Book Review: The Guy, the Girl, the Artist and His Ex

Title: The Guy, the Girl, the Artist and His Ex

Author: Gabrielle Williams

My Rating: 4 Stars

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This book was really fun, really intriguing and a great read. It was light, but heavy; funny but sad and was such a great Aussie read. I definitely recommend this if you are wanting to read a bit more Aussie YA because this was really entertaining.


A rock chick.

An artist with attitude.

A girl with a past.

A party animal.

Four lives collide when one of the world’s most famous paintings is stolen. It’s a mystery that has the nation talking, but while Picasso’s Weeping Woman might be absent from the walls of the National Gallery, in other parts of Melbourne the controversial painting’s presence is being felt by Guy, Rafi, Luke and Penny for four very different reasons.

Life, love, art and one giant party intersect in this offbeat comedy about good intentions, unexpected consequences and the irresistible force of true love.

My Thoughts:

This book was one I picked up on a whim at the Sydney Writer’s Festival this year and I am really glad I did. It was such a pleasant surprise to read it and be sucked into to the world that I know so world, and to read Australian characters in an Australian setting. We need more Oz YA!

This book follows the theft of Picasso’s Weeping Woman and how four people’s lives are intertwined around it. You have the Guy, who funnily enough is called Guy, who is struggling with school but in denial about it happening. You have the girl, Rafi, who is just trying to finish year 12 even though her mother is still distraught about her son’s drowning years after the fact. You have the artist, Luke, who thinks stealing the Picasso is a great way to fight the world. And finally you have the Ex, Penny, who is still in love with Luke but trying to focus on her life and her beautiful baby Josh.

The characters in this book are so wonderful, real and Australian. I have met every single one of these characters before in this book. They’re complicated, messy and such a great example of what real life is. Every so often you read a book that is so wonderfully poignant and moving and this book is one of those.

The main part of the book surrounds a party, a party which two main characters meet and where the other two main characters get pulled in. This party is the key part of the book, and you don’t even realise how it pulls everything together until it does.

There are so many cool elements in this book. You have the Australian Cultural Terrorists and art history coming into the story, you have the South American legend of La Llorona playing a huge role of the story and you have the themes of family, friends and loyalty also being covered. All of this is done so seamlessly, you just keep reading wanting to know more. There was a whole lot of tension through the book as well and I couldn’t put it down in parts because I just needed to know what was happening.

This book resonated deep within me and the ending was absolutely wonderful. It wasn’t all tied up in a neat bow, all the questions weren’t answered but it was a good ending that left you smiling. Sometimes endings like this are overrated, but this one ended the book on a great note. I will definitely be checking out more of Gabrielle Williams work!

Recommended for: If you love reading Aussie fiction, like contemporaries and enjoy relatable yet intriguing books, then you will love this one!

Quotes (Spoiler Free):

“Maybe that was why people called it ‘madly in love’ – because it required a degree of madness, of actually insanity, to remain in love with someone when all the evidence pointed to the fact that he was an arsehole and that you were better off without him.”

“But the way I see it, you’ve got two ways of handling stuff in life – the shitty stuff, I’m talking about. One: you handle it, you deal with it, and you move on, changed but somehow better for it. You can’t know how it’s made you better, but you have to believe it has, because otherwise you’ve gone through all that pain for nothing.”

“Guy was pretty sure he was going to be an amnesiac for a very long time.”

“Because when you’d had a shit night, an elbow to the face was exactly how you wanted to top it off.”

Buy it here.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend that you check it out. Let me know what you think below!

xx Maddy xx

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