Synopsis from Goodreads
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 book is categorized as contemporary romance on Goodreads. I don’t tend to read much romance, contemporary or otherwise, and based on the description provided I was a little afraid this was going to be like Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist (by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan) which I absolutely did not like at all (one my few one star reviews on Goodreads). However, this one made its way on to my TBR list anyway, partly because the reviews were consistently phenomenal. I thought I’d work my way around to it eventually and give it a shot… and I did. Here are my Pros and Cons, with a new category of Neutrals:
- Awesome quote describing Hazel: “She’s half ‘hot exasperating mess’ and half ‘color in a monotone landscape’.”
- Awesome quote from Josh when Hazel is acting normal: “Why aren’t you wearing a chicken costume and frying me homemade donuts in the sink?”
- Quirky, face-paced dialogue that felt genuine (except for Con #1 below).
- I found it interesting that the reserved character that commits to one partner at a time was the male and the crazy, sleep-around character was the female. That was unique to almost every single other book I’ve ever read. Not sure it is a Pro per se, but it was unusual enough that I noted it, and it was a refreshing perspective (not that I advocate sleeping around at all).
- I enjoyed how Josh and Hazel communicated. Hazel definitely pulled Josh into her eccentric world, and Josh brought Hazel back to reality when necessary. Their banter was sweet and realistic. They were so much fun!
- I always enjoy a good opposites attract story!
- I absolutely laughed out loud a few times while reading this book and I was smiling through much of it. When that happens when reading a book it is a good thing!
Welcome to my new category of Neutrals! This is where I will list things I noted about the book that could really be a Pro or a Con (depending upon your perspective), or they are simply things I noticed that I found interesting but didn’t necessarily impact my thoughts about the story itself.
- I listened to the audiobook for this novel. The audiobook actually uses two narrators – a female for Hazel chapters and a male for Josh chapters. The guy that narrates Josh is great, but… he sounds exactly like Steve Buscemi! I’m currently binge watching Boardwalk Empire so Buscemi’s voice is very familiar to me at the moment. It is super distracting thinking I’m listening to Nucky Thompson (Buscemi’s character on Boardwalk Empire) read to me! I couldn’t stop thinking it was Buscemi (I actually checked to make sure it wasn’t him) and every time the poor guy started talking I would giggle. So, while it was distracting (minus) it was also kind of fun (plus); therefore, it is my first Neutral!
- Another comment about the male narrator. Not only did he sound like Steve Buscemi when he was narrating the Josh part, but the voice he used when he was narrating Hazel was side-splittingly hilarious! Have any of you watched Portlandia starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein? Armisen plays a woman named Nina in one of the skits. The voice Armisen uses for Nina is exactly what this narrator sounds like when reading Hazel’s parts. I was laughing out loud every single time he voiced Hazel. It was so darn funny. It completely removed me from the book and was totally distracting (definitely a minus) but it was also just so terribly funny to listen to (hilarious plus)! [Look up Nina and Lance Portlandia on YouTube and you’ll hear the voice. If you listened to the audiobook like I did, you’ll know exactly what I am talking about when you hear the voice. If you search YouTube, be advised that some Portlandia clips have adult themes.]
- The cursing! Ugh. I get quirky and goofy and all the other things that Hazel was – but the cursing was over the top and unnecessary. Hazel curses in front of her new boss and she curses in front of Josh’s mom at their first meeting – seriously? I’m supposed to believe a woman in her late 20s hasn’t developed enough of a filter to eliminate cursing in certain situations? I’m not a prude, but the cursing diminished Hazel’s otherwise awesome persona for me.
- Explicit sex warning! Jeez! This 48-year old reader could barely handle that! Whew! Yes, this is in the Cons because I didn’t expect it and it was a bit of a shock to be honest. Like the cursing mentioned above, I don’t think the book needed it to be so explicitly described. The story would have been just as good without the minutiae details.
Even with my Cons and some of the hilarious narration issues (I’m still giggling!), this really is a cute story. Josh and Hazel are adorable and most readers will emotionally connect to them both instantly. This is one of those books that you will finish with a smile.
Published September 4, 2018 by Gallery Books
My rating – 4 out of 5
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