Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

8:00 AM

Title: Why We Broke Up
Author: Daniel Handler
Illustrator: Maira Kalman
Release Date: December 27, 2011 (hardcover)
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
Pages: 368
Source: ARC provided by publisher

Overall: 5 Stars

Min Green and Ed Slaterton have broken up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. A movie ticket from their first date, a comb from the motel room they shared and every other memento collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.

Why We Broke Up is a sincere and moving portrait of first love, first heartbreak and all the firsts in between. Min’s smart, sharp, devastatingly honest voice is one of the most memorable in contemporary young adult literature. 

My Thoughts: 
It is novels like Daniel Handler's Why We Broke Up which remind me why I love reading contemporary fiction so much. Within a few pages, I was completely lost in the story of Min and Ed of how the unlikely couple met and quickly fell in love, and then ultimately, broke apart. And really, I don't think I would have enjoyed the novel as much if it weren't for the unique writing style and letter format, as well as Maira Kalman's accompanying illustrations. The special touch to every aspect of Why We Broke Up made everything about Min's letter to Ed seem all the more real and personal.

There is something so refreshingly honest about Daniel Handler's Why We Broke Up that I can't quite put my finger on. It felt like Min was my best friend and all I wanted to do was warn her about Ed and the heartbreak he would only bring... but I also knew it wasn't really in my place to say anything. I had to let Min make her own decisions and mistakes. Min and Ed had such different personalities; Min was a dreamer and a creative individual with a passion for old classic movies, while Ed fit under the typical jock category. Yet, reading Min's thoughts as she took us on the journey of recounting how she first met Ed and started having feelings for him, you still can't help feeling secretly hopeful they'll beat the odds... even if you're also really wary about what's to come.

Why We Broke Up is a touching and heartfelt account of a teenage girl recovering the pieces of her broken heart with one long letter and a box filled with memories. Daniel Handler has done a wonderful job capturing the whirlwind of emotions that every relationship brings, from the happy and giddy times to the sad moments filled with regret and pain. Even if you've never been in a relationship before, Min's story will effortlessly resonate with readers.

Thanks so much to HarperCollins Canada for providing this review copy! To learn more about Why We Broke Up, you can find more information about the book on HarperCollins Canada's website, "like" their Facebook page, and visit The Savvy Reader! I'd also suggest checking out the official website for the novel, The Why We Broke Up Project, where you can also read breakup stories and share your own. 

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  1. I so wanna read this book, it is on the top of my wishlist. I love contemporary books.
    Thanks for the review.

    Esha@ Readaholicme

    1. You're welcome Esha! I hope you love the book just as much as I did once you get a chance to read it! :)

  2. I really want to read this book now! It's going on the list.
    I love the letter idea and the title.

    Thanks for the review! I hadn't heard of this book before and now I Can't wait to put my paws on it.

    1. Oh wow! I hadn't realized this was your first time hearing about Why We Broke Up before now, Alex. I'm glad I could put it on your radar!

  3. I've heard very differing reviews on this book, I feel like it's a love or hate it book. I've seen the pictures and I know those are gorgeous! Great review. I'm still not completely sold yet though.

    1. I've read some mixed feelings for the book, especially if you're just scrolling down the ones on Goodreads. Like I said, there were mistakes and things that Min did that me want to stop her, but it didn't really bother me. Her letter to Ed is as much a reflection of what she wished she could have changed in the past as it is a way for her to move on from the break up.

      I hope you'll still give the book a chance!

  4. I've recently discovered I really like contemporary books. I had no idea! So I'm going to keep an eye out for this one because it sounds really good.

    Nerd Girls at Books to the Sky

    1. Yay! When I was younger, I didn't really read contemporary novels but now I read them all the time! :)

  5. GREAT REVIEW! :) I liked this book too.