An 18+ deep dive into the Ali Hazelwood literary universe

Ali Hazelwood is an Italian author/neuroscientist who writes romance novels centered around women in STEM. My first introduction to Hazelwood was through one of her “STEMinist novellas” titled Under One Roof. It is the first installment in a series of three short novellas following three, “friends first, scientists always” who find love. 

After reading Stuck with You, I was hooked. Hazelwood’s novels are deliciously corny, mind-bendingly fun, and unfathomably millennial. They are also filled to the brim with interesting adverbs, some of which I’ve used in the sentence above.

After reading all of her published books, I noticed a pattern. Hazelwood definitely either has a thing for very large men, or writes specifically for people who like very large men. For example, Adam from The Love Hypothesis, Hazelwood’s first novel, is described putting the main character’s entire boob in his mouth, and his hands are so big that one knuckle was “almost too much.” 

To be candid with you, reader, some of the sex scenes featured in canon horrified me. I, for one, do not love the idea of constantly struggling during sex because of my partner’s massiveness. I also do not like the idea of someone’s hand being big enough to cover my entire stomach. That just sounds impractical; imagine trying to knit this man a pair of mittens.

Hazelwood’s books also always feature an enemies to lovers storyline. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate this trope, but I don’t love it when the protagonist is being completely unreasonable. 

In Under One Roof, main character Mara inherits half of a house from her past thesis advisor whom she had a close relationship with. She wants to move into the house because of its proximity to her new job, but unfortunately Liam Harding already lives there and doesn’t want a roommate. Although Liam offers her way over asking price for her half of the house, Mara refuses. She insists on living in the house with him, in hopes that she can buy him out later on. Keep in mind that this house belonged to his family and the thesis advisor was his aunt.

Although the premise was obvious from the start, and it was a fun play on the forced proximity trope, I did not like how unreasonable Mara was. It was hard for me to root for her. 

All of Ali Hazelwood’s protagonists tend to be very self-deprecating. They often rule out the possibility that their crush likes them back because of a bunch of nonsense reasons. I prefer to see girls knowing their worth. 

My favourite of Hazelwood’s books is Love on the Brain, following neuroscientist Bee Königswasser and Levi Ward, who reunite at NASA after being grad school enemies. The book plays on a trope also found in You’ve Got Mail, where the two “rivals” learn they have been chatting anonymously the entire time. The book has a killer love confession scene involving the admission of a years-long crush. 

My least favourite Hazelwood book would likely be Below Zero, the third installment of her STEMinist novella series. I did not like it because the love interest basically stalks the main girl after crushing on her for years because of a single meeting. The sex scene also features the love interest comparing different parts of the protagonist’s body to different landscapes on Mars. It is cringey to say the least. 

Overall, Ali Hazelwood books are great for people who love to read steamy romances. They are funny, and I believe I am  aware of the corniness. They are great to read in between the intense books you may have coming up this term.

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