on September 4, 2018
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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?
Well, well, well, they’ve done it again. It’s books like this that remind me why I never shut up about Christina Lauren when someone is looking for something fluffy. They are always funny, full of heart, and so gosh darn sexy – Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating is no exception.
“I am superb at making an ass out of myself. At the outset, this should explain how I have successfully never dated Josh Im: I have made myself entirely undatable in his presence.”
Josh and Hazel are perfect opposites. These characters are so well rounded that I found it impossible not to compare them to people in my life, because they’re so real. Hazel is chaos incarnate, but still immensely likable. Josh embodies the “still waters run deep” just up to the acceptable brink of me asking, does this dude actually have a personality? The answer is yes. He has a dry and biting wit and a way of quietly caring for those around him that just kind of sucks you in.
“It was at this moment precisely that I knew Josh and I were destined to be best friends and I could never, ever mess it up by trying to sleep with him.”
Their relationship is a REALLY slow burn. At certain points I even questioned, wait, are they not gonna date and just be friends? Their friendship was fantastic, but those flirty moments were to die for! (Cut to me in my apartment screaming: OMG kiss already!) When we finally get to the, ahem, good stuff: holy hot tamale.
“A star is born in my rib cage.”
What sets this title apart from their usual fare is the ending. But I’m not gonna spoil this one. It was wholly unexpected and gorgeously told. So, if you like Christina Lauren, you are just going to have to read it for yourself because I could never do it justice. All I will say is that it left me feeling very warm in my heart, but that I still hasn’t unseated Love and Other Words as my favorite of CL’s books.
“I’m an optimist; I always anticipated having a good life. But to have dreamed something like this would have felt enormously selfish.”
I can’t ever say I will see myself as anything other than unabashedly a fan girl of their books. Now that I’ve read this, I am filled with my ever-present and all-consuming need for their next thing. Luckily for me, it already has a name and a cover. My Favorite Half-Night Stand, I’m looking at you.