The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren is a contemporary romance novel which acts as a companion to another book by this author duo, The Soulmate Equation. In the The True Love Experiment, single dad and documentary producer Connor Prince III is recruited to develop a romance reality television show in order to boost ratings for his network. As a result, Connor enlists Felicity “Fizzy” Chen, an outgoing romance author, as the show’s lead. If Fizzy fails to find love, it could mean the end for Connor’s career. However, Felicity is more interested in Connor than the men recruited for her show.
Christina Lauren’s book are usually hit-or-miss for me. My last few books that I’ve read by the author duo resulted in average age. I didn’t even finish their new release last year, Something Wilder, as I found the synopsis didn’t really match the contents or tone of the actual book. That being said, I was hopeful that I would enjoy The True Love Experiment as I really enjoyed The Soulmate Equation. While there were some aspects of The True Love Experiment that I did like, there were other areas where there could have been stronger execution.
The highlight of The True Love Experiment would have to be Fizzy, the main female character. Fizzy has a strong, likable personality. Fizzy can also be quirky, but not in an immature or unbelievable way. That being said, as with both main characters, I wanted a little more from their backstories. At the end of the book, I felt like I had a very surface-level understanding of Fizzy and what she needed in a relationship.
On the flip side, I found Connor to be a little bland. When I think of Connor, I can name several other similar protagonists. While I appreciated his maturity in approaching his relationship with Fizzy, there wasn’t much that stuck out about him to me. Additionally, in very pivotal moments within the book, I found his words and actions to be inconsistent with the characters that had been developed throughout the novel. Also, similar to Fizzy, I felt like I had a very surface-level connection to his character. Although I didn’t dislike Connor and Fizzy together, this prevented me from becoming fully invested in their relationship.
My biggest issues with The True Love Experiment were the plot and pacing. One of the big parts of the book’s synopsis is the reality television show. However, the show doesn’t really start until about 40% of the way through the book. Early in the book, Fizzy and Connor go to a boy band concert with Connor’s daughter. Fizzy attends a soccer game where Connor is a coach. These scenes really didn’t add much to the story for me, as it is established without these scenes that Connor is a devoted father. I found myself just wanting to push through these scenes to get to the real plot of the story.
Once I finally got to the show, I found that it lacked the tension which I expected. Fizzy’s feelings for Connor are established before the show even starts. As a result, I never saw Fizzy as truly invested in the show. The dates which take places on the show are typically summarized very quickly. During Fizzy’s time on the show, I felt like an outsider as a reader which took me out of the story. I assumed going into this novel that the show would be the main tension between the characters. As Fizzy’s relationships would grow with the contestants, she would find herself more pulled towards the producer. Since her feelings were established so early on in the novel, the television show part just like a formality to pass by in order to get to the happily ever after. While there were still some stakes, such as Connor’s job on the line, the stakes could have been much higher if the story was structured in a different way.
While I didn’t dislike The True Love Experiment, I didn’t find myself fully invested or engaged in the story. I was constantly picking this book up and putting it down. In the end, it took me about two months to finish this book. I give this book 2.5 out of 3 stars.