How to Break a Boy – Laurie Devore

What an incredible book! I pretty much read this in one sitting. It was like a freight train on its way to the biggest train wreck ever: absolutely captivating. I couldn’t look away, close my eyes, or stop reading. As Olivia says, just because you ignore it doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

Synopsis

Keep your enemies close, but your friends closer.

Olivia Clayton has mastered the art of tearing others down to stay on top. She and her best friend, Adrienne, rule their small southern town like all good mean girls do–through intimidation and manipulation.

After Olivia suffers a family tragedy and catches Adrienne sleeping with her boyfriend, Olivia is over it. She decides to make a change–but it’s impossible to resist taking Adrienne down one last time. Up to her old tricks, Olivia convinces golden boy Whit DuRant to be her SAT tutor and her fake boyfriend. But when it starts to feel real, Whit gets caught up in Olivia and Adrienne’s war.

Olivia may ruin everything she touches, but this time she won’t go down without a fight–not if it means losing Whit.

And definitely not if it means losing what’s left of herself.

Review

What an incredible book! I pretty much read this in one sitting. It was like a freight train on its way to the biggest train wreck ever: absolutely captivating. I couldn’t look away, close my eyes, or stop reading. As Olivia says, just because you ignore it doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

Olivia does some truly messed up stuff. So does Adrienne. So does pretty much everybody. They don’t just cross one line; they cross practically every line. I think the characters had to be this despicable for us to care about them at all. I also highly recommend that Adrienne goes into therapy or something.

And poor, poor Whit. Everyone sees it coming — Cason, the guidance counsellor, Ms. Baker, and even probably the DuRant parents. Olivia has the power to destroy everyone in her path. Whit calls her a beautiful catastrophe, and that’s pretty much the most accurate description of her possible.

Ryan and Claire sometimes seem like they function to serve key “issues,” mainly because their situations are definitely capital-I-Issues in a small town. It’s pretty apparent that Ryan’s drinking is a symptom/function of something bigger than just “sadness.” He’s depressed, but no one calls it that by name. And something that really stuck out to me was the completely polarizing responses surrounding Claire. They either hated her for who she was, or overcompensated by calling her brave. Is she really brave to just exist the way she does? Also, she is a total sweetheart and I’m so glad that Olivia and Adrienne have her. Where would they be otherwise?

This book was so unsettling for so long. People do some absurd things (the peanuts? Cutting people down in some Machiavellian power move? And why would they do the things they did to each other?). I will admit that Adrienne can be brilliant at times — the texts were masterful. At the same time, I really just want to see them push this petty behaviour behind them. I am so curious to see where they all are in 10 years. The only one I feel remotely assured about is Whit: life as part of the elite just works out for you in some charmed ways.

Related Reading

  • Since you’ve been gone – Morgan Matson
  • Winning – Lara Deloza
  • Mean Girls (2004)
  • Burn for Burn – Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

Rating: 5/5

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