. There is a revelation, and if you read the book you will know what I'm talking about, that I found to be cliche. I think Hazel should have been immediately upfront about it once she found out, instead of waiting for reassurance. Then, what happened after was just too cheesy for my taste. It felt too...perfect? Tidy? Thankfully, there was an epilogue that did warm my heart and left a much better taste in my mouth. 

Besides the revelation in act three, Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating was a compelling, heartwarming, and laugh out loud romance novel. If you are new to the romance genre, new to Christina Lauren, or a lover of one or the other (or both!), I recommend this book to you. Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating is one of my favorite books of the year, and I know that I'll be rereading this in due time. 

With that, I give 
Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating
4.5 out of 5 Flowers!


  1. This sounds so cute! I haven't read a good contemporary romance in a while (mainly because I've been on a huge fantasy reread binge for the past 4 months) and this sounds like the perfect book to break that spell. I haven't read any of Christina Lauren's work yet and it sounds like she's definitely an author to follow :) Lovely review, Genni!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. I actually recommend any of Christina Lauren! I will say though, that Beautiful Bastard is by far the author duo's weakest book. Out of the ones I have read, at least! I hadn't read her until this summer, and I am so glad I did. :) I hope you love her books Laura! Thank you for visiting! <3

  2. I went 4.5 on this too. I didn't quite think they needed that "speck" near the end, but the very end was so wonderful, it more than made up for it. I laughed so much reading this book, and the happy tears soaked my face. It was wonderful!

    1. I completely agree Sam! When it happened, I thought it was cheesy, but the epilogue was just so lovely, and you can't have one without the other! Thanks for stopping by!!

  3. I've read a lot of adult romances this summer too! I've only read Roomies by the pair and I couldn't enjoy it (at the time I worked in the international Visa world so the premise rubbed me the wrong way).

    I feel you about cheesy endings though! I listened a sample or the audio book and I really want to check it out now.

    Fab review Genni!

    1. I remember you mentioning your distaste for the plot of Roomies! There’s nothing like that in Josh and Hazels, so you’ll probably have a better time! I hope you like it Amber Elise!

  4. This sounds interesting. I absolutely love the title. XD I'm not really into romance, but I could give this a try. Nice review!

    1. The title drew me in as well! It is pretty romance heavy, so I wouldn't want you to make yourself read something you aren't necessarily interested in. :) Thanks for stopping by!