The Ex Games was a feel-good read that had an awesome battle of the (s)exes, a cool younger brother (well, as cool as younger brothers can get), fun snowboarding tricks, and the usual teen drama. There was a lot of push-and-pull in this story, which is why it totally reminded me of Katy Perry’s Hot N Cold LOL, and I’m probably a little masochistic because I really like the heartaches and the reconciliations that come afterwards with the main couple.
Seventeen-year-old Hayden wants to become a professional snowboarder, but is set back by her fear of jumps due to a past traumatic accident. When she wins a local snowboarding competition and gets a chance to train under one of the top female snowboarders around, her friends (as well as her younger brother and his friends) attempt to help her get over her fear. What’s more, Hayden’s ex, Nick (who Hayden may or may not still have a little crush on) makes the mistake of telling Hayden that if she was competing against a dude, she wouldn’t stand a chance. Hayden and Nick’s friends – as well as the rest of the guys and gals in town – set aside their relationships in this battle of the sexes, and the whole town is betting on Hayden and Nick’s snowboarding competition… and Hayden and Nick’s past relationship is brought to the surface again, with revelations that shock them both.
There’s quite a bit of a backstory on Hayden and Nick’s short relationship in seventh grade, and it’s one of those stories that makes you think, “Oh, those teenagers…” because really, it’s nothing super exciting to me, but it was probably devastating to Hayden. Girl, when you’re five years older, you’d be laughing at yourself! (Oh wait, four years after their relationship and they’re still being all hot n’ cold. Sigh.) Hayden holds a grudge on Nick, even though Nick is like the typical playboy (who’s sensitive, because playboys always have to be sensitive and caring in books!) who is absolutely IRRESISTIBLE and Hayden is so torn between believing he still likes her and hating him forever. Yeah, typical teenage drama.
Sometimes the story gets a bit confusing, because one second Nickden (Haynick?) are all up in each other’s face mingling breaths and ready to kiss, and another one or the other starts blowing the other one off for some teeny tiny reason. I’ll just keep repeating myself: typical teenage drama. I’m taking a class on adolescent health and development right now, and I’m totally over-analyzing the Nickden phenomenon right now, haha. Hooray for PUBERTY!
And the battle of the (s)exes is a clever premise because it makes this book more about just one couple, but rather, also about the friendship between Hayden and her best friends. The side couples are amusing in their own way, and distracts me from the Nickden disaster when I got bored of it at times, and it’s cool how the entire town joins in to support either Hayden or Nick. Small town stories are great in that sense, because everyone knows each other and the community is just there.
My favorite part of The Ex Games is Hayden’s relationship with her lil’ bro, Josh, who’s endearing and funny and is a pro rapper (not really). Hayden also has pretty cool parents, so overall, her family is awesome. Echols should totally write a sequel based on Josh’s kind-of relationship with his crush!
The Ex Games is a light chick lit read that has a lot of good things going for it, although the push-and-pull of the main couple might be annoying at times. I liked that Echols was able to infuse other themes into the story, such as friendship and sibling love, and I was entertained overall. It’s also a quick read, so if you’re in the mood for something fun and aren’t overly picky about your chick lit, give this one a go!