Overall Grade: 3.5 ⭐️
Tropes: Friends to Lovers, Afraid to commit, Fake relationship/wing-woman, Never marry
Sara Ney’s The Make Out Artist continues her Accidentally in Love series, focusing on main characters who tend to fall into love while trying to stay away from it. This is definitely the case for Elias and Molly in this Ney’s newest offering. Eli and Molly meet at a small get-together at Molly’s house. Not keen on a weekday party, Molly hides away to complete some work. She is interrupted by Elias/Eli who was brought to the party by his sister. When a woman at the party tries to hit on him, he decides to hide upstairs when he encounters Molly. He likes that she is forthright and doesn’t suffer fools. When she tries to get him to leave her alone, he decides he wants her to act as his wing woman, a protection against women who are trying to get him to ask them on dates. At first, Molly has no interest, but when her old friend, Tripp Wallace, invites them both to a function as each other’s dates, she relents. As Molly and Eli spend more time together, they realize they are more alike than different, and their situationship moves into a relationship. When Eli’s ex threatens their newfound happiness, you wonder if a happy ending is in the “cards” for this couple.
I appreciate a series that focuses on accidental love pairings, and they’ve been fairly interesting reads, but Ney’s stories, quite frankly, feel just a bit messy. Did I like Elias and Molly? Yes, for the most part. Quite honestly, I didn’t believe their chemistry until it became physical. Even then, I don’t entirely believe that they fell hard for each other in love. And I want to believe them, but for much of the story, Eli seems more attracted to Molly than Molly is attracted to Eli. Then, all of a sudden, she likes and then suddenly loves him. For me, there is a consistency issue in her character development.
Secondly, the eventual issue with Elias’s ex- feels like an add-on, a way to add drama to the story. It doesn’t seem organically integrated or developed. It creates a “hiccup” for Elias and Molly’s future, which seems unnecessary to the story. There would have been other ways to create the tension such as the demands of Eli’s job within the context of a relationship. I would have loved to see more of this built into the story.
Lastly, I love Molly. She saved Tripp in his romance, and I’m not sure that Ney did her justice here. Some moments are cute between these two, but Molly, with the fire of her former book, was missing that fire in her own story.
I have to be real here. I struggled with The Make Out Artist. I’m a fast reader, and this was a bit of a slug in reading because I didn’t feel Elias and Molly’s spark until the end. It may be me and my reading interests, so if you love yourself some Sara Ney, then you may want to grab this one.
In love and romance,