Posted 20 hours ago

Gwen and Art Are Not in Love: ‘An outrageously entertaining take on the fake dating trope’

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Gwen and Art are Not in Love was written specifically for me. This I believe wholeheartedly. As someone whose greatest passions are silly little romcoms, the writing of Lex Croucher, and Arthurian legends, this book has been my most anticipated read since the moment it was announced. With so much excitement for this book, I was worried it might not live up to my own personal hype, but somehow it managed to surpass all my expectations. Gwen & Art Are Not in Love was exactly what I needed right now—a delightful, heart-warming, hilarious historical romp, overflowing with queer panic and terrible jokes. I loved it.” - Alice Oseman, New York Times bestselling author of the Heartstopper series

crouch’s debut ya novel is absolutely overflowing with sugar-spun prose and a thoughtful mix of era-appropriate lexicon as well as more facetious modern-day idiom. this is not a historical fiction work nor a retelling and in skirting the limitations of such, crouch is given more room to play around with the story and keep it all fairly light-hearted/unpretentious. that is, until we enter the last third of the novel wherein the tone assumes a darker pitch. this variation of the novel’s character stumbled on so suddenly i experienced a tremendous degree of whip-lash and not for the better. by the end however, i came to a slightly begrudged acceptance of this new direction for the plot and the ending was beautiful albeit tempered with bittersweetness. Heartstopper meets A Knight’s Tale in this queer medieval rom com YA debut about love, friendship, and being brave enough to change the course of history. The chapters alternated between Gwen and Arthur's perspectives at a rather imbalanced rate. They didn't feel like the story was progressing at each meeting - it was more like reading a glimpse into a diary entry to one said part of their life and then we don't get any immediate follow-up to it, jumping right into the other character's situation. And as each chapter was relatively short, it would then be almost a necessity to have another chapter from said character's POV, to complete that scene. I mean, what's the point of alternating POVs one at a time, and then having two chapters dedicated solely to the character's POV? It just makes for inconsistency and abrupt cut-offs without really allowing the depth of the story to sink in. 🤔

Unconventional royal romances are a lot more fun that I give them credit for. This one was an all-around good time with easy banter between protagonists, and several heartwarming moments between both couples. Art and his bodyguard were too funny for their own good, while Gwen and her brother tugged at my heartstrings all throughout this story. I flew through this book in a day, which is a commendable achievement considering how slowly I’ve been reading because of school. If you enjoyed that movie from yester-year, The Knight's Tale, then I'm sure the writing would definitely be to your liking. It was just too hip, too modern, too uncharacteristically unfitting to the timeline it was representing. I get that it's 'historical-ish' and I should just treat it as an Arthurian romcom set in a medieval-ish setting, but there's only so much I can take when 'shit' is part of their daily vocabulary or knowing what century the characters were living in! 😩 And yes I DID love this book. A queer Knight’s Tale(that should persuade you already) this romcom has a glittering cast of adorable characters, cheeky world-building (the royalty are so obsessed with their potentially magic lineage to King Arthur that there’s a court wizard) and more witty repartee than you can shake a sword at.

When Gwen catches Art kissing a boy and Art discovers where Gwen hides her diary (complete with racy entries about Bridget Leclair, the kingdom's only female knight), they become reluctant allies. By pretending to fall for each other, their mutual protection will be assured. Told in dual POV alternating between Gwen, the stubborn and highly-strung princess of England and Art, the rougeish and thoughtless man she has been betrothed to her entire life, the book manages to explore themes of internalised homophobia and coming-of-age with ease. Lex Croucher has a gift for making even the most frustrating characters incredibly lovable, and there wasn't a single member of the core cast that wasn't fully fleshed out and wonderful. Gwen and Art may not be in love, but I am in love with THEM, your honour. And Gabe and Bridget, for that matter.it was dangerous to want things, and gwen was out of practice. in fact, the only thing she had truly wanted for years was to be left alone.” Kurt Vonnegut once famously said that true terror is waking up one morning to discover your high school classmates running the country. I'll raise him a millennial variation: true terror is reading a book that you can tell was written by someone who used Tumblr at the same time you did. Surprisingly the plot even kept me on my toes. You might wonder how a “Medieval romantic comedy”, could possibly do that… But the wonderful bits of Arthurian lore, strategically placed throughout the story, really created a wonderful book.

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