Rummanah Aasi
 One of the debut novels that I was looking forward to read is Philip Siegel's The Break Up Artist. I liked the sound of the book's synopsis and the fact that the main protagonist has ambivalent feelings toward romance. While I did enjoy the book in parts, I thought it was a bit uneven.

Description: 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 the 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: Becca Williamson does not stand out among the hundreds of kids attending Ashland High, but has a very popular secret alter go. She is the Break-Up Artist, one who engineers couples' downfalls for only $100. Becca isn't against love, but very cynical of it. She has seen what it can do to those around her: how her sister has become bitter and lonely after she was jilted at the altar, how her parents act more like siblings than lovers, and how she lost her old best friend, Huxley, years back when Huxley started dating a popular football player named Steve.
  I liked that Becca was a complex person. On the one hand I wanted to admire her for using her keen eye and a razor-sharp wit along with her other skills to break up her classmates for profit. However on the other hand I was taken aback on how she continuously justifies herself  as she manipulates classmates' relationships with fake notes to ex-girlfriends, surreptitious text messages, and more when I thought about what she was doing a bit more. Becca's attitude toward love is deeply seated in resentment and jealousy which she refuses to accept. I kept hoping that while Becca is on a big assignment, she would become self-aware of her actions and develop some empathy for her victims, especially when she becomes someone even she would despise when she starts hooking up with her best friend's boyfriend. Becca does learn some hard lessons, but I wasn't really convinced of them.
  The Break Up Artist has all the makings of a good romantic-comedy that had humor and a plot that kept me reading, but instead of giving us a happy sigh and warm feelings as we close the book, we are left unsure of whether or not to embrace Becca or to feel sorry for her. 

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language and scenes of underage drinking. Recommended for Grade 9 and up.

If you like this book try: The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers by Lynn Weingarten, Jinx by Meg Cabot
4 Responses
  1. I have read some rather negative reviews on this one and I decided to skip it I am not a fan of revenge type books and this one doesn't seem to have a positive message, so I will pass. Thanks for the insight.

  2. Candace Says:

    I'm definitely unsure about this one. I'm thinking by your review that it might not work for me. I would prefer if it was more comedy, I guess. Thanks for the review!

  3. Jenny Says:

    I can definitely understand why you wanted to believe in Becca's self-realization a bit more Rummanah, I think I would want that as well. Nothing makes me happier than a character who shows a great deal of maturity and growth over the course of a book, but it doesn't quite sound like Becca gets all the way there which is a shame. Thanks for your thoughts!!!

  4. What a shame that you found Becca's self-realization not very believable. The only reason I want to read books with characters like Becca is that I want to see them learn their lesson but if it's not done convincingly, I end up just disliking the book. I think I'll pass on this one, Rummanah.

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