By: Melanie | April 21, 2014 | (28) Comments

Review: The Break-Up Artist by Philip SiegelThe Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel
Publisher: Harlequin Australia
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Pages: 336
Source: Received in exchange for review
Goodreads | Purchase

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.

I was rather dubious about The Break-Up Artist at first. I do love a cute and fun contemporary occasionally, but many of the ones I have read were rather forgettable and bland. But I was wrong this time. The Break-Up Artist possesses just the right balance of humour, adorableness and emotional quality.

Becca is The Break-Up Artist. She breaks up couples upon her customers’ request for one hundred dollars via PayPal. But no one knows that it’s her behind the raccoon mask and fake British accent. Her business has been going well, yet when she gets a request to break-up the number one couple at school, Becca is unsure she can do it. After all, this is her ex-best-friend. Two things happened that made Becca decide to become The Break-Up Artist: her older sister’s heart got broken just a week before her wedding over an email, and Becca’s childhood best friend, Huxley, ditched her for her new boyfriend. I could definitely comprehend why Becca did what she did and why she was so anti-romance, even though I thought the idea was pretty bizarre. But hey, for the laughs and fun, right?

“My best friend is pushing me away. You don’t know what that’s like.”
I do. I want to tell her. My eyes wander to the floor and the pair of golden ballet slippers next to my desk. It’s like a hole through your heart that can never be filled. A part of you that is missing forever.

Much to my surprise, The Break-Up Artist is not just focused around romance. If anything, it’s focus point is smack bang on love. Different types of love: sibling and romance but most importantly, friendship. The friendships in The Break-Up Artist were authentically drawn; it showed the ups and downs, and how imperfect it can be at times . Moreover, I found the question: “what is love” to be very interesting. Our main character is anti-romance, but the side characters such as Val–the best friend whom is desperate to find a boyfriend–really makes you wonder: “does she want someone to show off at school or does she want to be in love with someone?” Love is a very strange thing, it just can’t be forced upon. Love is unexpected, and it’ll surprise you when you least expect it.

“People always spout those ridiculous sayings about love. ‘You can’t control love’ or ‘they’re meant to be.’ I think that can also apply to friends.”

The reason why I didn’t give this any higher than 3.5 stars is because The Break-Up Artist isn’t without flaws. At times, I felt like too many things were going off at once–particularly near the end. It could have done with better planning, in my view. Furthermore, there were a lot of stereotypes. I guess it wasn’t a huge issue for me, but in hindsight, things like: “only girls who dance have good boyfriends” was frustratingly stupid. But of course, you could say the author was trying to make the character who said that, to look frustratingly stupid. But above all, I would have loved to have more substance from the secondary characters. I felt inclined to like them, though it’s hard when you only get to see the surface of their personality.

A light hearted novel that will keep you entertained till the end, The Break-Up Artist is definitely a novel I recommend. It’s funny and has a lot to say about love in all it’s forms and ways of showing it.

~Thank you Harlequin Australia for sending me this copy!~

3.5 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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28 Responses to Review: The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel

  1. Siiri says:

    Yay for humor and adorable qualities πŸ™‚ I love the premise since it’s break-up artist instead of the um.. hook-up artist that’s usually the case in books like this. Oh, it’s not just romance? I like that! Ah, stereotypes anger me a little so I can see why it put you off a little. I’m glad that you enjoyed this as a whole, Mel πŸ™‚ Lovely review, sweets!
    Siiri recently posted…Review: Scarlet by Marissa MeyerMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Thanks, Siiri. I was really surprised since I thought this would be the typical thing where a girl is all anti-romance but changes into loving romance after she meets some romantic guy, totally not the case here though >.<

  2. Glad you liked this one! πŸ˜€ One thing though, the sister got dumped 6 hours before the wedding on the phone. Why do I still know this?

    Great review Melanie!
    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted…Guest Post & Giveaway: Jessica Verdi on writing about hard topics!My Profile

  3. I was very dubious about this book too Mel when I saw it to request, and in hindsight, I wish I had, because even with the flaws, I think it sounds like a good read. I like the ‘love’ involved, the friendships and family, I think they’re very important features in young adult books that some authors filter out for the ‘romance’, so I’m glad this book didn’t. Quirky sounding and with a good premise, I might have to keep a look out for this one.. fantastic review πŸ™‚
    Amanda @ Book Badger recently posted…Book Review – Have A Little FaithMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Hopefully it will be available at your library or something πŸ™‚ Yes, the topic of different kinds of love was a really good thing to focus on, it’s something you especially don’t see in fluffy contemporaries. When they do have friendship dynamics, they seem to be dark and gritty contemps.

  4. Mel, I didn’t request this one because I didn’t think it would work for me, but you’re making me regret my decision so hard. This sounds adorable and I love the focus on the relationships, especially the friendship. I’ll be sure to grab a copy of it when it comes out. Fabulous review!
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Review : Something Real by Heather DemetriosMy Profile

  5. Giselle says:

    Ooh I agree the ones I’ve read this year have not been the most memorable but this genre is such a great change of pace from the darker books I read that I love to get list in a good fun book once in a while. I do have this one too and I hadn’t heard much about it yet so I’m glad you liked it! The blurb sounded like it could be a hit or miss depending on how it was executed and it sounds like wile there are flaws it’s worth the read. I’m so glad that it’s not all romance oriented. I’m getting kind of bleh about romance focused books lately and tend to enjoy more friendship and family oriented books. I’ll def be giving this one a try then! πŸ™‚
    Giselle recently posted…Review: The Treatment by Suzanne YoungMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Yes, that’s exactly right. It could have failed epically (which was why I was rather dubious) but the direction the author decided to take was great. Enjoy, Giselle!

  6. Great review Melanie, despite the rather busy plot line I do like that it managed both humor and an emotional quality. I can certainly see what you liked about this πŸ™‚
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Lamb to the Slaughter by Karen Ann HopkinsMy Profile

  7. I’m not a fan of the cartoony covers but the reviews on this one have been good!
    Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed recently posted…Review: Something Sweeter by Candis Terry!My Profile

  8. Oh this sounds good – sometimes it’s nice to read a cute contemporary read!

    Great review! <3
    Eugenia @Chasm of Books recently posted…Review: Love is the New BlackMy Profile

  9. Nooo my old comment deleted itself and I’m really pissed but basically I’m glad you liked this one! It kind of reminds me of Dear Killer in a strange way from the short summary you gave of it, but I’m glad you liked it overall! I feel like the romance aspect is great, but I’m sorry about the use of stereotypes and how superficial the secondary characters were. That always is a huge buzzkill no matter what, but fantastic review, Mellybean! <33 (sorry I didn't comment at all last week, that's when I was in Italy :))
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    • Melanie says:

      *whispers* I think our blog is trying to suggest something. JKS We love you and you’re comments πŸ˜› Huh, yeah, in the oddest ways it kinda does remind me of Dear Killer now you’ve mentioned it.


  10. Rachel says:

    This sounds like a pretty far-fetched plot, but I’m glad to hear you were still able to enjoy this. I’m not sure this would be a book for me because I’m more of a romance girl. Great review, Melanie! πŸ™‚
    Rachel recently posted…Review: Red Hill by Jaime McGuireMy Profile

  11. I don’t like the cover much, but this sounds like a fun story to read. I’m really curious at how she managed to keep herself hidden from all those breakups she orchestrated. Maybe there would be some intense confrontation times in there eh? I like the way it tries to explore teenage romance and friendship, definitely keeping an it πŸ™‚ Nice review Melanie!
    Angel (Spare Reads) recently posted…Review: This Song Will Save Your LifeMy Profile

  12. Melliane says:

    oh it’s nice to see this one was good! You’re right about contempory romances so it’s great to see this one has the perfect dose of everything. I’m curious I confess because I didn’t know this one neither the author.
    Melliane recently posted…Grimm Consequences by Kate SerineMy Profile

  13. Awesome review Celine, I have this one on my shelf and would like to read it soon! I love how you said it focuses on love and relationships, not particularly the ones that are romantic.
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Disruption by Jessica Shirvington Review: Scientific match makingMy Profile

  14. Well, even with the flaws, it seems like you really liked this book. I was surprised only because this didn’t really catch my attention. But it does seem fun.
    Jennifer Bielman recently posted…Guest Post: Psi Another Day by D.R. Rosensteel (Blog Tour & Giveaway)My Profile

  15. I really did love Becca’s character in the book. As for Val, I really think she got a boyfriend for the wrong reasons. (For some reason, I can’t remember if the reason for her sister’s break-up was ever discussed?) Anyway, it was a really fun book to read because of the funny lines of the characters in the book. πŸ™‚
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