The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren is the story of Fizzy Chen, a successful romance author who is perpetually single and currently in a rut – both personally and romantically. If you’ve read The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren, Fizzy will be familiar to you, as she’s Jess’s best friend, who also makes an appearance in this story. Fizzy is struggling with her love life, or lack thereof at this point, and with writing her next novel. The two appear to be intrinsically connected as she feels that she can’t write her next novel until she figures out where the joy in her life should come from, as well as the status of her nonexistent romance life – because how can she continue to write about love if she’s not experiencing something like it?
Fizzy gets an offer to do a dating reality show for a small production company. She’s apprehensive at first because why would she appear on a dating show when she’s just a romance writer? Until she meets the executive producer, Connor Prince, a tall and very good looking British man. At first, she thinks he’s just the typical rich asshole and is determined to torture him with equally asshole-ish demands if she signs on to do the show. She’s proven wrong almost immediately where she realizes that there’s more to Connor than her initial typecasting of him, and her determination shifts to try to get to know him while simultaneously figuring out a different source of joy for her life.
I think Fizzy didn’t feel like she was deserving of the love everyone around her had. Like as a romance author, everyone thinks she had love figured out but that clearly wasn’t the case. Fizzy was kind of a maneater where her goal with men was purely physical but not necessarily emotional or contained any vulnerability that would make the relationship viable past a short term casual relationship. It became especially clear that Fizzy felt undeserving of this after she details what happened in her last relationship. I can identify with Fizzy and the thoughts of whether something good like what Jess and River have, or her siblings have, would happen for me. Dating is hard, especially when you’re not familiar with being vulnerable.
One of my favorite parts of the book is when she and Connor are talking and he says “You’d enjoy a man who understands that you just want a hot best friend who makes you laugh and come in equal measure.” The whole quote is a gem but that part in particular, where he says “enjoy a man” stuck out to me, and well Fizzy too, because she realizes the distinction between “needing,” “wanting,” or “deserving” a man. The truth of the matter is that Fizzy doesn’t need a man, but would enjoy having one and I agree really hard with this sentiment. For those of us who have their own thing going for them, dating shouldn’t be about needing a partner but enjoying someone’s company that adds value to your already established life; someone who makes you want to figure out how to integrate each other versus shifting completely.
Overall, I enjoyed reading The True Love Experiment. Fizzy deserved to have her happy ending if she wanted it. I also loved how this story, because Fizzy is a romance author, shines a light on what it is to be a romance reader. Often we get shaded because romance is predictable, cheesy, unrealistic, or whatever other reason haters like to list but the reality of it is, at least for me, that there’s more than just the romance plot in some romance books. The characters can be three dimensional and still have the goal to find love and their happily ever after, and that’s what most readers enjoy about the genre.
That said, I give The True Love Experiment five stars. Have you read Fizzy’s story? Let me know in the comments!