Not in Love Book Review

Pub DateJune 11, 2024
Page Count384 pages
GenreRomance, Contemporary, Adult
Goodreads Star Rating3.78
My Star Rating 2.5

Not in Love Summary

Not in Love by Ali Hazelwood is a romance novel about Rue and Eli who meet for a one-night stand and have a great connection, but then it turns out that Eli’s company is trying to take over Rue’s current employer. But their attraction only grows the more they learn about each other. 

Not in Love Review

Not in Love promised to be nothing like other Ali Hazelwood books, and it delivered on that promise. Not just in terms of more spice — which was true, there was more spice — but also with characters that feel more serious and grown up. 

Usually, Ali Hazelwood’s heroines are quirky and a bit childish, which is one of the reasons I didn’t enjoy her previous books (other than Bride). But Rue feels grown up and mature. She makes mistakes, yes, and acts out of fear sometimes, but it’s not annoying being in her head all the time. 

And her love interest is different this time too. Eli is not a quiet, brooding scientist. He’s confident, good in social situations and feels more like a standard romance hero. This is the first book where Ali Hazelwood includes POV chapters from the love interest as well. It was interesting to see her take on it, but I feel like she made Eli too obsessed with Rue. She was all he thought about and I found that a bit unbelievable. 

I didn’t buy the romance either, but I usually dislike when relationships start with sex and expand from there. Especially because this one never seemed to go anywhere else except the bedroom. Yes, the characters shared their worst moments and talked, but I never bought the emotional connection. 

It felt like all Rue and Eli wanted was to sleep together. And while we’re at it, I don’t usually like Ali Hazelwood’s spice and that was true enough here. It’s just cringe and the dirty talk is bad. I especially didn’t like how Rue clearly says that she doesn’t like penetrative sex and yet ends up magically healed by Eli by the end of the book. 

The plot of this book was fine, but felt already done before (and in other Ali Hazelwood books). It kept me interested enough throughout, though, mostly for the character reactions to the reveal. 

However, I really didn’t like the storyline involving Rue’s brother — to the point that I don’t understand why it was there. So, Rue and her brother inherit a house from their estranged father. They grew up extremely poor and with a negligent mother. And while Rue got out of it, her brother is still in financial trouble all the time. He wants to sell the house, but Rue is unsure. She would like to keep it for some unknown reason. 

And yes, she explains that she would like a keepsake from at least one family member, but it was just strange. Her father was never in her life, so I don’t understand why she’d want it. And her younger brother — very much alive and available for a real familial relationship — truly needs the money. But she keeps stringing him along, not really making a decision either way.

Sure, her brother shouldn’t behave like he does, but he’s also not the bad guy here. And this storyline never gets resolved. So I don’t understand why it was there. The situation with her brother could have been removed and her backstory would still be believable. Why was he in the book? So Eli can have something to defend her from? That’s just silly — the guy bothering her at the bar could have been anyone. A former one night stand or partner, it doesn’t really matter. 

Overall, I didn’t hate this book (probably because my expectations were low to begin with) but I also didn’t love it. I like the more mature tone this took and would be interested to read future Ali Hazelwood books that are more like this (sans the one night stand to lovers storyline). 


  • Readable, decent prose
  • More mature characterization
  • Heroine is actually tall this time
  • Entertaining plot
  • Romance more based on physical intimacy
  • Unnecessary side plots

Read Not in Love If You Like

  • Erotic romance
  • One night stand turns to love
  • Autistic-coded heroines
  • Heroes obsessed with the heroine

Avoid Not in Love If You Don’t Like

  • Erotic romance
  • Romance based on physical connection
  • Predictable plot lines
  • Revenge plots

Here are a few more things you need to know about Not in Love before you read it: 

  • It’s a dual POV book; the heroine’s chapters are written in first POV and the MMC chapters are written in third POV
  • Not in Love is not appropriate for readers under the age of 18
  • Trigger warnings for food insecurity, mental health issues, attempted assault, child neglect. 

Books Like Not in Love

1. Out on a Limb by Hannah Bonham Young

This book is less spicy than Not in Love (if you want recs with more spice, look below), but it does have a nice development of a one night stand into a romance. In this, a disabled heroine and hero sleep together only for that to result in pregnancy. They decide to be friends and raise the baby together, but it turns into much more. 

2. Reckless by Elsie Silver

In Reckless, a grumpy heroine and a golden retriever hero end up in a physical relationship and slowly fall in love from there. This one is pretty spicy so it might be good for you if you enjoyed the spice element of Not in Love

3. Business Casual by B. K. Borison

Business Casual is a book in which two people who are attracted to each other agree on a one-night stand to get it out of their systems, but it turns to more. This is pretty similar to Not in Love in terms of tropes, though it might be a bit cozier and less erotic. 


Does Not in Love have a dual POV?

Yes, Not in Love is the first Ali Hazelwood book that has dual POV. Rue’s chapters are written in the first POV and Eli’s chapters are written in the third POV. 

Is Not in Love spicy?

Yes, Not in Love is marketed as an erotic romance and it has more spice than other Ali Hazelwood books. 

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One Comment

  1. Hi Kristina! I really enjoy reading your blog and thought I’d say hi 🙂 I was wondering whether you’d consider joining the Reedsy Discovery book review community — I think we could potentially be a good fit. At Reedsy Discovery, we spotlight gems of the indie publishing world, with passionate reviewers who decide which books to recommend to our community. If you think you might like to join us, here’s our application form: I’m also happy to chat more via email! You can reach me at

    All the best, 
    Hallie, Professional Book Nerd @ Discovery

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