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Why We Broke Up

Why We Broke Up is a YA contemporary novel by Daniel Holder with art by Maira Kalman.

Sixteen-year-old Min has broken up with her boyfriend, Ed. This book is her letter to him as she returns a box of items and mementos that she has come to collect over the course of their relationship. Each item, from a box of matches to a movie ticket, foretells the end of their time together and Min explains how in this letter to him.

This is the story of why they broke up.

Okay, Why We Broke Up seems to be quite the polarizing novel. I’ve seen people who absolutely love it, and then… there are people like me… who didn’t.

At all.

I know I’ve said this a gazillion times, but I once again want to reiterate: This only my opinion. Please never not read a book because I say I don’t care for it. The Bibliophile Support Group is a place where I honestly discuss my thoughts on novels and try to help and bring them to your attention – never to dissuade you from trying them yourself. Okay?! Okay.

Now, continuing…

Daniel Holder is the real name of the man behind Lemony Snicket and the entire A Series of Unfortunate Events. I absolutely, positively love that series. He was the main reason I decided to read Why We Broke Up, though the premise itself didn’t sound all that interesting.

Here’s my problem – we’re supposed to believe the narrator is a sixteen-year-old girl writing a semi-angry, enlightening letter (that is over 300 pages) to her now ex-boyfriend. But, oh my goodness! The sentences are incredibly long-winded and nonsensical that it put me off right away. Just starting the book, I was floored by how much I disliked the writing and, because of this, the character. I was surprised because, like I said, I found A Series of Unfortunate Events to be witty, smart, hilarious, and excellent. Yet this first-person narration came across as unrealistic, too forced, too much, and impossible to relate to – for me.

I could never get a handle on who Ed was. I never cared one way or the other. Min kind of came across as a rambling, inane, kinda irksome girl. I hate to say that, but that’s how I felt. As much as I tried to reorient myself to the vibe and tone of the novel, the continually wordy, incoherent paragraphs just didn’t do it for me.

Because of how I felt I couldn’t keep trying to read it word-for-word. The writing style made it kind of unbearable for me to. So, I skimmed a bit, checking in occasionally to see if the prose had improved to something more grounded and authentic – but it never did.

Sadly, in the end I had no reason to care why they broke up.

Remember, there are a ton of readers’ out there who have loved Why We Broke Up – so go try it for yourself!

*I received a review copy of Why We Broke Up from Hachette Book Group. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.


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