Date published: 6th August 2012
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Length of the book: 354 pages
Author of the book: Daniel Handler (also known as Lemony Snicket - author of a Series of Unfortunate Events!)
Price: £8.99 (paperback)
Where I got the book: I was sent a proof copy from publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much - it's an honour. :)
Available on: Amazon (UK), Amazon (US) and at all good retailers on August 6th in the UK! (Why We Broke Up is already available to purchase in the US.)
I really like this book cover. It reminds me mostly of a film poster - which is really apt for this book and made me smile when I thought of it after reading.
The colours, even though they can together be quite bright and at times harsh to look at - on this cover they fit together perfectly.
The font and illustrations on the front of this cover are a majestic, yet simple and elegant work of art by Maira Kalman - and make me love this cover even more.
So - this cover is simple, yet perfect for this book and really stands out for me and on my bookshelf. I really think it's something special, - just like the book - so I really love it!
This book itself is about a American teenage girl called Min (short for Minerva) Green, who, through a letter to her ex-boyfriend basketball star Ed Slaterton, explains to him why they broke up - using certain 'momentos' that she had saved from their time together - However they are now packed into a giant box and are on his doorstep. Everything is in there - film tickets from their first date, that shirt that he lent her, those matches, that cookbook, those terrible earrings, the letter itself - and everything else. Their story.
And then why they broke up.
This book ticked all the boxes for me. I was really surprised, actually, as I don't usually read YA books which are more or less completely centred around romantic relationships and things like that.. as they don't really click with me.. I just think that the ideas in them all seem to have been done before at the moment and are a little samey at that.
But Why We Broke Up left me absolutely dumbfounded. It completely blew me away - it just took everything I believed in about relationship centred YA novels and demolished them. This whole story was beautifully crafted - The whole idea of this book was extremely original, as soon as I read the blurb - saw the cover, even - I knew that this book would definitely leave a lasting impression on me. I could find no fault with the plot at all when I first heard it - and I still can't now. The plot flowed really well, too. I was never bored. Even though I'd read books before that were structured like Why We Broke Up, I was never bored. It was actually really refreshing to read a book that had illustrations to help tell the story - this book is a real work of art.
Furthermore there were moments when reading this book that I literally had to put the book down because I couldn't handle the immense words that I was reading. I was truly mesmerised at some points. Really, I am not kidding - every word in this book seemed weighted with a sense of hidden beauty, Handler is a real craftsman when he writes - he's a pleasure to read as an author. I also was really impressed by the way that every film and even the main actress and musician mentioned in this novel - are all completely figments of Handler's imagination! (And yes, I only found this out when I google-d a name of a film from the book that I liked the sound of.. they were that believe able!) I loved the way that he explained them all in such loving detail, you can really tell that he puts his all into everything he writes! His writing style reminds me of another of my favourite authors, John Green, so anyone who are fans of him I will definitely recommend this book to fans of them!
Min is also probably one of my favourite female protagonists ever - even though she is a teenager, the way she talks writes to Ed, so mature after such a brutal break up, could easily pass as an adult. The way that she explains and tells her story is also wonderful - I can picture everything she says like a film inside my head - which is really apt for her as a character. I really respect the way she handles the break up, too. I definitely wouldn't have stayed so calm and mature after everything that she went through. She one of the strongest voices I've heard in a long time, and I really wish we could hear more from her.
And I'd like to just take a moment to say that Min's narration - Handler's writing, coupled with the phenomenal art by Maira Kalman was also a fantastic decision. Not only was it extremely genius to have pictures to go with each new part of the letter - making everything extra exciting and making sure that you never get bored reading - but the pictures themselves are miniature masterpieces. I applaud Kalman's talent - her illustrations really made the book even more original and I couldn't stop looking at them - they had so much depth to say that they were just average items. They really made the book stand out amongst others and I really like the fact that they were added. They were really refreshing to see and really added something special to this novel.
My favourite part of this book would be really hard to pin down. Though I have a real soft spot for whenever Min mentions films at all in the book (as a big fan of films myself and I still adore the fact that they're all made up!) but I seriously enjoyed every single page of this book in equal amounts - I couldn't pick a favourite part even if I had too, this book is just far to fantastic, trust me. :)
My favourite character from this book would have to be Min, not just because of all the things I've mentioned above, but because of the real wit and warmth that her narration has. She is a very realistic character and I found myself sympathising with her more and more as I read on. She makes the whole book even more fabulous as you connect with her immediately. Even though she can come across as cold at some points in the novel, I found her to be very funny and warm and a really breath of fresh air, actually - as she has some traits and quirks that aren't really shown or used in book characters anymore. So I really liked that, not to mention some were ones I had - so if she were real, she would definitely be someone I would get along with! I'd definitely read another book if it had her in it.
So to sum up: This is a masterpiece of a book about love, heartbreak and all things in between. Beautiful, yet raw, Why We Broke Up truly raises the bar for YA fiction. - Everyone should read this book. It'll really make an impact and you'll keep thinking about it long after reading and it will definitely teach you things you never knew about true relationships, thanks to the sugar-coating treatment they usually get. It should definitely have a place on your bookshelf.
I'd give this book an age rating of 13+ or mature readers and a personal rating of 9/10.
Thanks for reading!
Sorry if there are any grammar mistakes, bad spelling ect. Please let me know in a comment so I can fix it! and comments & follows are hugs<3 This is all my opinion. Please no negative comments because of my opinion expressed in these reviews. Thank you! xoxoxo