Monday, April 28, 2014

[Review: The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel]

"The Break-Up Artist"
Author: Philip Siegel
Series: None
Pages: 336
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Date Published: April 29th, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format Read: eARC provided by publisher (via NetGalley) for honest review


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 Thoughts:

An Open Letter To The Break-Up Artist,

Congrats, you just won for the first book this year to make irate.  It's an honor you shouldn't take lightly, because it takes a lot for me to write a rant filled review.  You could have been so cool too.  I guess I give you points for having a cool concept and some funny one liners, but when I got down to the nitty-gritty with you, I just can't support what you're selling.  It made me sad that you were a story fueled by revenge created out of self inflicted victimization.  I'm not a fan of books that make "martyr syndrome" seem normal.  That's why I didn't mind breaking up with you, so I guess you succeeded in your ultimate goal.

-The White Unicorn

Guys, this book.  I don't think a book has left me this irritated in a really long time.  I was really looking forward to it and kept reading till the end because I was hoping that it would redeem itself.  It had so many chances to do so, but it never happened.  I'm probably going to be one of the black sheep when it comes to this one, but reviewing books is all about being honest, and so get ready for a heavy dose of honesty.

I do have to admit that I appreciate what Siegel was trying to do with this book.  He had a great premise and some intelligent thoughts.  I even thought his writing style was easy to read.  Though the pacing was a little boring and that it would have been nice to see more of the scheming parts.  But, even with the good stuff, when it comes down to it, he chose to make his female characters extremely bitter and the story seemed really far fetched.  I mean all of this "break-up artist" stuff would have been so much better if Becca was an anti-hero.  Instead she was self victimizing brat who decided that since her friend dumped her for a boyfriend years ago, she didn't want anyone to be happy or in a relationship in her high school.  At least she had the gumption to take payment for her actions.

Becca's whole life is a joke.  She's running around breaking people up while also helping her best friend snag a boyfriend that she has nothing in common with.  She wants the single people of the school to take over and yet she still helps Val land a boyfriend.  Why?  Isn't that the opposite of her life goal?  Plus, then she ends up messing it up all on her own, some pal she is.

And can we talk about Becca's sister?  Seriously, a guy dumped you on your wedding day.  We get it, that sucks, but this grown woman sits in her room eating chips and candy in her sweat pants for a year.  At least we know that self victimization is a hereditary trait in the family.

I'm a huge advocate of people getting their emotions out and dealing with their issues in their own way.  I really am, but the way these women were portrayed in this book really pissed me off.  I wanted them to rise above the crap that had happened to them in the past and be triumphant while taking control of their own actions.  Sometimes you have to stop wallowing and move past things so that you can have an amazing life.  There was a glimpse of this at the end of the book, but it came a little too late if you ask me.

  1 Unicorn = No, just NO!   


Giselle said...

Oh nooooo! I got this one for review too and I was unsure about it at first but then I wasn't seeing anything and figured no news was good news >.< I think Becca could be a hit or miss for me. I don't mind unlikeable, bitter characters sometimes (like those in many Courtney Summers book) but it's really tricky to get me to like those. But this brat reminds me of Alice from that cancer book that I don't remember the name of (oops lol). And yeah me and here did NOT fare well O_O Her sister also sounds quite pathetic. No wonder he left her! Lolz. So yeah I'll definitely go into this with lower expectations if I do give it a try! Maybe knowing what I'm getting myself into will help haha

Kirsty-Marie Jones said...

As you saw I gave this one a four... Get where you're coming from though, overall the believability wasn't that good. But, I kind of do like bitter characters (maybe because I'm a little bit bitter myself? who knows.) but it was hilarious, and I did read it quickly, but I thought it was fun and didn't take it too seriously. At least you finished it though! But hey, it never hurts to be the black sheep. I've been the same for a few (recently Dear Killer).

Nicole said...

Now I'm scared. I thought the premise for this one sounded so good but I'm not sure I am going to like these wallowing women. And there does seem to be a bit of a contradiction if Becca is breaking everyone up but at the same time trying to get her bff a boyfriend. I'm not sure about this one anymore...