Title: Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions
Author: Six de los Reyes
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult
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Falling in love is a chemical reaction.
Just ask Kaya Rubio, twenty-five year-old Molecular Genetics graduate student and research assistant. Fed up with her spinster aunts’ relentless reminders and unsolicited advice regarding her Single Since Birth status, she designs a scientific, evidence-based methodology to find her a suitable partner in time for her cousin’s wedding. As any good scientist knows, any valid experimental design requires a negative control. Enter the most unsuitable candidate for a potential boyfriend: the messy, easygoing, café owner Nero Sison. Her null hypothesis? Going out with Nero would establish her baseline data without catalyzing the chemical reaction she seeks.
But when Kaya’s recorded results refuse to make sense, she is forced to come to the conclusion that there are some things in life that are simply, by nature, irrational and illogical. And that sometimes, chemistry doesn’t always happen inside a lab.
Beginner’s Guide is the toe curling nerdy contemporary romance you don’t want to miss.
Aside from Courtney Milan’s The Countess Conspiracy, I haven’t read a lot of romance books where the protagonist is a scientist and it’s filled with countless deduction. That book is subdue in terms of scientific exploration. Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions on the other hand is swarming on it. If you’re not a science person as I’m not, I still reckon you’ll dig this story. As I’d like to call it, this is the tame modern version of A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare.
Kaya Rubio is your typical scientist who is very involved with her research; she doesn’t have any room for anything – much less a love life. Growing up in a tight knit family, she’s constantly reminded of her otherness. She’s a woman of logic and pragmatism unlike her family who are chaotic and flamboyant. Everyone in her family has their own respective partner. This separates her from them even more. Because of that, this drove her to conduct an experiment. A foolproof project that guarantees, she’ll have a suitable boyfriend just in time for her cousin’s wedding.
The story chronicles her every step to failure and success.
I was initially intimated by the rational tone of the story-telling. Kaya’s voice isn’t brimming with emotions. I think that’s the intended point of the author, not because she is a scientist and they’re incapable of human sensations, but because she’s firm and unbending. She functions with methodologically philosophy. It’s quite refreshing once you get use to the concept of the writing.
Kaya’s character speaks to me. There’s no cultural difference, since we’re both Filipinos. We are expected by our community to uphold our traditions. A lot of girls could relate at being constantly terrorized by their relatives because we don’t meet their certain standards, especially at finding your own partner. It’s not something any woman should feel inadequate about. Though somehow, it always niggles at the back of our mind that we are lacking. Kaya’s journey is a prime example of that.
Ensemble of Cast
As I always note in my reviews, I love an ensemble of cast, even more so if they get together and form a certain bond. Beginner’s Guide is a total fanservice of that. We have an eccentric, but supportive family. There’s also the gradual buildup of camaraderie between colleagues that turns into friendship. I love it specifically since Kaya is terrible at making friends, but she tries.
The romance is definitely the cherry on top of this book. Nero and Kaya have the best build up in all the history of buildups. They found familiarity within each other’s company despite their incompatibilities. It’s the kind of toe curling romance that includes scientific experiments that involve around kissing.
“You’re not an experiment, Kaya. You’re not a problem to be solved.”
I cannot recommend this book enough.
Review also posted at Goodreads and Amazon.
About the Author
Sue discovered the magical world filled with words at a young age. They have been her constant companion ever since. In addition to being a full time bookworm, and a dessert enthusiastic, she also runs the first fansite for Vampire Academy’s Lucy Fry called Lucy Fry Source. When she’s not tucked between the pages of her books, you can find her at her personal blog. You can also follow Sue on instagram and goodreads.