The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel

January 6, 2015 Reviews 0 ★★★

The Break-Up Artist by Philip SiegelThe Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel
Published: May 1st 2014 by HarlequinTeen
Format: Paperback, 317 pages
Genres: Contemporary
Source: Publisher
Goodreads BooktopiaBookworld
3 Stars

No one said being the Break-Up Artist would be easy.

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 and alone at the altar. So it’s for the common good that Becca carries out her secret missions as the Break-Up artist — well, and for one hundred dollars via PayPal.

Then one night, Becca receives a mysterious offer to break up the most popular couple in school: Huxley and 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 Becca may or may not be having for her BFF Val's new boyfriend.

Becca provides a unique service at her school: she breaks up couples for $100 via PayPal. She calls herself The Break-Up Artist, and is always there to help girls get their best-friends back after they’re ditched for boys or popularity.

There are two reasons that Becca has such a toxic view of relationships. The first is that her best-friend Huxley ditched her to go out with a quarterback and become the most popular girl in school, and the second is that her sister Diane was dumped on her wedding day. It’s completely understandable why Becca thinks romance is a waste of time and that she’s doing a good thing by breaking up these couples for their friends – love makes people pretend to be something they’re not.

But even knowing this didn’t make Becca very likeable for me. I just don’t understand why she didn’t realise how destructive her behaviour was sooner – she mentions she’s seen broken up couples be really sad in the cafeteria but is still remorseless.

Of course, Becca’s stance on relationships change when she starts falling for her best-friend’s boyfriend.

This story isn’t new. It’s been told many times before (the author even mentions movies like My Best Friend’s Wedding as an inspiration), but what’s interesting is the way Siegel tells this story. He chooses the point of view of a girl who is clueless about all types of relationships: between friends, between lovers, and even between siblings.

However, I still find it very hard to believe that “Mr Towne” would hire Becca to break up the most popular couple at her school – her ex-best-friend Huxley and the quarterback Simon. Even if there is someone called The Break-Up Artist at a school, an adult (and especially an adult in the position of power that Towne is revealed to be in) has many tools they can use without resorting to a teenager. The pressure he puts on Becca to break up the couple is unrealistic as well – the threats, bribes and cajolery didn’t seem like an adult interacting with a teen, but rather two very stupid, immature teens who can’t tell where high school drama ends and the real world begins.

The Break-Up Artist isn’t a groundbreaking narrative, but this 2014 début offers a light, fun read about relationships that many audiences will enjoy. There are hints to a sequel and I’ll be coming back to see how Becca grows and whether her friendship with Huxley can be saved.

BloggingOutsideTheBox Blogging Outside the Box is a  feature at Speculating on SpecFic, where books outside the SFF banner are reviewed. It is intended to highlight some of the non speculative fiction titles I am reading and share my thoughts with readers.

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