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[Review] The Love Hypothesis by Laura Steven

Physics genius Caro Kerber-Murphy knows she's smart. With straight As and a college scholarship already in the bag, she's meeting her two dads' colossal expectations and then some. But there's one test she's never quite been able to ace: love. And when, in a particularly desperate moment, Caro discovers a (definitely questionable) scientific breakthrough that promises to make you irresistible to everyone around you, she wonders if this could be the key. What happens next will change everything Caro thought she knew about chemistry - in the lab and in love.

I flew through this hilarious, heart-warming novel about sexuality, identity and self-confidence. Steven opens up these amazing discussions around consent and the ethical issues of science, particularly how far it should go. This culminates in a intense dissection of sexuality and watching Caro try to navigate all of this was fascinating, but also deeply relatable.

Speaking of Caro, I loved her as a protagonist so much. She reminded me of myself in her unbridled passion for a subject and confusion about herself, her friends and her lack of confidence in herself. I've been there and regularly still hit that point, so the message of self-love radiating from these pages is something that is sorely needed.

Then you have her amazingly three-dimensional cast of friends and love interests, all of whom are also trying to find themselves and navigate the murky waters of high school. In particular, I adored Keiko, the multi-hyphenate talent that just stole the scene every time and her genuine care for Caro. Every time, Steven creates such realistic teenagers, which is so good to see. Also, both of Caro's dads were brilliant characters, with Vati's witty humour perfectly balancing Dad's more stoic, quieter personality.

Yet again, Steven has cracked the code and crafted another smash-hit, thought-provoking YA that I will hold close to my heart. This needs to be read by so many people and I hope Caro's story will resonate with them as much as it did with me.

This review is by our volunteer YA reviewer Emily Mitchell.