Below Zero by Ali Hazelwood

Below Zero by Ali Hazelwood

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Other Possible Prompts: 6. Household object on the cover, 12. Set on at least two continents, 23. Author with an X, Y, or Z in their name, 45. A book with illustrated people on the cover, 52. Published in 2022

Alright, Below Zero is officially my favorite of the STEMinist novellas! I loved Hannah’s story the best, even if I’m still leaning towards Mara being my favorite character overall.

Hannah meets Ian in grad school, when her new friend Mara connects the two for a informational interview about his job at NASA. After several hours bonding over code and Mars, Hannah decides to make a move, and the two share a hot few minutes before she has to break the news to Ian that she “does not date”. The two go their separate ways, until five years later, Hannah finds herself working at NASA as well.

Now, Hannah finds herself stuck at the bottom of a crevasse in Norway with no hope of rescue. The very project she’s testing was vetoed by none other than Ian, and he’s the last person she’d like to see right now, but he’s the only one coming to her rescue…and it might be time to ask herself why that is.

It will never cease to amaze me that Hazelwood can create such round and developed characters in what, essentially, amounts to a short story. In a mere one hundred pages, I know enough about Hannah and Ian to see why they fit together perfectly, and everything that’s keeping them apart. It’s true talent, and every one of the novellas in this series is a great example of that talent.

I like that all three of the novellas started in the present, and rewound to how we got there. It was unique in its storytelling and not even hard to follow, which is what I would’ve expected. In other such works I think it certainly could’ve been, but the back and forth is clear and helps shed light on the characters and the current story. Not to mention, all three of them hooked me from the very beginning by using this technique.

Hannah and Ian were my favorite pairing for a couple in the series, with Mara and Liam a close second. I just love the “desperately pining” trope on Ian, and Hannah’s more detached personality in combination with that – her reluctance to give in to him makes it all the more meaningful when she can’t shake their connection.

This story is definitely the “sexiest” of the three – even with this slow burn – in my opinion. I think Mara’s story is awkward and cute, Sadie’s more cut and dry, but Hannah’s is a hot rush to the finish line. They all have a different tone to match the different characters’ personalities and relationship styles, and all of them are a great match. I loved this one the most for that, personally!

Yeah, so, what did we learn this week? Ali Hazelwood is an icon. Die-hard reader here, friends. Have an awesome weekend. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s