Book Review: Under One Roof by Ali Hazelwood

Under One Roof By Ali Hazelwood Book Review Features A Quick Synopsis, Plot Overview, Common Themes, Opinions, And Rating

Quick Summary:

Under One Roof by Ali Hazelwood is the first book of Ali Hazelwood’s STEMinist novellas series. This is the story of Mara, an environmental engineer who lives in DC and now works for the EPA. She finds out she was included in the will of her mentor, Helena, and is now the owner of a house – or so she thinks. She arrives at the house to find out that someone else is already living there – enter Liam. Liam is Helena’s nephew: a tall, attractive chunk of a man who is a lawyer for a fossil fuel company.
If you’ve been on social media at any point in the last several months, you’ll know who Ali Hazelwood is. She’s the author behind the Instagram and TikTok famous book “The Love Hypothesis.” Given all the acclaim by influencers and other romantic novel enthusiasts, I ended up purchasing the book a while back to see what all the fuss is about. I won’t get into that book here, but I will say, having read that book intrigued me into reading some of Hazelwood’s other books, hence this read. So I came into this with some expectations. Now, onto the review – mild spoilers up ahead.

Plot Points

The story starts with a prologue, a scene where things get steamy between Mara and Liam as she’s cleaning up the kitchen. I have mixed feelings about this because we obviously know, given that this is a romantic novel, that they’re going to end up together. However, it kind of messes it up that it’s revealed at the beginning of the book. From that point on, the story starts six months prior to that moment, and is then a countdown to when it happens and the events shortly after. Part of my disappointment with this is that this scene actually happens near the very end of the book. The entire book is set up to build up to that moment but after it reaches the peak, it falls flat as you’ve now hit the very short epilogue.

The book overall is quite a short read, which means there isn’t much character development and we know the bare minimum details about Mara and Liam. Essentially, you have two shells for characters interacting for the sake of the plot and nothing else. Having read “Love Hypothesis” prior to this, I was disappointed that this book wasn’t as long, and that we didn’t really get to know Mara and Liam. By the time we get to the part where they get together, the story is pretty much over but because it was such a short read, it’s easily forgettable after that.

Common Themes + Opinions

Now, onto the good part. I will say, this story has quite a spicy love scene. When Mara and Liam do finally hook up, it’s pretty hot. Let’s just say if you happen to be in public while reading this, you may become visibly flustered. However, despite the spiciness, I was also disappointed with this love scene. Right when Mara and Liam are in the thick of their hookup, he tells her he’s not going to penetrate her because he does not have condoms. She tells him she is on birth control and asks “are you clean?” to let him in anyway. There’s a little back and forth but you can guess they end up having sex and she lets him do his thing inside of her.

It’s honestly frustrating to see that a woman, a scientist at that, would forego protection. I know that in the heat of the moment, you want things to continue; having been in those moments myself I understand this. I will say, that every time I’ve had this happen, I regretted it. It’s a very big thing to trust a partner telling you they’re “clean” before taking the risk of having unprotected sex. I know this is just a book, but for younger readers who may be curious about sex or are starting to discover steamy romance novels, they might read this and think it’s okay to do. 

I also understand there’s a level of trust between Mara and Liam where she can trust his answer to that question, but it’s still a big risk nonetheless. My question here is why wasn’t Liam prepared? If he knew he had a major crush on Mara, and after overhearing her talking about her crush on him, knew he was gonna make a move, why not buy condoms? On the contrary, Mara could have had condoms herself, given Hazelwood’s books have an underlying feminist tone. It doesn’t make sense. A similar thing happens in “Love Hypothesis” which makes me think condoms don’t exist in Hazelwood’s fictional worlds, and can foresee her other books must have a similar think track as well when it comes to sex.

Final Thoughts + Ratings

Overall, this was a quick read that delivered one steamy sex scene and not much else. I’d rate it 3 stars, and 3.5 spicy peppers. I’m not sure if i’ll read the second book in the novella series, but will consider checking out Hazelwood’s other novels.
Have you read Under One Roof? Let me know in the comments!
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