The Break-Up Artist
Publication date: April 29, 2014
Harlequin Teen, Kindle ARC, 336 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
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.
You know that feeling when everyone around you is pairing up and you’re alone? Becca Williamson knows it well. How do you deal with it? Break up the happy couples, of course. Maybe it makes me a bad person to say it, but I was completely intrigued by the premise for this book. It’s one of those things that would never work in real life, but makes for darn entertaining reading. I, personally, would never hire someone to break up my friend and their significant other. I wouldn’t be the one engineering the break ups either, it’s just not in my nature. Becca, aka the Break-Up Artist, has no qualms about it. After her former best friend dumped her for a new boyfriend and entirely new social circle – and after her sister’s fiancé called off the wedding in a really bad way – Becca decided to take her anger and resentment and turn it into a job. This book follows her as she attempts to break up two couples, all while somewhat repairing the friendship with the bestie who dumped her years ago and coming to terms with the realization her new bestie is leaving her behind as she begins a new relationship.
Despite her backhanded behavior and general lack of scruples, I liked Becca. I’m not sure if the fact she didn’t just *randomly* go around breaking up couples, but was paid to do so by a third party, made it better or worse. Regardless, I enjoyed the book. The banter between the characters was great and realistic for the age group. The characters were interesting – some in good ways and other in bad – and it seemed like nearly everyone had *something* to hide. There were some great friendship moments in the book, even if they were a little difficult to believe when taken in context with other things that were happening at the same time.
All in all, this was a quick and fun book. It wasn’t heavy on the angst, emotions or romance. I liked the way the book ended, though some might find fault with it. If you’re looking for a well-written, witty young adult contemporary to read this summer, it’s worth giving this one a look. I liked it, but didn’t love it. A younger reader might be able to more easily relate to Becca and enjoy it more, however.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.