ARC Review: The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel

ARC Review: The Break-Up Artist by Philip SiegelThe Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel
Published by Harlequin on May 1st 2014
Genres: Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 304
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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.

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This book was quite fun. It was also quite different from what I was expecting. I think the premise is fun and fresh, as most books in this genre are generally focused on the main character finding love; this book is more about learning to love your singleness.

Now, I’ve never had a boyfriend, nor was there the type of pressure Becca faces to get a boyfriend, so while I’m sure it happens, that intense pressure was foreign to me. I have however been ditched by friends who get a boyfriend and are suddenly too busy to hang out with me and they have a whole new group of friends (aka HIS friends).

Apparently,  the girls at this school weren’t fully people if they didn’t have a boyfriend.

It made for an interesting catalyst for our relationship vigilante, The Break Up Artist. It was both fun and disturbing to watch Becca work, breaking up couples by day and unintentionally moving in on her best friends boyfriend by night. I saw that one coming the minute he appeared on the scene. I was not a fan of that storyline, although it did prove a point by the end of the book. I desperately wanted to like Ezra. I really did. But something about him just didn’t seem right to me. When Val (Becca’s bestie) started dating him, and then Becca realized she liked him and was better suited for him, I was like, hmm…this is NOT the start to a good relationship.

There are so many girls in this book that are like “I don’t really like my boyfriend, but at least I have one!”

This made me cheer Becca on to rid her school’s diseased relationships. When she starts messing her ex-best-friend’s actually solid and probably going to last relationship though, I was like NO STOP THIS WILL NOT END WELL. Huxley (Becca’s aforementioned ex-bf) is manipulative, but also puts on a brave face at school that she lets slide as she and Becca grow closer. This was both a fun and irritating friendship to watch grow. The whole time, you knew Becca was eventually going to betray Huxley, but the more you saw of her, the less you want Becca to go through with it.

Becca’s older sister, Diane, made me SO ANGRY. She was left at the altar, and while I cannot even begin to imagine how horrible that would be, she was still bumming it and being a b**** to her friends over a year later. Like, sitting around the house eating junk food and being rude to EVERYONE. That is NOT OK.

I feel that even though some of the surface storylines (everyone has to have a boyfriend, Becca breaking people up etc) are somewhat shallow, the message of this book is quite nice. Being happy as a single person is possible. You don’t have to have a significant other to be complete. I think it’s a good message for teens today, and the writing style is quirky and fun and makes for a quick, enjoyable read.

4 Stars

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