The Sizzle Paradox is a contemporary romance by Lily Menon. The ebook version is 304 pages. I listened to the audiobook, which clocks in at just under eight hours and is narrated by Abhay Ahluwalia and Brittany Pressley. We follow our two main characters with alternating first-person points-of-view.
Lyric is an experimental psych grad student at Columbia University in NYC, attempting to finish her thesis on the correlations between emotional and sexual connection in human relationships. She feels like a fraud because she can’t hold down a satisfying relationship. Kian–her best friend and roommate–also studies at Columbia, as an environmental chemistry grad student. He doesn’t have any problems with dating, and does it often, but doesn’t usually have long-term relationships. He offers to tutor Lyric on dating tactics, and she agrees if she can help set him up with someone with long-term-commitment potential.
This book felt like it took too long to actually get into the story. I’m glad that I listened to the audiobook, because I probably would have DNFed it if I was reading it in print or on my Kindle. Lyric felt very immature for her age, and though everyone kept spouting how intelligent she was, she made a lot of bad decisions. She also didn’t really have a growth arc over the entire book, except for realizing she’s in love with her best friend (which isn’t really a growth arc).
There’s also a lot of suspension of disbelief required for this book. A grad student in NYC who talks about scraping by eating ramen would not be able to fly to London and stay in a 5-star hotel in a room by herself. And her explanation for how she was going to pay for the holiday didn’t make sense either. Also the author leaned really heavily into their miscommunication which made me want to shake them both and tell them to just talk to one another.
That being said, I did enjoy the friend groups in this book, and Lyric’s family dynamics. It was also interesting to me that a scientist like Lyric would still really enjoy different crystals and scents for healing/etc.
Overall this was a serviceable palate cleanser for me in between darker and/or deeper books.
Tropes in this book include: friends to lovers, fake dating, they were roommates, get it out of our system, miscommunication, women in STEM, slow-burn, queer side characters
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