Friday, January 27, 2012

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

If you want to live (or re-live) the joy and pain of first love, read this book. Essentially, it's a very long break-up letter from a girl named Min to her ex-boyfriend, Ed. She's dumping a box of items on his doorstep along with this letter and each item means something in the history of their relationship. Min loves old movies and good coffee and is in the "artsy" crowd. Ed plays basketball, dates cheerleaders, and secretly loves math. None of their friends understand why they fell in love but they did. Handler's brilliant writing captures all those small moments of wonder at the beginning of a relationship. I enjoyed this as an adult (even though I got bogged down by the many allusions to old movies referenced by Min) and I think it will find it's niche with smart, artsy teenage readers. Like many other YA books, it contains sexual situations and other mature content, so I recommend it for older teens and adults who enjoy savoring good writing. I admire the way Daniel Handler, also known as Lemony Snicket, was able to understand and convey how it feels to be a heartbroken young woman. This book was just named a Michael Printz award honor book.

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