Apr 30, 2014

Review: The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel

Title: The Break-Up Artist
Author: Philip Siegel
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publishing Date: April 29, 2014
Pages/Format: 336, ARC

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.

Book in One Word: Fun!

First and foremost, a big thank you to Literary Lushes for letting me be on the ARC tour for The Break-Up Artist and giving me the opportunity to read this book early!

The Break-Up Artist draws you in with its stunning cover and unique, how-on-earth-will-this-play-out concept. (Seriously, even just as an ARC this cover is great. I kept getting distracted while reading because I'd peek at it again and again.) And while this is a lighter, fun read, it fell short of being lovable and memorable.

Becca Williamson, the MC, breaks up couples. Someone comes to her and asks if she'd break up so-and-so, and for a nice payment of $100 she does. But when she's asked to break up the king and queen of the school Steve and Huxley--the latter of which is also her ex-BFF--things become a bit messy. And it doesn't help that she's falling for her current best friend's boyfriend, either.

The idea that someone could be hired to break people up was actually kind of cool, and it was interesting to see how that played out. But you just KNEW crap was going to hit the fan, and that kept you waiting to see when/if that would happen. Now? How about now? I liked that bit of unexpected suspense that was added. I was also a fan of the humor in this book, which gave the book a kind of satirical feel.

There's an eclectic cast of characters here; I didn't love any of them and most had their annoyances. Becca was a bearable MC, though she may be a little out there with her opinions on relationships--or at least how she deals with it. Her sister was kind of cuckoo, but she was a bit of a comic relief. I wasn't the biggest fan of Becca's BFF Val, who was really being pretty stupid just so she could get a boyfriend. (And I'm not a mega-fan of her boyfriend, especially later in the book.) My least favorite character was Huxley. Becca, you don't want to be friends with her, because Huxley is a mega-bitch. Like seriously. I don't even know why Steve bothers dating her. It was all kind of like a soap opera, but for teens and with better acting.

One thing about The Break-Up Artist is that it was kind of personable. I've had experiences of being friends with people and then just not being friends with them, and, well, it sucks. So I could relate to Becca in that way. Now, I know this review is vague (this is what I get for waiting forever to write them, so sorry), but this isn't a bad book. It's just...not my favorite. I think I had expectations going into it--hello, cover--and just wanted to love or really like it so bad, so I finished disappointed. I did like reading this, for the most part, and really is just one of those fun books you breeze through. That said, I would definitely read more from Philip Siegel, and his writing was good. (But pleeease use the Oxford comma!) The Break-Up Artist may have been okay (or a bit more, I don't know) for me, but hopefully this book works for you!

Did I like it? Yes.
Did I love it? No.
Would I reread it? Not likely.
Would I purchase it? Maaaybe at some point, because that cover sure would look pretty on my shelves.
Who would I recommend it to? People looking for a fresh concept that's full of life lessons, humor, and a bit of cattiness.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, and that in no way sways my opinion of the book.


  1. I am not sure the whole premise if for me and since it was not knock out for ya, I think I might pass! I do know what you mean with the friends then not friends thing, so that caught my attention.

    Ashley @ The Quiet Concert

  2. This was pretty much how I felt about this one, too. I just posted my review today after struggling to get up the energy to write it for, like, 2 weeks. I did like the writing style and Becca for the most part, but I hated how boy-crazy the WHOLE school was and Steve and Huxley were so over-the-top. I liked it, but didn't love it--and I was seriously apathetic about writing a review for it in a way I'm not normally. Great review!


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