Title: The Break-Up Artist
Author: Philip Siegel
Genre: Romance, Realistic, YA Fiction
Premise: Becca is a girl who breaks people up for a living. Well, she’s in high school, so it’s more like a part-time job which has full-time work. She is challenged to break-up the golden couple Huxley and Steve. Which is hard since Huxley used to be Becca’s friend, and Becca has to feign friendship. And the worst part? She’s falling for her best friend Val’s movie buff boyfriend Ezra. This book is about, simply put, love.
Plot: The plot is interesting. Becca has to be a rude interrogator at times. She has to push and be pushed. I think it’s interesting how she plans things out. Becca is first introduced as the Break-Up Artist. She’s wearing a ridiculous getup and talking to her client Calista who is best friends with a girl who is being controlled by her boyfriend. This part is simple. I think it’s interesting that she knows so much gossip. Gotta have the right people, I guess. Becca sticks wedding plans into evil boyfriend number one’s folder. And he freaks. Somehow, his reason for breaking up is commitment. Which is interesting. Becca is good at finding these things. She could be a cop. Or FBI. Or CIA. It’s interesting. Very so. Her next target is Huxley and Steve. Which is hard for Becca since she has to become Huxley’s friend. I’ll admit I was rooting for Huxley and Steve to win. But…Steve, dude…body shots? That isn’t legal. That really isn’t legal. (Not that realistic fiction teens are ever listening to what’s legal and what’s not. I mean…smoking. And drugs. And alcohol.) And…throw in the movie buff boyfriend to Becca’s best friend. Who seems to think the world is his stage to plot movies. And find ‘love’. And break other girls’ hearts. Wow, dude. Nice one. I’ll totally dump Diet Sprite on you any day.
The way Becca’s sister, who is pretty much the jumpstart for the Break-Up Artist business, is weaved into the story is quite amazing. Diane is an interesting character. She has her own ups and downs. She helps Becca by calling and faking a voice. Not legal. I don’t think it is. But. Becca dumps Diane back into her old life with her college friends. Which is a nice move. Score for the little sisters everywhere.
The way Becca dumps Ezra. The way Huxley and Steve break up, and get back together. The way Val dumps Ezra. And the witch hunt for the Break-Up Artist. All these things are quite amazing. And we get Huxley and Becca becoming friends. I mean…sure, Becca ruined Huxley’s life with the break-up, but Hux and Steve got together in the end! And Huxley probably knows Becca had a bit of something to do with it.
To me, the main character focus is on the ladies. Sure, we hear about drunk Steve, but that’s nothing new.
Becca. She is pretty smart. She could be in the underworld with her plans. I mean…she really could. She’s FBI or CIA smart. She is a good planner. And good at bouncing back. Of course, romance gets in her way. I actually like her. I feel happy that I’m one of the only people who think love is overrated. Sure, it’s partly because of Diane’s heartbreak, but Becca has her own way of thinking. She’s close to her sister and is kind to Diane. She wants the best for her friends. Sure, she’s the Break-Up Artist, but she’s got her good points. She grows in this story. At first, she’s reluctant to be friends with Huxley. She’s willing to break Steve and Huxley up. She doesn’t believe in love. And then…she changes. She goes through a friendship. She gets a friend. Loses another. Finds a few kisses. Finds the truth about love. And helps her sister. Man. Becca is one amazing character.
Huxley. Huxley is a complex character. She dated for social status, but she fell in love. Or so she says. I do think there is a backstory here. Siegel could have added more about Huxley and Becca as kids. Friends forever, right? Huxley doesn’t seem to grow up. She is a bit more lovey-lovey at first until her life is turned crazy by Becca’s schemes.
Val. Goodness, girl. You want a boyfriend to have one. Goodness! Like the guy a bit before giving him the ‘let’s suck face’. Man. I’m happy how she ended up. Ezra was a total player. I hate that guy. There might be good things, but I prefer the mysterious types. Ehem. Val is one crazy character. I don’t particularly like her. She had the potential to be this total bitch to Becca, but she didn’t really end up that way. Go Becca for avoiding her when Val got terrible. I like her change, though. It’s pretty drastic. Being with a guy for being with a guy to…what? I don’t know exactly. We didn’t get a total…closure there.
Diane. Diane! You’re the start of the whole Break-Up Artist thing. Practically. I mean…break-ups seem hard, but you sank low, girl. Really? Wearing the same thing? Avoiding your friends? I get it. That can happen for months. But a whole year? Drastic, much? I’m happy she got with her friends in the end, but I don’t like her. It’s like I don’t like Val. Too lovesick or heartbroken…
Problems: This book is a bit…unrealistic. Only a hundred bucks? That’s cheap. You can do more, Becca. I think there are people willing to break others up for money, but it’s a bit…stupid. You can get money from better work. And get a work out. (I’m looking at you, Publix. And you, restaurants.) And, Becca, that’s a little sad. She actually seems to…enjoy it. Really? Really?
I think Val and Ezra’s relationship is too fast. I’m like Becca in that sense. How in the world? That couldn’t be. That just couldn’t be.
The end seems odd too. I feel like Siegel has plans for another book. Maybe something on Huxley? I can’t tell. It just seems…badly ended. Or not quite that I expected. That just doesn’t work for me. Maybe another Break-Up Artist. Maybe Becca and comic book dude! I would like to see her fall in love. That might change things for her.
The plot is simply okay. Becca got lucky a lot. So lucky. In my view, she might not have survived a boys’ locker room experience. Or might have been barfed on by someone. I do think that she got lucky with that comic book guy. There are so many coincidences. So many ‘what ifs’ Becca needed to factor in. She’s smart, but I don’t think she’s that smart.
And the Ezra-Becca thing? No. No love triangles. No way, Jose. I don’t like ‘em. I don’t like ‘em at all. I mean…seriously? Ezra is really that cheap? Gosh! GET A LIFE, DUDE. Don’t cheat on a girl you said you might fall in love with. And it doesn’t seem…real. I’ve seen love triangles before. This just doesn’t seem like a good one. Not that I like love triangles. Not that I condone them or anything.
And I feel like on Figment there was a story like this… Siegel, did you copy from someone? Hm? Hm? (Kidding kidding. But seriously. There was a story like this on Figment. I swear…)
Good points: Is it bad to say I liked Becca’s character? She’s pretty good at the scheming thing. Her character is well done. I really liked it. And I like that she doesn’t believe in love. Her view is drastically different than mine. Which makes me wonder how many other people don’t believe in love.
I do like her scheming. It’s interesting to see how far she would go. And Becca goes pretty far. Boys’ locker room? Sneaking into the frat party? That’s much. You’re taking it too seriously, Becca.
I don’t know what else to say. The premise is simply okay. The plot moved smoothly, but it was too coincidentally at times for my liking.
Recommended: If you like cheesy romance. If you want to see how far someone will go to break-up a couple. If you simply like break-ups. (That’s a bit rude. Liking break-ups?)