Review by Gabrielle

There’s a universe expanding in my rib cage, stars and planets and all kinds of dangerous sparking debris that could destroy me. I’m consumed by a distracting ache, a sharp want, a desperation for this thing I have already in my arms. I know what this is even if I’ve never felt it before. I’m falling in love.

Christina Lauren fans have been anxiously awaiting Fizzy’s story and it does not disappoint.

Felicity “Fizzy” Chen is lost. Sure, she’s got an incredible career as a beloved romance novelist with a slew of bestsellers under her belt, but when she’s asked to give a commencement address, it hits her: she hasn’t been practicing what she’s preached.

Fizzy hasn’t ever really been in love. Lust? Definitely. But that swoon-worthy, can’t-stop-thinking-about-him, all-encompassing feeling? Nope. Nothing. What happens when the optimism she’s spent her career encouraging in readers starts to feel like a lie?

Connor Prince, documentary filmmaker and single father, loves his work in large part because it allows him to live near his daughter. But when his profit-minded boss orders him to create a reality TV show, putting his job on the line, Connor is out of his element. Desperate to find his romantic lead, a chance run-in with an exasperated Fizzy offers Connor the perfect solution. What if he could show the queen of romance herself falling head-over-heels for all the world to see? Fizzy gives him a hard pass—unless he agrees to her list of demands. When he says yes, and production on The True Love Experiment begins, Connor wonders if that perfect match will ever be in the cue cards for him, too.

The book that fans pretty much willed into being is finally here, and it is as glorious as we predicted. Fizzy might have been in The Soulmate Equation to provide comic relief, but the fans saw her for who she truly is – a kick-ass heroine in her own right. There is just so much to love about Fizzy. She is hilarious. She is smart as a whip and not afraid to say what she thinks. She is loving and really there for the people in her life that she loves.

I loved the chance to see Jess, River and Juno again and to see that everything had continued to work out for them. I love Jess and Fizzy’s friendship. It reminds me of my own friendship with my best friend. More like family than just friends. And the way Fizzy is an aunt to Juno is so heartwarming. Fizzy is the world’s best auntie.

In the acknowledgements, the authors talk about how Connor took a little bit to shape up. All I can say is that the wait and the work were worth it. Connor is wonderful. A terrific dad and an equally terrific human. I loved him for Fizzy. He is the yin to her yang. Their chemistry is palpable but more than just lust, the foundation of friendship is also there. I loved how supportive they are of each other. How they just allow the other person to be who they are.

Watching the mechanics of creating a reality TV show was a lot of fun and I loved how both Fizzy and Connor strode to create something a little more authentic than what you typically get from these shows. They didn’t let the situation force them to abandon their values.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the obvious commentary running through this book on the romance genre. We get to watch Fizzy navigate the ups and downs as a romance author, experiencing both the hurtful assumptions and the fandom highlights. As a whole, this book reads like a love letter to the genre and I’m here for it. 

The True Love Experiment is everything I had hoped and dreamed for Fizzy’s story.

Thank you, Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.