Exes & O’s by Amy Lea (she/her)

Exes & O’s by Amy Lea

The rundown:

Tara Chen is a certified Romance Book Lover and has no qualms about wishing for her own real life epic love story. No matter that she’s been called crazy and clingy and “too much” by exes. On her quest to find The One, Tara decides to revisit her ten exes with the hopes of constructing her very own second-chance romance. Tara ropes her new roommate - grumpy, tattooed firefighter Trevor, who stays far away from relationships, thank you very much - into helping her reconnect with her exes. But the more time they spend together, plotting “accidental” run-ins with exes and overanalyzing The Bachelor, the more Tara sees that Trevor appreciates her true, dramatic self. And she starts to wonder if maybe she’s been searching for her happily ever after in the wrong places all this time.  


The review:

I had so much fun reading this. Tara’s attempts at reconnecting with her exes go hilariously wrong in a way that’s reminiscent of your favorite 90s and 2000s romcoms. Trevor truly is Hero Material, a great, if entirely expected, contemporary romance love interest. But the best part of this book is Tara’s character, including her growth. She finds deep fulfillment in her relationships, gets attached easily, and devotes her whole self to her partner (and it has nothing to do with “Daddy issues” or any sort of childhood trauma!). She sees absolutely nothing wrong with her Big Feelings. Exes & O’s is feminist in a way that we don’t see much of in the genre, which is one of its best attributes. Tara, as a woman who actively seeks out and wants to be in a romantic relationship, feels like a fresh addition to the repertoire of romance heroines. And author Amy Lea’s addressing of the “crazy” stigma that pressures so many women into acting like a Cool Girl feels necessary. Tara’s character growth doesn’t involve taming any of her dramatic, over-the-top romantic tendencies and instead centers on understanding why she’s been searching for love with her exes in the first place. 

Goes well with:

There’s a special place in my heart for books about book lovers. There’s an even more special place in my heart for romance books that intentionally, competently play around with popular genre tropes to explore what they mean to us and why we love them. To that end, enjoy Book Lovers by Emily Henry after you finish this one.