Review: Artifacts of an Ex by Jennifer Chen

Artifacts of an Ex by Jennifer Chen cover shows a girl on the left standing with one leg bent and a boy on the right with one hand in his pocket. They hold up a broken heart between them.

Artifacts of an Ex
Jennifer Chen
Wednesday Books
Published November 14, 2023

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Artifacts of an Ex by Jennifer Chen

When Chloe Chang gets dumped via USPS after moving across the county from NYC to LA, her first instinct is to throw her box of memories in the garbage. Instead, she starts buying other teenagers’ break-up boxes to create an art exhibit, Heartifacts. Opening night is going great, until she spots Daniel Kwak illicitly filming his best friend’s reaction to his ex’s box. When she tries to stop him, an intense discussion ends up launching a creative partnership and friendship… and a major crush for Chloe.

There’s just one problem: Daniel is dead set on not being another rebound.

Five times he’s been the guy who makes the girls he’s dating realize they want to get back with their ex. And he refuses for there to be a sixth. She insists she’s over her ex, but when he shows up unexpectedly with his new girlfriend, it turns out Daniel was right. She isn’t ready for a new relationship.

She throws herself into making Heartifacts successful, but flashy influencers threaten her original vision of the exhibit. To create the exhibit she’s always wanted, Chloe needs to go back to basics, learn to work with artists in a more collaborative way, and discover what love can be. Only then will she convince Daniel she’s truly ready for everything they could be to one another.

In the tradition of Jenny Han and Emma Lord, Jennifer Chen’s ARTIFACTS OF AN EX is a story of love, art, and finding your way when everything you know has changed completely.

Artifacts of an Ex on Goodreads

My Review

The whole story is told from Chloe’s point of view, which makes this a little different than some of the other contemporary YA romances I’ve read lately. I liked it that way, though. I felt like there was a good balance between the romance and Chloe’s family relationships and her investment in her exhibit, and I had no trouble figuring out what Daniel was thinking or doing because he appeared in a lot of scenes and was a pretty straightforward guy.

I liked Chloe’s friends, especially Vincent and Francesca, friends Chloe meets in Los Angeles. I felt like they contributed the right amounts of truth and humor in all the right places. Chloe’s grandmother has dementia, and watching Chloe and her family navigate the stages of that loss took me back to my own grandmother’s battle with Lewy Body dementia. I loved that Chloe’s Ahma still had moments of clarity and was able to connect with her, but it broke my heart every time her illness prevented her from being able to do that.

All in all, I loved reading this sweet romance peppered with strong side characters and full of art and life in Los Angeles. I can definitely see fans of Jenny Han and Emma Lord liking this one.

Artifacts of an Ex on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Chloe and Daniel are Asian American. Chloe’s best friend is bisexual. Daniel’s best friend is gay. Chloe makes another friend who is a lesbian.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Strong profanity used a few times; mild profanity used more frequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between a boy and girl. Chloe notices Daniel’s butt in one scene. In one scene, Daniel answers the door in a towel. References to sex. Brief touching on top of clothes in one scene.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content

Drug Content

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything but help support this blog. I received a free copy of ARTIFACTS OF AN EX in exchange for my honest review.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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