Turning The Pages: Christina Lauren’s ‘Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating’

I have made no secret that I hate doing book reviews, or you know, reviews of any kind. I know that when it comes to a book, an author is putting their heart and soul out on paper. Nothing is more raw then their words, and so the sting of someone not liking their words or having criticism for their words is hard.

Sometimes it is unbearable.

As I have grown, I have tried to separate the personal feelings from the professional ones. I have tried to take what I know or my feelings for a person and put them aside. That being said, I am diving back in to some book reviews because the stack is high and I figure that I should try and review some.

And not hold anything back. But, let me also say that I know that a review is subjective. What you may love, I may not.

I love Christina Lauren books. I have read every single one of their books, so picking up Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating was a no brainer for me. I thought that I would love the book because I haven’t ever really hated anything that they have written.

What’s the book about?

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 sdon’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?

Sounds good right? It sounds like something that we can all relate to in someway?

Honestly – I related to Hazel. I am a not give a fuck, say what I am going to say and do what I am going to do person. I have no filter. I found Hazel to be someone that most of my friends could find something in. They knew a Hazel in their lives, and Hazel was a part of them.

I laughed, cried, and found comfort in the book. I wanted Josh and Hazel to realize that they were perfect for each other because they didn’t see it. I wanted them to find the love that I knew that they were both capable of giving and loving it. You will laugh at their blind dates, feel for them because they are so oblivious, and become invested in the characters.

Josh and Hazel is a good book. It’s well developed, great prose, smartly written, and cute. But here’s my problem with it: it feels like every other Christina Lauren book. I don’t feel a difference. Their characters remain similar, even when they are different ethnicities, sexes, characters – they all feels the same.

And maybe that is okay. I mean aren’t people essentially the same? But as much as I love the book, I can’t get past the fact that I want to feel like I am getting something new and now the same thing regurgitated in a different way.

But does it mean that I won’t read Christina Lauren’s books? No, it doesn’t. I will read them. They are fun. But I do hope that one day I will feel surprised by one of their books, versus feeling like I have read it in another one of their novels.

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