ARC Review: The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel

Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash. Some work at the Gap. Becca Williamson breaks up couples.

After watching her sister get left at the altar, Becca knows the true damage that comes when people utter the dreaded L-word. For just $100 via paypal, she can trick and manipulate any couple into smithereens. With relationship zombies overrunning her school, and treating single girls like second class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even her best friend Val has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.

One night, she receives a mysterious offer to break up the homecoming king and queen, the one zombie couple to rule them all: Steve and Huxley. They are a JFK and Jackie O in training, masters of sweeping faux-mantic gestures, but if Becca can split them up, then school will be safe again for singletons. To succeed, she’ll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date and wiggle her way back into her former BFF Huxley’s life – not to mention start a few rumors, sabotage some cell phones, break into a car, and fend off the inappropriate feelings she’s having about Val’s new boyfriend. All while avoiding a past victim out to expose her true identity.

No one said being the Break-Up Artist was easy.

My Rating: 

4 cupcakes

“We all like to think that there’s one person out there who will rescue us from the tower, slide the glass slipper onto our foot, brush away our one fallen tear and tell us if there’s six more weeks of winter. Or something like that. But that’s not how the real world works.”

As a “singleton” whose friends are all in relationships, I can definitely say that I’ve occasionally felt inferior to those happy couples. As a result, it was easy for me to understand our protagonist, Becca – even if I’m not quite as cynical about love as she is. Becca’s voice is equal bits skeptical, witty, convincing, and funny, making for an engaging read. While she made a few choices that I didn’t agree with, it was really interesting to see how Becca’s actions shaped her character growth over the course of the novel. And, of course, it was a lot of fun reading about her exploits as the Break-Up Artist and seeing the creativity that was put into her schemes.

Contrary to popular belief, The Break-Up Artist isn’t a romance story. It does critically examine high school relationships, but familial relationships and friendships are given equal exploration. These relationships all had their ups and downs, making them authentic in their imperfections. It also explores the question of what love actually is, and how it can vary from person to person and couple to couple.Overall, The Break-Up Artist was such a cute, fun read that I really didn’t want to put down. I can’t wait to see what Siegel writes next!

Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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