The STEMinist Novellas by Ali Hazelwood Review

The STEMinist novellas by Ali Hazelwood include Under One Roof, Stuck on You, and Below Zero. These novellas follow three college friends post-grad as they continue their fields in STEM and fall in love. Under One Roof focuses on environmental engineer Mara who is forced to share a house with a lawyer who is part of the oil business. Stuck on You follows civil engineer Sadie who gets stuck in an elevator with Erik, with whom she shares a history. Finally, Below Zero focuses on aerospace engineer Hannah who completes a dangerous mission to Antarctica with her rival, Ian.

Ali Hazelwood gained popularity with her first novel, The Love Hypothesis. That novel was originally written as fan fiction, which isn’t surprising, since it contains many popular tropes and situations found in fan fiction. Personally, I wasn’t a fan of The Love Hypothesis because I found the main character and the story to be very YA, but aged up to include more intimate scenes, and I found the book to drag on for too long. After reading the STEMinist novellas, it seems that Ali Hazelwood has a very formulaic writing style, which will delight fans of her work, but may turn away other readers.

One aspect of the STEMinist novellas that I found to work was the length. One of my issues with The Love Hypothesis was that it went on for too long, which led to a lot of repetitive conversations or unnecessary scenes. Since novellas are much shorter than full length novels, I found that the stories were edited down in a way that made them move faster so they came across as better paced. With The Love Hypothesis I found myself picking up and putting down the book many times because I was completely engaged. However, with the novellas, I usually finished them within one sitting.

An aspect of Ali Hazelwood’s works as a whole, as well as throughout the novellas, is the repetitiveness of characters that she uses throughout her works. In addition to The Love Hypothesis and the novellas, I have also read Hazelwood’s most recent full length novel, Love on the Brain. Every female main character in Hazelwood’s novels are quirky female scientists. All of the love interests are males who seem cold or harsh on the outside, but are really super sweet and totally in love with the main character on the inside. As a result, when I try to remember specific characters from Hazelwood’s novels, they all start to blend together. That being said, Hazelwood does have a background in STEM, so I can see why she would be passionate about writing female characters and issues surrounding them in her books.

Another aspect which tends to be repetitive throughout Hazelwood’s works are the tropes present in the books. In every book that I have read by Hazelwood, there are two prominent tropes: the miscommunication tropes and enemies/rivals-to-lovers. Just as having similar characters can make her works blend together, so can utilizing the same trope in every story. As someone who isn’t the biggest fan of the miscommunication trope, especially when it can be so easily solved as it often is in Hazelwood’s work, this can be frustrating to read over and over again. That being said, if you are a reader who is a fan of these tropes, then you may enjoy works by this author.

Aside from the characters and tropes, there is one other aspect of these novellas which was off-putting. Many of the romantic scenes within these novels were extremely cringeworthy. These scenes also get progressively worse as you read the novellas. Thinking back to The Love Hypothesis, there were some lines and actions in these scenes that make you think What? in your head. I found myself saying this a lot throughout these novellas, particularly with Stuck on You and Below Zero.

The STEMinist novellas were what I expected as they are very similar to the first book which I read from this author. While I didn’t hate this series, it wasn’t particularly memorable either. I give the STEMinist novellas three out of four stars.

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