Review: Gwen and Art Are Not In Love by Lex Croucher

To be truly brave, first you must be afraid—and to be afraid, you must have something you cannot bear to lose.

Gwen and Art Are Not In Love by Lex Croucher


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.

It’s been hundreds of years since King Arthur’s reign. His descendant, Arthur, a future Lord and general gadabout, has been betrothed to Gwendoline, the quick-witted, short-tempered princess of England, since birth. The only thing they can agree on is that they despise each other.

They’re forced to spend the summer together at Camelot in the run up to their nuptials, and within 24 hours, Gwen has discovered Arthur kissing a boy and Arthur has gone digging for Gwen’s childhood diary and found confessions about her crush on the kingdom’s only lady knight, Bridget Leclair.

Realizing they might make better allies than enemies, they make a reluctant pact to cover for each other, and as things heat up at the annual royal tournament, Gwen is swept off her feet by her knight and Arthur takes an interest in Gwen’s royal brother. Lex Croucher’s Gwen and Art Are Not in Love is chock full of sword-fighting, found family, and romantic shenanigans destined to make readers fall in love.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book is chock-full of slow-burn romances and friendships, all of which made me melt. The pacing of the progression for each relationship was perfect. I was invested in all the highs and lows and never felt like any relationship was being neglected in favor of another. Even the side characters developed relationships among each other and with the main characters, ultimately creating a solid matrix of found family support.

The author also balanced and paced the characters’ internal arcs perfectly. All of the moving parts between and within the characters made them feel real and relatable. I was impressed by the subtle complexity the author built throughout the story.

I appreciated that the characters acted their age. Gwen, a 17/18 year old princess, actually behaved like an immature, sheltered teenager. (Don’t get me wrong, she behaved like a likeable main character too.) Arthur was the most interesting character to me, with his struggle between giving in to his unhealthy alcohol coping mechanism and still trying to act from a place of positivity. He does some of the jerkiest things, but he also does some of the sweetest ones. Gwen’s birthday party was my favorite scene.

Speaking of sweet, Arthur and Gabriel bonding over their mutual affection for animals was possibly my absolute favorite part. There’s nothing quite like being co-adopted by a cat or helping a bird to heal to indicate that the romance is unquestionably meant to be.

Another possible favorite part for me (there are so many to choose from!) was the strong dialogue. The banter between characters often made me literally laugh out loud.

Aside from the characters, the worldbuilding was also interesting. I especially liked the cult that rose up around Morgana. While the author did a fantastic job peppering in foreshadowing and clues from the very beginning, the intense focus on relationships for the first 3/4 of the book made the political climax feel a bit over the top. I was a bit lost sometimes, like when a chapter ended mid-scene with one character yelling at another to basically watch out, and then in the next chapter the action is over and we never find out what happened. The whole climactic part definitely got my heart racing, though, and provided the pressure points for the characters to show how they’d grown throughout the story.

All in all, I’m delighted that I read this book. The dialogue alone makes it worthwhile, and the complexity of characters and world is icing on the cake.

You might like this if you like: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers; The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune; the Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire; the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer

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