Lyric Bishop feels like a fraud – she’s studying sexual chemistry in romantic partners and what makes for a successful long-term relationship, only she can’t seem to figure it out in her own dating life. The science is sound, but how can she give her expert opinion with no real-world experience? In order to complete her doctoral thesis, she must crack the Sizzle Paradox – it seems the more sexually attractive she finds a guy, the less likely it is to come with an emotional connection; but why? – and to do that she must get the help she desperately needs.
Kian Montgomery, her best friend, roommate, and fellow grad student, has no trouble bringing both romance and sizzle to his own relationships. When he offers to tutor Lyric on dating tactics to find a good match, she’s certain it will solve her problems, and in exchange she agrees to set long-term-commitment-averse Kian up with someone different to give his romantic life a much-needed shakeup.
But once the two progress with their “tutoring sessions,” they start to feel less like the academic exercise they were supposed to be as real feelings develop. Which is a problem, because Lyric and Kian are best friends and absolutely, irrefutably nothing else… Right?
What’s it about (in a nutshell):
The Sizzle Paradox is about friends and roommates – Lyric and Kian. The end of their lives as college students is nearing, and they realize that means they will have to go their separate ways. But they have been best friends and roommates since their undergraduate days, so this is a hard reality to process. When they begin developing romantic feelings toward each other during this time, that becomes an even more complicated reality to face.
Initial Expectations (before beginning the book):
This will be the second book I read by Lily Menon, and since I liked the first book, Make Up Break Up (an enemies-to-lovers story), I anticipate the same for The Sizzle Paradox (a friends-to-lovers tale). The cartoonish cover screams romantic comedy, and the blurb sounds intriguing. I can’t imagine a doctoral thesis referred to as the Sizzle Paradox would be taken seriously in any college, so I’m hoping there is more to it than the blurb lets on.
Actual Reading Experience:
I enjoyed the first half of the book. I even bought into Lyric’s thesis being taken seriously (maybe) once I heard her explain it in more technical turns. But, eventually, Lyric and Kian’s inability to admit their feelings or see that those feelings were reflected began to grate on my nerves. I can understand being worried about ruining their friendship. Still, I had trouble believing that at no point they could see what everyone else – even strangers – had no difficulty discerning. Still, the predictable ending made me a delighted reader. If you can’t expect and get a happily ever after from a romantic comedy, that would genuinely be very disheartening.
I did love the families of the two main characters and the many quirks, layers, and struggles they provided to the main characters and the story. Lyric’s family are free spirits who rub crystals and focus on the positives in life. She has three sisters and one brother who, when all together, tell a tale of Lyric’s upbringing that helps flesh out her character. On the other hand, Kian is plagued by guilt and doubt, as his family life has been one of lies and mistrust. Kian makes choices to not be like his father, but he isn’t being true to himself as a consequence.
The Sizzle Paradox is told in first-person narration through Kian and Lyric’s points of view. I found the narration changes easy to follow and enjoyed that the story flowed well and read at a fast pace. It’s a light read perfect for when you are in the mood for a predictable happily ever after with some sizzling hot scenes to break up the cuteness.
Overall, I enjoyed this read. I enjoyed Make Up Break Up more, but then I am a sucker for an enemies-to-lovers story more than a friends-to-lovers tale. The story became a bit grating with miscommunication that lasted for way too long. Otherwise, I loved the sizzle in the paradox and the happily ever after.
I’ve already talked about the two main characters in the story. Still, there also is a collection of support characters that are all very interesting. Lyric’s sister Opal who is afraid to commit to a man ten years her junior, is probably my favorite among them. But I also enjoyed Lyric’s friend Zoey with her interest in all things plague-related.
Reminds Me Of:
The blurb mentions The Kiss Quotient and Love Potion No.9 as comparisons. Others mention The Love Hypothesis as a comparison because they are both stem romcoms. I can see why they would be mentioned with what I know of those three.
To Read or Not to Read:
If you love a sizzling hot friends-to-lovers romantic comedy with an ending that will make you cheer, The Sizzling Paradox is just the right book for a hot summer day by the pool.