The Break-Up Artist by Philip SiegelPublished by Harlequin Teen on April 29, 2014
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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.
The Break-Up Artist caught my attention even before I read it. The mere title had me intrigued and excited. Pre-reading, I already thought that the concept was very clever but only when I immersed myself in this story did I discover exactly how fantastically clever and awesome this book was.
The main character, Becca, breaks up couples for a hundred dollars via Paypal. She plans elaborate schemes in secret and she does her task well. When she’s asked to break up the ultimate powerhouse couple of their high school, the inseparable SteveandHuxley, Becca is faced with the biggest challenge of her career as The Break-Up Artist. Even if it means having to endure her ex-bestfriend, Becca is determined to complete her mission- for the sake of all singletons.
Finding a suitable guy to date is a study in Darwinism. Survival of the hottest.
Just a few chapters in, I already found myself liking the protagonist a lot. Becca had a convincing voice and it didn’t hurt that she was witty and funny- traits that I always look forward to and hope to see when reading a contemporary such as this one. True to her anti-romance job, Becca is a cynic herself. I enjoyed reading her skeptic attitude when it came to love and I liked that it was realistic as well as reasonable.
Becca’s sister, Dianne, went through a terrible heartbreak and Becca was the one to witness it and be the one to help her sister pick up the pieces. Also, Huxley, her former BFF, dumped her for a guy. So yeah, I found Becca’s ‘love sucks’ mentality to be believable. Also, I liked how her backstory and the subplot with her sister moved the story to an emotional direction. All that said, neither Becca nor her story is without flaws. Even when I wasn’t a fan of Becca or her actions, I found most of them to be honest still.
Whenever somebody wants to get out of a relationship, but they don’t want to say the real reason, they use the love excuse. How can such a strong feeling just go away? It’s not a cold.
I’m saying it right here, right now: The Break-Up Artist is not a romantic story. It does tackle romance, but in a completely different and refreshing way. Not to get all too personal, but I was a Becca back in high school and maybe even now that I’m in college. No, I don’t split couples for a hundred dollars but like Becca, I’m a singleton- a singleton that sometimes does feel inferior to those who are in a relationship. Thus, I was able to really relate to Becca and also appreciate the story’s theme.
Love isn’t always perfect- sometimes it’s just an archetype, sometimes it hurts really bad, sometimes it’s only pretend. But when it’s real, whether it’s a romantic kind of love or the love of a friend- it’s worth it. With a unique plot and a relatable narrator, The Break-Up Artist is definitely worth reading!