Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren is a funny, romance read about two friends who go on a series of double-blind dates together. They are friends, just friends. Hazel is a elementary school teacher who’s a bit kooky. She has a lot of pets and very much marches to the beat of her own drum. She reminded me of Jessica Day from New Girl. Josh is Korean, smart, sensitive and hot. He met Hazel in college through a series of spectacular encounters. Ten years later they meet again when they discover that Hazel is friends with his teacher sister, Emily. Now that they are back in each other’s lives, Hazel decides they are going to be best friends. When Josh’s long-distance relationship breaks up, they decide to set each other up on dates – all with disastrous consequences.
Josh and Hazel are the classic ‘just friends’ scenario that you often find in a romantic comedy. This scenario is always going to be predictable, but it’s a lot of fun getting there. Hazel is a character who I took a while to warm to. She’s social, kooky and has absolutely no filter. She knows she’s not everyone’s cup of tea and it makes dating hard for her. As the book went on, I found myself really starting to like Hazel. Also, how could I not love a character who has so many pets? I always love doggy characters in a novel.
Overall, this book has a great message. Just be yourself and you’ll find someone who will appreciate you for it. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. I enjoyed this book but not as much as The Unhoneymooners.
Verdict: A fun, original look at the the ‘just friends’ romance trope.