The Break-Up Artist By Philip Siegel
Published 29 Apr 2014 by Harlequin Teen
Summary: Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash.
Some work at the mall.
Becca Williamson breaks up couples.
Becca knows from experience the damage that love can do. After all, it was so-called love that turned Huxley from her childhood best friend into a social-world dictator, and love that left Becca’s older sister devastated at the altar. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, Becca strikes back—for just one hundred dollars via PayPal, she will trick and manipulate any couple’s relationship into smithereens. And with relationship zombies overrunning her school and treating single girls as if they’re second-class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even Becca’s best friend, Val, has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.
One night, Becca receives a mysterious offer to break up the most popular couple in school: Huxley and raw football team’s star player, Steve. To succeed, she’ll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date—starting rumors, sabotaging cell phones, breaking into cars…not to mention sneaking back into Huxley’s good graces. All while fending off the inappropriate feelings she may or may not be having for Val’s new boyfriend.
No one said being the Break-Up Artist would be easy.
I had a lot of high hopes for The Break Up Artist. The premise was interesting and fresh. I mean, a girl breaks up couples for money. Interesting right? But there were a lot of problems within The Break Up Artist that I found hard to ignore.
The portrayal of girls were shallow.
It bothered me that all anybody spoke about was about boyfriends and how important it was to have one. The girls in this high school seemed hell bent on being in a relationship. It’s so strange that they’re able to publicly engage in PDA in the school halls and in class. I’ve never experienced this myself, so perhaps it’s just me but I. Sure there has to be some kind of boundaries. It was even weirder to see how a teacher was all “no problem, just sit down” about it when Huxley came into class carried by her boyfriend.
I know the synopsis has to deal wih breaking up couples, but that can’t be all that they talk about. It can’t be the only thing that’s happening. In dance class they’re gossiping about who’s dating who, even when discussing Romeo & Juliet it became a heated discussion about how Becca is single and therefore will never in a million years understand what true love is.
It made me angry. It made me angry that these girls were so desperate for a man in their arms to validate their life. That when Becca talks about one night stands, Ezra is shocked because she isn’t “talking like a girl”. It bothered me, and because of that I enjoyed it less and less.
The main character is vindictive and incredibly shady.
Becca started out as someone who doesn’t believe in love. She’s strong and believes she doesn’t need a boyfriend to validate her life. I thought she was going to be one of those strong female leads, but alas I was wrong. Of course, given the premise this was bound to happen, but it annoyed me that Becca, who rejected the idea of Romeo & Juliet being in love would fall so easily to exactly the same words and phrases she hated. Becca became a homewrecker, and on top of that she suddenly fell for a guy spewing off words from a movie. Say it isn’t so!
Becca’s “job” as a Break Up Artist was incredibly interesting, up till she became vindictive and hateful. Becca accepted the offer to break up Huxley and Steve not only for the money, but it became clear that she wanted to topple Huxley. She pretended to befriend Huxley, broke down her walls, only to use their pseudo-friendship to break up her relationship.
On top of that, Becca betrayed her best friend in pursuit of love, or something like love. Becca, who uses doubt and infidelity as her ammo to break couples up, ends up doing the same thing but believes that it’s probably true love. I don’t know, it seems so weird to me that Becca would change so easily with Ezra.
But, premise is still interesting.
For what it’s worth, The Break Up Artist is still pretty interesting. It’s a fast contemporary read but probably more targeted for a younger audience than myself.