The Break-Up Artist – Philip Siegel

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

THIS WAS SO DISAPPOINTING. Quite frankly, it was terrible.

I can’t even pinpoint specific things that were wrong with this story. It was really juvenile. Also, it made a lot of assumptions about human behaviour that were so painfully off-base. In other words, it was really, really sexist (and compounded by a male author, natch!).

1. Not everyone is dying and desperate for a high school relationship. Come on, this is high school. Some people have other priorities. Even when it SEEMED like we were getting somewhere with strong, independent people, they ended up desperate to get together too! Argh!
2. Girls are not at the mercy of the boys/their boyfriends. More often than not, the guy was the one orchestrated to break up with the girl. This wrongly made boys seem petty, and also assumed that girls go CRAZY for their guys.
3. Mr. Towne. There is no way this guy could’ve found Becca.
4. The whole Ezra mess was disgusting. I think it was supposed to be, but STILL. HOW COULD THEY FALL FOR THOSE LINES?
5. The one actual example of love in the whole book came too late. Also, it was love at a different stage from that experienced by the target audience. How come there couldn’t be a single, normal, and healthy high school relationship out there? Inquiring minds are struggling to figure this one out.

Overall, the characters were flat caricatures, the plot was shallow, and the execution was juvenile. Too bad, since the premise was intriguing.

Related Reading

  • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks – E. Lockhart (100x cooler schemes!)
  • The Dating Game (series) – Natalie Standiford (they were both really bad)
  • Georgetown Academy (series) – Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz

Rating: 1/5

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