Huge thank you to Netgalley and Wednesday Books for giving me an ARC of Artifacts of an Ex!
Genre: Romance, Young adult, Contemporary
Average Rating on Goodreads: 3.53
SYNOPSIS (FROM GOODREADS)
When Chloe Chang gets dumped via USPS after moving across the county from NYC to LA, her first instinct is to throw her box of memories in the garbage. Instead, she starts buying other teenagers’ break-up boxes to create an art exhibit, Heartifacts. Opening night is going great until she spots Daniel Kwak illicitly filming his best friend’s reaction to his ex’s box. When she tries to stop him, an intense discussion ends up launching a creative partnership and friendship… and a major crush for Chloe.
There’s just one problem: Daniel is dead set on not being another rebound.
Five times he’s been the guy who makes the girls he’s dating realize they want to get back with their ex. And he refuses for there to be a sixth. She insists she’s over her ex, but when he shows up unexpectedly with his new girlfriend, it turns out Daniel was right. She isn’t ready for a new relationship.
She throws herself into making Heartifacts successful, but flashy influencers threaten her original vision of the exhibit. To create the exhibit she’s always wanted, Chloe needs to go back to basics, learn to work with artists in a more collaborative way, and discover what love can be. Only then will she convince Daniel she’s truly ready for everything they could be to one another.
I read TONS of young adult books. I may be 27 years old, but I teach 16-18 year olds. I always make it a goal to read as many YA books as I can so that I have books to recommend to my students. But let’s be honest. I also read them because sometimes, it is a nice break to read a light-hearted YA.
I typically give a lot of lee-way to the cheese factor in YA because I know how I was as a teenage girl. However, I think the cheesiness in this book was mostly attributed to the immaturity of the two characters. It was weird–sometimes I felt like the main character was over 20 years old and other times I felt like she was 12. Her motivations and inner thoughts did not line up often and it made me confused.
Let me break down my thoughts.
The story follows Chloe Chang, a sixteen year old girl who is going through her first breakup. There was a lot of instances in the book that should have been relatable, but the main character was too mature but also, at times, too immature. It was an odd way to present the character. Chloe is 16 but living the life of a business woman in her 30s. She creates an art exhibit while also running a successful YouTube channel, and somehow also has time for school? However, her thoughts and actions gave me the impression of a teenage girl. It made it a little too unbelievable for me.
One positive I will say about the characters is that, while they were unbalanced in maturity, they did have characteristics that made them stand out. The female MC was a planner- obsessed, notebook- loving girl. I was someone who could relate to all the nods to the Happy Planner and planner stickers (I spent too much money on planner stickers in my life time). The love interest, Daniel, was an aspiring filmmaker, and you see his skills progress throughout the book, which was great to see.
As for the romance, it was just OK. I mean when you have a romance book, YA or adult, I’m never really a fan of slow burn romance. However, I can turn a blind eye if there is at least some tension or chemistry that feels real. I think this book really suffered because there just was not enough romance happening and the actual plot that was so repetitive. By the end, I was just waiting for it to be over.
More on the plot. Honestly, the concept was great, but the execution just wasn’t it for me. Having an art exhibit with the stuff from your ex is a super fun concept that I think works really well for a YA book. It made me think of when I broke up with my first boyfriend; I had a box of his stuff as well. I kept the box for, I don’t know, a year? before I finally threw it away.
So, I definitely get the appeal of the plot. It just was still too childish for me. The narrator was constantly going back-and-forth between her ex boyfriend and the new guy that she had a crush on but then she would go back and crush on her ex boyfriend and say wait. I need to make sure we actually don’t belong together before quickly going back to the other crush. Like this girl gave me whiplash.
I think most of my complaints boil down to the writing style of the author. Her writing just didn’t mesh with me, and I felt like it brought down the characters and the plot. I can definitely see why others may like the story. It is a very light hearted, cute YA romance that I read very quickly — I’m talking 2 days. Sadly, I just could not get behind the characters and plot.
It is a book I will definitely recommend to my high school romance lovers, but I think many (not all) adults would not like the writing style. It is a little too immature, even for a Young Adult book.
Final Rating: 2/5 stars
Recommend to a Certain Audience
Readers WHO should read this book:
- Someone looking for a quick, easy-to-read YA romance
- Any romance lovers between the ages of 14-20
Those are all of my thoughts on Artifacts of an Ex! I would love to know your thoughts if you have also read this book. Be sure to also answer the question of the day! I love seeing what you guys are loving in the book world!
Question of the Day:
What is your favorite romance book that you have read in 2023 (so far)?