Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel

The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel
Available Now
Contemporary YA
E-ARC from publisher
Harlequin Teen 
Hardcover 336 pages
To Buy Links- Amazon/ Kindle/ BN/ Book Depository/
Indiebound/ Kobo

From Goodreads-  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.

        Review

I have read a lot of so-so review of this novel but I really enjoyed it. I found myself making time to read it and looking forward to our drive from Florida to NC so I could excuse myself from everything else to read.
Yes Becca is jaded, for some good reasons, and it's a bit icky what she does, but this is fiction. 

Characters
Becca- Becca is the Break-up Artist. No one knows who she is because she wears a mask in her Skype interviews. She breaks couples up not for the reason you think. She breaks them up so girls can have their BFF's back. Yep, crazy, right? But haven't you ever lost a friend, maybe even for a little while to her relationship with her boyfriend? Becca is very jaded. She lost her BFF abruptly when she went from a nobody to The Someone to Be overnight because of her boyfriend and left Becca in the dust. And she has a daily reminder of how love can ruin your life, her sister, Diane, jilted at the altar six hours before the wedding.  Of course, Becca has never been in love, never had a guy show interest in her. No, I didn't really connect with her. I'm not nor have I ever felt that jaded. I've always believed in love. 
Val- Val is Becca's best friend and Becca is so sure she won't lose her to a relationship. But they are juniors in high school and Val just wants a boyfriend. She doesn't even care who as long as he's moderately good looking. Val is funny and a good friend until that relationship. But she's like every girl I knew in high school. The guy always came first.
Huxley- The ex-BFF and THE GIRL TO BE. She is a typical mean girl. This cliche is so worn out and yet, Siegel added a little depth to her and we get to see behind the facade of a mean girl. What makes her tick.
Diane- Diane is Becca's sister who was jilted at the altar. She has spent almost a year as a couch potato. She has removed herself from life, from her friends, even her family at times. She is bitter, resigned, and has a distorted view of what the world is like since her personal crisis. 

The World/Setting- It's high school. And home. And the coffee shop. It's a really gossipy high school. Maybe I was just out of the loop, but I do not remember high school being so harsh. But I do agree that boys are much more gossipy than boys. I have two, I hear all kinds of things!

The Story- Okay, so you know the story. Becca breaks up couples. Yes, it's not nice. But it's not nice to hire her either. So I had a little problem how that was kind of fluffed over at the end. The largest plot point is Becca is offered a largish sum of money to break the IT couple up. It would have all kinds of ramifications and benefits for Becca. But the IT couple seem unbreakable. And at what point is it not okay to cross the line that Becca has been crossing. (The IT couple has been together for 4 years).

The Good and The Bad- While I felt compelled to read the novel, I didn't agree with everything Becca did. Will we do anything for money? And at what age do we start? High school now? And really? Are we so jealous of our friend's happiness that we want to take it from them? Maybe I'm taking too serious of an approach for a YA fiction book. But there were some things I loved - Val and Becca's friendship. They had inside jokes and Friday night movies and so much more. Girls have great friendships, bonds that last from high school and beyond. There were signs of Diane having had great friendships with her college friends. They were in each other's weddings, invited to baby showers, and birthday parties and Diane even seemed to be responsible for a few of her friends meeting their husbands. Becca was great friends with them as well, a little sister of sorts. Even Huxley has some promising moments. I think the "thing" a lot of people had a problem with was the least of the problems I had. Taking money to break couples up is just wrong. I don't care if they belong together or not. Who am I to decide? Who are you to decide and who was Becca and her client to decide? That was the ick factor for me. 

But, I really enjoyed reading this novel. I liked seeing Becca do her work and then her house of cards come falling down and how she handles it. I liked to see what happened to Diane, if she ever got out of her Rutgers sweatshirt and flannel pajama pants. And I was very invested in Huxley and Steve. As much as Huxley was a mean girl, Steve seemed like a nice guy. I'm a sucker for an HEA! So I finished the novel rather quickly (for me these days) and really did look forward to being able to read it. If you can get past what Becca does it's a good novel.

Thanks to Harlequin Teen for an E-ARC of the novel for review. This in no way influenced my review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Find the Author
Philip Siegel

8 comments:

  1. I also think that taking money to brake up couples is just not right, but by the end, I also feel that this was also the point of the story, to show her that what she does it bad... Let see how she grows in the next book:)

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  2. Oh, I'm glad you enjoyed this one, too, Heather! I found it to be a really fun and refreshing sort of read - different than my usual. Lovely review!

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  3. Hmmm.... I am now VERY intrigued by this one. Thanks for the very thorough, amazing review!

    Sabrina @ I Heart Y.A. Fiction

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  4. I'm glad I haven't read many reviews for this one as I have it up for review next month. I will say that your review has me intrigued and I wonder if I would have the same questions like you do.

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  5. I just don't think it is for me. I think it is too drama filled and I don't like the sound of the MC. I just don't think I would be pleased with the maturity and the high school drama.

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  6. This... actually sounds like MY kind of book. What does that even say about me?

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  7. I too really loved the friendship with Val and Becca... and while like you I didn't agree with everything she did, I understood her emotions and mindset which helped

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  8. Sounds alright. I don't remember high school being so gossipy either.

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