Re-reading the Harry Potter books is a massive task. I love Harry Potter, but I needed a break from the fantasy world. This is partly due to reading Hedwig’s death in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows because Hedwig’s death is more emotional in the book than how it’s portrayed in the movie. I decided reading a romance book would be the perfect way to alleviate my sadness. I purchased Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating back in February for my trip to Orlando. Whenever I fly, I don’t like to pack books because they’re heavy and take up too much space in my luggage. Despite purchasing this book eight months ago, I finally finished it this month. Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating is one of the best romance / contemporary novels I have ever read and is a contendor in being the best book I read in 2019.
Hazel Bradford is an eccentric, quirky elementary school teacher. She has a foray of pets living in her one bedroom apartment in Portland including a fish named Daniel Craig. Many men Hazel has dated feel she’s a little “much” for them. Hazel reconnects with Josh Im, who she originally met in college by puking on his shoes. Josh is the brother to Hazel’s best friend and he’s more mellow than Hazel. After Josh finds out his girlfriend is cheating on him, Hazel sets him up on a date. This leads to both Josh and Hazel double dating with the people they set each other up with. Hazel and Josh start to enjoy their company together, but are they meant to be together?
One reason I instantly became attached to this book is it reminds me of my relationship. I’m the one who has my head in the clouds. I talk about all the traveling I want to do in my lifetime whereas my fiance is the rational one. Can I afford to travel? How much do I have in my 401k? I believe this is the reason we work well together. I lift my fiance up in the air with me, but he brings me down to earth. Hazel and Josh’s relationship is similar to my relationship in real life.
Hazel is a character I want to be best friends with in real life. Hazel doesn’t conform or change her personality for any of her romantic partners. In one instance, Hazel goes on a date wearing a cow print tank top, a denim skirt and green cowboy boots. This is an outfit I would never forsee myself wearing, but I think it’s endearing how Hazel is who she is. Josh is the complete opposite of Hazel as he’s quiet, resolved and put together. He’s a genuinely great guy and deserves to feel appreciated in any relationship he’s in.
The chemistry between Hazel and Josh is on fire. Their flirty banter feels authentic, but not over the top. The sex scenes are perfectly written as they are “sexy” but they aren’t raunchy either. It’s enough to get a little hot and bothered, but not feeling gross while reading.
In the last quarter of the book, the plot takes a personal turn. I’m not going to reveal what this is because it would be a huge spoiler. Many reviews I read toward Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating is that this plot twist is unnecessary and dramatic. I personally disagree. I believe the book does a beautiful job highlighting this personal experience many women have gone through. My spoiler filled review of this book is on my goodreads account if you feel inclined to read what this event happens to be.
Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating is an adorable, personal contemporary novel. Hazel and Josh are well crafted characters and their dating experiences are awkward, yet realistic. This book warrents a re-read for me and I wish Christina Lauren would write a sequel all about Hazel & Josh raising their kids. I would buy it in a heartbeat.