Goodreads: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit, New Adult, Humour
Just friends. Just friends. JUST FRIENDS. If they repeat it enough, maybe it’ll be true . . . 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 taste for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter and tendency to say exactly the wrong thing will. Their loss. Not everyone can handle a Hazel.
Josh Im has known Hazel since college. 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?
Oh, this book… Was there anything that I didn’t love about this book?! The only regret I have is not picking this up sooner! This was a super fun, super cute, and super sexy read. To be honest, the sexy bits actually kind read a bit like “soft-core porn” but the chemistry between Josh and Hazel was absolutely fire! It was honestly so good. 😂 The friends-to-lovers trope is one of my all time favorites and this book did not fail to deliver! All the main characters were extremely lovable—from Hazel and Josh, Emily and David, and even side characters like Hazel’s mum, and Umma. To be honest, when I picked this up last night, not only had I forgotten what this book was about, but I had zero clue that Josh was Korean-American. It was such a pleasant surprise!
“The way Emily describes it: when I meet someone I love, I become an octopus and wind my tentacles around their heart, tighter and tighter until they can’t deny they love me just the same.”
Hazel was the brightest, quirkiest, funniest and most genuine character I’ve read in a long time. Her chapters had me constantly laughing out loud and exclaiming in shock (the good kind) at all the hilariously awkward things that she’d think, say and do. Her manic energy was so infectious! She recognized just how out there she is, but she made no excuses and no exceptions for anyone. Yes, she had her insecurities, mostly related to her personality, but she was also fiercely confident in herself and enviably comfortable in her own skin. Hazel was honestly just the best and Josh was honestly the perfect complement to her character. He was sweet, calm, thoughtful and extremely loyal, but not a pushover in any way. I loved the vulnerability of his character, and how he was the one who accepted and openly admitted to his feelings.
Josh and Hazel’s relationship was definitely an adventure and I shipped them so hard from the start of their very awkward and hilarious encounters. Their friendship was so genuine. It was clear they truly enjoyed each other’s company and were really appreciative of each other; plus, you could see that their chemistry was insane! As I mentioned above, and I’ll say it again now, this one has quite a few pretty steamy sexy scenes! So if you’re not into that, this might not be for you.
“Your face is fine.” She pushes up to stand and holds out a hand. I let her help me up, and she pats my chest. “But how’s your heart?”
The relationships between the family members was also so wonderful. Hazel and her mum had the quirkiest and most open relationship. It’s the kind of relationship that I always wished to have with my own mum, and I’m lucky that I do have that to an extent, though not as wildly open as theirs. Although her mum only made minor appearances, you could tell that their relationship was the feel-good, supportive and comforting kind. I also really appreciated how Christina Lauren integrated Josh’s Korean heritage in the storyline, and made it an important part of his character. His relationship with Umma was sweet, and I loved how he really embraced the Korean traditions—such as how his parents would move in with him once they got older. As an Asian, I get that cultural obligation/expectation, so I thought it just added to the authenticity of his character and their story.
Perhaps the only point that had me feeling a bit iffy was how this book ended–with a key development between Josh and Hazel that was a little bit… Disappointing? I can’t say what it is without spoiling it for others who haven’t read this, so this is going to be intentionally vague. It’s not that I’m a stickler for the “traditional” way of doing things, but I just wondered if it was really necessary for that to happen between the two of them, when readers probably could’ve predicted it would eventually happen anyway. That said, while this obviously wasn’t an unexpected HEA, it didn’t make me love their story any less. CLo strikes again with their brilliant writing, characters and storylines. They really know how to write characters that you feel so invested in, and who also feel like real friends by the end. They also really know how to make me feel all the feels. I think they’ve basically spoiled me for relationships IRL (but hey, book boyfriends are always better anyway, right?)! 😉 I’m so excited to read The Unhoneymooners now. Give me all the CLo!
Are you a CLo fan? Have you read Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments & let’s talk CLo’s books!