Thursday, April 24, 2014

ARC Review: The Break-Up Artist by Phillip Siegal

Title: The Break-Up Artist
Author: Phillip Siegel
Published: April 29, 2014 by Harlequin Teen
Amazon Goodreads

Synopsis: Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash. Some work at the Gap. Becca Williamson breaks up couples. 

After watching her sister get left at the altar, Becca knows the true damage that comes when people utter the dreaded L-word. For just $100 via paypal, she can trick and manipulate any couple into smithereens. With relationship zombies overrunning her school, and treating single girls like second class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even her best friend Val has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.

One night, she receives a mysterious offer to break up the homecoming king and queen, the one zombie couple to rule them all: Steve and Huxley. They are a JFK and Jackie O in training, masters of sweeping faux-mantic gestures, but if Becca can split them up, then school will be safe again for singletons. To succeed, she'll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date and wiggle her way back into her former BFF Huxley’s life – not to mention start a few rumors, sabotage some cell phones, break into a car, and fend off the inappropriate feelings she’s having about Val’s new boyfriend. All while avoiding a past victim out to expose her true identity.

No one said being the Break-Up Artist was easy

If you are a follower of this blog you know that I do monthly themes where I read a particular genre and this month is dystopia. By the sixth book I realized that this was probably not a good idea. Dystopia tends to mess with my head. It's full of action and makes you think critically about power and society. A lot of the books I read were slightly traumatizing and so many of them all at once left me wanting to curl up in the fetal position on my floor.  So needless to say, I needed a break from dystopia so when The Break-Up Artist arrived in my mailbox from On the Same Page ARC Tours I was so excited to read it. It was not at all what I was expecting in a Contemporary novel, but that made it better. This book taught me to not judge a book by its description. 

Upon first appearances The Break-Up Artist seems like your typical rom-com. A slightly jaded singleton meets a guy she can actually love but can't be with him because of unlikely circumstances but in the end they realize that nothing can keep them apart. But that was not what this book was about at all. This book was less about how love can conquer all and more about friendship and that true love isn't the cheesy romantic sort that we see in movies. It looks at love a lot more critically than most YA contemps do and was basically a parody on the insta-love we see a lot in the genre. If you like insta-love (but who really does?) and are looking for a heartwarming romance this is not the book for you. Now don't get me wrong there were classic rom-com elements and definitely a big storyline that has a "love can conquer all" message but it didn't feel predictable or generic. Everything about this book felt unique and refreshing. It had all the humor and lighthearted moments without any of the cheese factor. Plus like all good Contemporary books it effortlessly walked the line between heavy and light, making you laugh and making you think at the same time. 

One of the great things about this book for me were the characters. Just like the plot of the book, they seemed at the outset to be caricatures and tropes but were so much more. First and foremost in this category was Becca, the main character and MC. She is masquerading as The Break-Up Artist to destroy love at her high school spurned by her sister being jilted at the altar and her childhood best friend ditching her for a boy, she believes romance is a sham. I loved her voice throughout the novel. Anyone who has ever felt like a third-wheel can empathize with Becca. I felt connected with her from the very beginning. She's snarky, jaded and wise beyond her years but she is also naive and throughout the book learns that she doesn't really know about love. But she's not the only character who is deeper and more interesting than they appear, throughout the book many of the characters surprised me by not being such clich├ęs and ended up being more or less villainous than I expected, I won't say who for fear of spoilers. 

It was a quick read with good pacing. And despite the fact that there were a lot of moving parts to the story everything wrapped up into a nice tidy package which is something I was definitely glad about after reading so many series and standalones that left things unfinished. It was the kind of book that left me smiling and thinking how good it was. I wasn't blown away but it was very satisfying and the perfect break from the mind-explosion that dystopia month has become.

I give The Break-Up Artist by Phillip Siegel an 8 out of 10 

If you are looking for a typical rom-com you have come to the wrong place but if you are looking for a unique and interesting Young Adult Contemporary novel with complex and likable characters that will make you laugh and think more critically about love then this is the book for you.
Have you read The Break-Up Artist? Leave me a comment with your thoughts and of course HAPPY READING!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Cassi! I just want to tell you that you're nominated on my Sunshine Blog Award! Feel free to check it out if you choose to accept: