Welcome to my first book review! I’ve been waiting on a special book to begin with and Ali Hazelwood’s contemporary romance The Love Hypothesis is so incredibly worthy of my debut blog piece, I want to shout it from the rooftops. But first—what makes this book review different?
Well, a self-proclaimed Enneagram enthusiast is writing it! Every time I write a book review I’ll include an Enneagram analysis on the two main characters.
Eek! Can’t wait to share my thoughts with you.
Where to start with The Love Hypothesis?
Hazelwood’s fresh voice that reads like whipped butter? The deep bonds of friendship? The laugh-out-loud moments where Olive surprises the reader with her quippy inner-thoughts?
Okay, all of it. Let’s start there.
Ali Hazelwood is officially one of my favorite contemporary romance voices. I could not pry my nose out of this book. Olive is hilarious and her little quirks made for a big personality I couldn’t get enough of. Like, can Olive be my best friend? She’s a gem.
Adam is such a swoon-worthy hero, with his six-pack of abs and superior intellect that has universities such as Harvard and Stanford fighting to have him as an employee. At some point I wondered why I’d never considered a brief rendezvous with a professor later in my educational career. Probably because none of them were anywhere close to as deliciously grumpy as Dr. Adam Carlsen [They were just grumpy].
Without spoiling the premise, the gist is this: Olive’s best friend Ahn is currently into a boy Olive was dating. Attempting to convince Ahn she is *so over* him, Olive lies to Ahn about a new boyfriend. One she has a very special date with already. The problem is, her life is tied up in her pursuit of a doctorate, so instead of faking a date she finds herself in the lab, face to face with Adam Carlsen. If you want to know what happens next, you’ll have to read the book. Get ready for lots of laughs as slightly awkward Olive bumbles around her fake dating relationship with the stern Dr. Carlsen (that everyone in her doctorate program hates, and how could she like HIM?).
Each chapter begins with a small hypothesis in lieu of a title and can I just say how brilliant this was?
“HYPOTHESIS: A private conversation with Adam Carlsen will become 100% more awkward after the word “sex” is uttered. By me.”
Um, okay. I think I’ll stay up for another hour and read.
My one critique is that at times the story felt slow moving. But Olive’s whimsy and fun really carried it until the plot built enough to take off. This happened around chapter ten for me.
Now, for my favorite part, where I’ll attempt to place the characters into their respective Enneagram types.
*Drum Roll, Please*
Nailing Enneagram types of fictional characters is never easy because as far as I know the characters weren’t written with their numbers in mind. Still, one of my favorite aspects of the Enneagram is how it’s broken down into two factors: the main motivation and fear.
If you aren’t familiar with the Enneagram, The Enneagram Institute is the place to start. Otherwise, here’s a quick snapshot:
Each person has a core number that represents their motivation and fear. If you take a look at the Enneagram symbol below, you’ll also see that each number has a number on either side of it. Once you’re familiar with your number, you will also have a primary wing—that is, the number next to your number that resonates the most with your personality. So, core number + primary wing= your Enneagram type.
But there’s more! Each core number has a direction of growth, a number it “grows” toward when it’s healthy, and a number it digresses to in stress (See all those arrows racing up and down?).
Hopefully as I explain my picks for Olive and Adam you’ll gain a better understanding.
Let’s start with Olive.
I hate to label Olive as a 9 [The Peacemaker] right out of the gate. There’s a definite voice in my head taunting, “You’re only labeling Olive as a 9 because you’re a 9! And you love Olive and wish you were her.” Okay, that’s partly true, although I’m a 9w1. Still, there were plenty of times while I was reading that I tossed about other numbers and kept coming back to what felt the most authentic and that’s this: Olive was willing to sacrifice herself for her friend and the 9 is the most self-effacing number of the Enneagram.
There were a lot of Enneagram 2 [The Helper] vibes, but 2’s are also diehard servants, always aiming to please others to their own detriment. I didn’t see Olive like this. I saw her as someone willing to tell a lie if it’d benefit her friend.
Which has major 3 [The Achiever] vibes, but 3’s mainly lie to benefit themselves and cover their shortcomings.
If there’s anyone that will tell a quick lie to keep the peace, it’s a 9. I interpreted Olive’s willingness to lie as a way to keep Ahn happy because Ahn was basically family. Later in the book when she’s faced with telling Adam the truth about something, she lies again to protect him. Again, she’s willing to throw herself under the bus so-to-speak if it’ll save the connections she already has. If I was rooting for anything for Olive it was for her to find the courage to tell the truth and stick up for herself, and 9’s notoriously avoid these things to protect themselves from conflict and preserve connection with the people they love.
As far as growth curves go, 9’s grow to a 3. This means in seasons of health, they can step into that high-achieving role where they’re making good decisions to advance in the world. I don’t think any 9 could pursue higher-education without leaning into their 3. For stress, the 9 goes to 6 [The Loyalist]. The negative traits of the 6 include worrying and adopting an anxious mindset. This mindset often cries, “Everything is about to blow up in my face, I know it. Must prevent this!”
I gave Olive an 8 [The Challenger] wing because the 8 is feistier than the 1 [The Reformer]. At one point Olive gets up the courage to send Adam a pretty nasty text, and even if she’s swallowed by instant regret, she still did it. In the end, it was obvious to me that she’d rather have Adam fight for her, but when she finally fought for herself I think fireworks went off in my heart. Well done, Olive. This fellow 9 was proud of you.
Now for Adam:
Adam seemed like a classic 5 [The Investigator] to me. Slightly detached from their emotions, 5’s can seem distant to others. Their motivation is to consume knowledge in order to appear capable. Their fear is of being useless, or being incompetent. I imagine many 5’s wind up in research fields, which is why my brain automatically went there as I read. I considered that he could be an 8 [The Challenger], but while 8’s are good at getting things done, the idea that Adam could be tied down to one profession was a red flag to me. That, and he seemed rather introverted. You’d be hard-pressed to find an introverted 8.
I waffled between the 4 and the 6 for his wing, but ultimately I went with 6. The fact that he keeps friends for so long pointed me to The Loyalist.
For the growth curve, 5’s move to an 8, which means that in seasons of health they take on the stronger, more assertive qualities of the 8. I saw Adam’s fierceness as something he could access as a professor, not who he was at his core. Which is why he was such a tender lover. I really adored this aspect of him.
In stress, 5’s move to a 7 [The Enthusiast]. This looks like their collected, balanced selves delving into a bit of spontaneity and becoming scattered.
I think there is a strong argument for Adam being an 8, but overall the 5 fit best to me.
I’m really curious if any other Enneagram enthusiasts have an opinion on this. If you can’t form an opinion because you haven’t read The Love Hypothesis, definitely give it a go! I’d love to hear your thoughts!
5/5 — Must read.