by Ann LaBar
Published by Simon Pulse
Release Date: March 30th 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Humor, Romance, YA
Format Read: ARC, eBook
Buy on Amazon
In this heartwarming and whip-smart YA spin on The Rosie Project, a teen girl is determined to prove that love, like all things, should be scientifically quantified…right?
Iris Oxtabee has managed to navigate the tricky world of unspoken social interactions by reading everything from neuroscience journals to Wikipedia articles. Science has helped her fit the puzzle pieces into an understandable whole, and she’s sure there’s nothing it can’t explain. Love, for example, is just chemistry.
Her best friend Seth, however, believes love is one of life’s beautiful and chaotic mysteries, without need for explanation. Iris isn’t one to back down from a challenge; she’s determined to prove love is really nothing more than hormones and external stimuli. After all, science has allowed humanity to understand more complex mysteries than that, and Iris excels at science.
The perfect way to test her theory? Get the popular and newly-single Theo Grant, who doesn’t even know Iris exists, to ask her to prom. With prom just two weeks away, Iris doesn’t have any time to waste, so she turns her keen empirical talents and laser-focus attention to testing her theory.
But will proving herself correct cause her friendship with Seth—and the tantalizing possibility for something more—to become the failed experiment?
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This book was a fun read and I genuinely enjoyed the journey we had inside Iris Oxtabee’s head as she experimented with the mystery that is love. The best way I can describe this book is fun and predictable, and even then I enjoyed the characters we met and the crazy situations Iris got herself into to prove she was right.
One thing that we’re made aware of from the start is that Iris has nonverbal learning disability, which highlights so much of Iris’s internal narration and how she goes about life in the manner she does. LaBar does such a magnificent job of taking Iris’ character and developing her throughout the story in a way where we see the moments in which Iris went too far or how she takes in the situations she encounters, such as her relationship with Seth.
Seth and Esther are Iris’s best friends who know her best, and we quickly detect a hint of unrequited love, which I loved. We come to realize that Iris has the overwhelming need to explain what she does not understand through Science, something that she can break down and have control of. We see this in how Iris constructs her experiment to get Theo to ask her to prom, and in doing so, LaBar puts Iris together to embody such a vibrant and enjoyable character that made me want to see how she would go about certain experiments to help prove her hypothesis, such as flirting.
There were times in which I did feel that the book dragged on a bit and that the end felt satisfying to a certain extent, but I had wished for a little more character development from some of the other characters we met, such as Theo and Taylor. I felt that there had been a bit of potential to go more in-depth into these characters outside of the prom experiment, and doing so would have added more emphasis to the consequences of Iris’s actions. By the time we reached the ending of the book everything sort of felt a bit rushed in making the end feel satisfying to some extent.
However, with that said, I did find myself binge-reading the book after about 3/4 of the way through because I wanted to see how the prom experiment would end, and I genuinely enjoyed every scene with Iris, Esther and Seth. Their friendship was so fun and loving, and embodied true friendship in the desire to help one another no matter what. I would definitely recommend this book to any person who wants to read a childhood friends to lovers trope or where it’s completely obvious that one person has it BAD while the other person is completely ignorant of the underlying tension that we all can see. This book has this and more, so definitely check it out if you’re interested or need a cute read to get you through the day!
Hi, I’m Elizabeth!! I am 22 with a bachelor degree in English Literary Studies. I love to read and talk about books 24/7, and when I’m not reading I am usually rewatching my comfort movies and shows for the hundredth time—specifically, anything Jane Austen!