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After reading The Unhoneymooners, I decided to read a few more books by Christina Lauren and this one was dominated the recommendations from friends. I did not expect to be as in love as I was with The Unhoneymooners, but I also wasn't expecting to be disappointed. And friends, I was disappointed. But first, a synopsis:

Hazel is not ordinary–not by anyone's standards. She has a dog named Winnie the Poodle, a fish named Daniel Craig, a bird named Vodka, and absolutely connects with the third graders she teaches. She's had a lot of embarrassing moments (she'd like everyone to forget the time she puked hotdogs on television, thank you), she has no filter on her thoughts or her mouth, she dresses a little bit out there, but she's got a good heart and a good soul.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, since that night she puked on his shoes, actually, although that would not be the last awkward moment they have together. Fast forward ten years later and Hazel is best friends with Josh's sister and, now, Josh's best friend by force and coercion. But it turns out that Hazel, in all her energetic and zany glory, is exactly what Josh never knew he needed.

Let me be clear: this book was funny and romantic and had characters I really enjoyed. In fact, I can't say I hated any characters. Hazel was weird and comfortable with herself, a heroine that doesn't change even though it would "fit her in" with the rest of society, which I really admired. Josh was not a shitbag. He was cute and friendly and romantic and, honestly, a male character we need to see more often in romance. Together they were hysterical, their friends and family were great (and I'd totally read a book about Emily and Dave -- shout if there is one). They go on hysterical double dates that never end well. All in all, a good book. But, alas, not great.

Near the end, maybe fifty pages left, I had this gut feeling where I knew, I knew, that all of the things I loved were about to come to an end, and I was right. Stop here, friends, if you don't want a spoiler.

If there's one thing that absolutely turns me off of books, particularly romance, is the pregnancy trope. Look, I hear you, okay? I know it happens by accident all the time. I know. But do we have to read about it so frequently? Does girl always have to get pregnant for there to be conflict? This book could have ended so sweetly by just conquering Hazel's wariness of relationships. The end. But the pregnancy trope came in, and then the epilogue, and...well, that's where my expectations took a plummet and disappointment rose up out of the ashes.

I really enjoyed this book up until the last fifty pages, and for that, Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating won't be high on my recommended list.


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