May 1, 2014

REVIEW: The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel

The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: April 29, 2014
Source: Negalley*
Rating: 4/5
Get it: Amazon | B&N
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.

My Review
I can describe The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel as a clever, odd and very funny. The book had a very charming and endearing quality because of the main character, Becca and because of the young love that surrounded the book. 

What I do like about this novel is that we get to know Becca and see her in action. She had a very strong, personable voice and had this sarcasm and wit that was very entertaining. The way she breaks up couples is explicitly explained from the initial contact, to the planning and to the step by step take down. Becca wasn’t exactly a “good” character, but she certainly wasn’t bad or evil either. She of course, had good intentions, but was just a little misguided. Her reasonings and justifications were very hard to wrap my mind around, but I could see where she was coming from especially with what she saw around her. Despite Becca’s shortcomings, she does grow as a character. She develops a stronger bond with her sister and mother through the schemes. Becca especially learns the value of true friendship and what love should be. 

Being the break up artist was not all it was cracked up to be for Becca. It seemed like a sweet deal and it felt like she was helping those hiring her and the single people of Ashland, but ultimately it was manipulation and deceit on Becca’s part. She learned the hard way, but the upside was being able to see how wrong she was. Becca was starting to feel and see Huxley in a new light, she realized the difference between liking someone for the excitement vs the real thing, and how love can be seen in different ways. By the end of the book, Becca wasn’t cynical anymore. 

I have to say that Becca was pretty smart and sly for her business. All the diabolical planning she did with her sister was super entertaining. Some of the schemes make you go “whaaaaat” but it somehow worked though. Because of Becca’s sarcasm with her bitterness and clever comebacks, it does make way for more than a few chuckles here and there. I did love Huxley and Steve's relationship because it was the perfect example of high school love that could potentially grow into more later on. I only found Becca’s best friend to be the one downfall of this book because of her behavior. I didn’t like how she was obsessed with wanting and needing a boyfriend for the sake of having one and then ditched Becca when she did. I also found the exaggeration about girls only caring about having boyfriends and looking down on those who are single really extreme. Some parts of the book were over the top and slightly unrealistic, but I really liked The Break-Up Artist. 

Overall, this novel was creative and enjoyable. It was very reminiscent to Mean Girls, but focused on relationships and friendship. Great book all around. 

*Thanks to Harlequin Teen for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review

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