Thank you to Penguin General UK and NetGalley for providing me an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
Exes & O’s by Amy Lea is a sweet rom-com about a book-obsessed social media influencer’s quest at finding her ‘second chance love’. Tara is actually the sister of Crystal, the MC of Lea’s previous book, Set on You. There’s some crossover in terms of characters, however, it can definitely be enjoyed as a standalone.
Tara is the ‘dumpee’. She has been dumped by 10 different men, 10 separate times. Her ex-fiancé savagely labeled her as a “stage-five clinger” and it’s obvious from the start that her confidence has taken a serious blow as a result. As an avid romance reader, Tara decides it’s time to secure her very own trope-worthy second-chance romance by revisiting all her ex-boyfriends. With the help of her new, devastating handsome tattooed commitment-phobe flatmate (yes, we all know where this is heading) she manages to track them all down in the hope they’ll reconnect and that she’ll finally find her happily ever after.
I loved the playful way Exes & O’s poked fun at romance clichés and tropes whilst fully embracing them. There were a lot of laugh-out-loud moments and pop culture references that made my book-obsessed millennial heart burst with joy. However, even though I found the inner monologue of our ‘adorkable’ MC strangely relatable, I also found her a little neurotic and shallow.
Whilst I adored the two-fingers Lea gave to the whole concept of “crazy ex-girlfriends” and the misogyny it’s clearly wrapped in, I found Tara’s obsession to find a man in order to achieve happiness slightly cringeworthy. Also, yes, she likes books but this quirk become one of her only personality traits. Her family, friends and work were totally glossed over and I really would have appreciated more time to figure out who Tara is instead of focusing solely on her quest to find a man.
Even though I found myself wishing Tara would embrace her own awesomeness and sexuality, Exes & O’s was a cute, fun, yet slightly predictable read that I’d definitely recommend to any of my fellow Booktok-obsessed romance readers.
Exes & O’s by Amy Lea will be released on January 19, 2023 and is available to pre-order HERE.
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