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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of Gwen & Art Are Not in Love by Lex Croucher

Lex Croucher's queer medieval rom-com--the author's debut young-adult novel--is an absolute gem; it's full of excellent banter and lots of heart. I smiled while reading this one.

“Nobody else is ever going to care as much as you do about the things that you want, Gwendoline. So it's up to you --you can put them aside forever, if you can live with that, or you can put on your big-girl girdle and demand more for yourself.”

It's hundreds of years after King Arthur's reign, and his descendant and namesake Arthur, a future lord and committed partier and social butterfly, has long been betrothed to the short-tempered princess Gwendoline.

Gwendoline has strong opinions and is feeling constricted in her prescribed royal role even without the weight of her pending marriage upon her.

But Gwendoline and Arthur detest each other. And when they're forced to spend the summer together at Camelot to prepare for their upcoming nuptials, it doesn't take long for them to realize that Art has been kissing a boy and that Gwen has a crush on the only female knight in the kingdom.

They would make better allies than enemies, and as they agree to cover for each other amid sword-fighting, royal court goings-on, and romantic dramas, they forge a friendship that just might last.

The premise of Lex Croucher's Gwen & Art Are Not in Love is irresistible, the pacing is great, and the banter is excellent--funny dialogue is a favorite element of mine. I adored the voices of the characters and witnessing their growth over the course of the story.

I just loved the redefining of class-driven limitations (as with the attraction between Gwen's lady's maid and Arthur's right-hand-man); the unorthodox and touching loyalty within a reimagined Gwen-Arthur relationship; and the LGBTQ-positive, actively reinvented possibilities for the royals.

This didn't feel strictly young adult to me, although it's certainly romantic without being explicit regarding scenes of attraction and expressions of love. The story deals with issues of identity, showing resolve in the face of strict societal expectations, and redefining relationships and traditional roles.

I received a digital edition of this title courtesy of NetGalley and St. Martin's Press.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Lex Croucher is also the author of Infamous, Reputation, Trouble, the upcoming Not for the Faint of Heart, and other books.


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