Published by Harlequin Enterprises, Australia on May 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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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.
How many books do we see centered on couples getting together and romance, resulting in eye-rolling corny scenes and cliche lines? Becca totally feels our pain, so she spends her spare time breaking up the cheesy couples at her school for some cash.
The Break-Up Artist opened with a lot of potential, Becca started out to be a really hilarious, sarcastic character that is sick of the couple territory at her school. There is a shortage of males – much less dateable ones – at school, and all the women seem to be clamouring for their attention. The men can pretty much get who they want, and happiness is defined by coupledom. To Becca’s disgust, everyone swoons over her ex-best friend Huxley’s new squeeze, who are the perfect IT couple. I was all for the revenge plot stirring in Becca’s head, as she gets an offer she can’t refuse on splitting these two up.
What resulted however, was Becca’s bitterness becoming extremely evident as she makes derogatory remarks at everyone with a partner, including her best friend Val who has just entered a new relationship with Ezra. Becca starts treating Val like the plague and becoming jealous of the time she spends with Ezra, and not her. She’s one of those friends who just can’t be happy for you when you get into a relationship because she’s more preoccupied with the fact that she doesn’t have anyone else to spend time with.
I try to concentrate on the movie, but all I can see are my best friend and her boyfriend slobbering all over each other. We used to be friends.
Becca also does some pretty terrible things to break up the couples around school, as she hacks into people’s phones, plants condom wrappers in their cars and hooks them up with their ex-girlfriends. Although Becca’s parents have a healthy relationship, she thinks they are in a loveless marriage because they don’t do big romantic gestures all the time, like the people at her school. This is a girl who has a warped sense of love and romance, and it made her extremely unlikable and someone who judged quickly and bitterly.
After the terrible way she treats her best friend, it turns out she was just jealous as she starts to develop feelings for Ezra. She kisses Ezra behind Val’s back and starts wanting him for herself, while he continues to date Val. Being someone who was so bitter about relationships, I couldn’t believe she went into one herself by being the other woman no less, and it became clear that Becca was just a lonely, jealous bitch at heart.
All you’ve done is lie and deceive and manipulate just so you don’t have to walk down the hall alone. You needed a boy, and you got one. But that boy is a genuinely good guy who deserves someone who actually cares about him.
The world within The Break-Up Artist was also an incredibly dramaticised one that bordered on being unrealistic and slightly offensive. Every girl in the novel seem to be mindless cardboard cutouts who talk about makeup, boys, gossip and shopping no matter how intelligent they were. Every single woman is desperate to be in a relationship, so any boy, regardless of how attracted they were to them or how well matched they were could pick them up using cheesy movie lines. Couples would form at the drop of a hat and they would become official after just 1 date. This is not a world I enjoyed hearing about or wanted to be in, based on the stereotypical characterisations of high school students and relationships.
I would love to tell you that The Break-Up Artist gives us something to take away with after setting up such a bitter dramaticised world of relationships, but sadly, that is not the case. The book had so much potential to send us a powerful message about relationships but still honouring your friendships, but it chose to focus on an inane experience from an unlikable teen instead. Some people will enjoy this, but by the end I just wanted to break up with the book.
Rating 2 out of 5
I received this book from Harlequin Australia in exchange for an honest review.
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