Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Review: The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel

The Break-Up Artist
by Philip Siegel 

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: April 2014
Page Count: 319
Format: E-Book
Source: Netgalley (thank you!)

Goodreads Synopsis: Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash.

Some work at the mall.

Becca Williamson breaks up couples.

Becca knows from experience the damage that love can do. After all, it was so-called love that turned Huxley from her childhood best friend into a social-world dictator, and love that left Becca's older sister devastated at the altar. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, Becca strikes back—for just one hundred dollars via PayPal, she will trick and manipulate any couple's relationship into smithereens. And with relationship zombies overrunning her school and treating single girls as if they're second-class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even Becca's best friend, Val, has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.

One night, Becca receives a mysterious offer to break up the most popular couple in school: Huxley and raw football team's star player, Steve. To succeed, she'll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date—starting rumors, sabotaging cell phones, breaking into cars...not to mention sneaking back into Huxley's good graces. All while fending off the inappropriate feelings she may or may not be having for Val's new boyfriend.

No one said being the Break-Up Artist would be easy.


Review: I was really excited about the prospect of reading this book. When I first saw it on Netgalley, I fell in love with the cover before anything else (as I usually do). Then I read the synopsis and I was very intrigued by it. A teenage girl who gets paid via Paypal in order to break up relationships? That is certainly not something that I have ever read about before. While I knew it would probably not be realistic at all (how would she keep that quiet?), I was still very interested in reading something that seemed like it could be a fun, amusing story. 

The beginning of the story was very good, and at first I believed that Becca was a very good main character. She's upset about losing her former best friend to a boy, and feels the hurt her sister is dealing with after being left at the altar. Ultimately, I could at least understand why Becca had some things against love and believed that people were better without it. Still, I'm not sure that it made sense that she was the one causing the hurt when it was something that she was supposedly against. 

The dialogue in this book was clever and humorous. There were several times when I was reading that I found myself laughing out loud. Of course, this was a bit embarrassing when it happened in public, but I'm pretty used to that happening when I'm reading. I feel like the dialogue made up for a lot of the negatives in the book, in fact, though it could not completely cover up some of the things that I did not like. 

I felt that some of the characters were incredibly stereotypical, and I really do not like reading about those types of characters in young adult books. I feel that we are constantly teaching children not to be this way about people, so it should not find its way into the books that they are reading. Some of the characters just did not seem real at all, I guess because I did not feel they were developed enough, or that they did things that did not make sense. While the dialogue made up for this a bit, it certainly could not erase it completely. 

The middle of the book seemed to drag on forever, and there was a point when I was worried that I was going to have to put the book down and not finish it. However, I really did want to finish since I had been so excited about the whole thing. I guess it just felt like the same things were happening over and over again in the middle of the story. Luckily, it did begin to pick up pace again at the end, and I do believe that the ending was planned out very, very well. It was a nice ending to the book, I do believe. 

While overall there were some things about the book I did not like (Becca, the main character, became a bit annoying as the book progressed, showing a lack of character growth), I do think that the book was a nice, light summer read. It was a funny contemporary that I think a lot of people will enjoy, probably more than I did. I suppose maybe my expectations were too high for this book, and it was not able to stand up to those expectations. Still, I believe the book is worth a read.

Rating: 3.0 / 5.0

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