I was broken up with by a touring accordionist who went on to have a baby with an actress who was popular in 2004. Reading this book allowed me to process those feelings along with Min, our heroine, as she lays it all out on the line in a letter to her past beau. Daniel Handler somehow manages to beautifully transport himself into the mind of a young woman learning to love. Anyone who's ever felt love deserves to read this confession. What's your break-up story? Recommended By Emily D., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.
Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item 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.
"Handler and Kalman (13 Words) craft a book-length breakup letter from Min (short for Minerva) to her ex-boyfriend, Ed. Accusatory yet affectionate directed at 'you, Ed' it accompanies a hefty box of souvenirs Min accumulated during the two-month romance. Between chapters, readers gaze at Kalman's almost totemic still lifes of each nostalgic item, which range from handwritten notes ('I can't stop thinking about you') to secondhand-store finds and movie tickets. Min loves classic cinema, and Handler invents false film titles like 'Greta of the Wild' that Min and her platonic pal Al name-drop like an 'old married couple.' Proceeding chronologically, Min recounts her doomed affair with Ed, a basketball star who shrugs at movies and commits gaffe after embarrassing gaffe in front of Min's friends. They can't understand what she's doing with him, but readers won't have that problem Handler shows exceptional skill at getting inside Min's head and heart. Halfway through Min's impassioned epistle, readers may realize that Ed, even if he cares, lacks the wherewithal to read it lending real pathos to Min's memorabilia and making her sorrow all the more palpable. Agent: Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency. Ages 15 up. (Dec.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
* "Characters are vivid, and their portrayal is enriched by realistic dialogue....Hander offers a heartbreaking, bittersweet, and compelling romance with a unique angle and flare."--School Library Journal (starred review)
* "A bittersweet diatribe of their break-up arranged around objects....all the more powerful because of how they evoke truth more than any mere relaying of facts."--Booklist (starred review)
* "As objects from the box are revealed in Kalman's vividly rendered paintings, readers are taken beneath the surface of what will no doubt be one of the most talked-about romances in teen literature....A poignant, exhilarating tale of a love affair gone to the dogs."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
* "Handler shows exceptional skill at getting inside Min's head and heart...lending real pathos to Min's memorabilia and making her sorrow all the more palpable."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
* "Handler is at his best when he's creating verbal collages of ordinary, recognizable high-school moments....Like the perfect breakup song, this turns the searing experience of losing your heart into a cathartic work of art."--The Bulletin (starred review)
* "Kalman's spare illustrations of the objects heighten the overall enjoyment and perfectly complement Handler's accomplished prose."--The Horn Book (starred review)
"It's easy to predict how Handler's story will conclude from the book's few pages. It's more difficult to take such an everyday tragedy with a predictable ending and elevate it to an end point of enduring, emotionally effective art."--Los Angeles Times
"The Lemony Snicket author (writing under his own name) convincingly inhabits the mind of Min, a teenage girl reeling from her first heartbreak. This poignant, bittersweet novel centers on a box of objects infused with memories of her brief, unforgettable love."--Entertainment Weekly
"Roskos has created a character that does not necessarily change throughout the book, but learns to live with himself as he is, to celebrate himself and those around him even as flawed as they are."
—VOYA, 4Q 3P S
"Self-deprecating humor abounds in this debut novel that pulls no punches about the experience of depression and anxiety for its teen protagonist . . . Captivating introspection from a winning character."
—Kirkus, starred review
"Author Roskos's strength lies in his refusal to tidy up the mess in James's life and in his relentless honesty about surviving with depression and anxiety."
"Roskos effectively sketches James as a boy who is far more comfortable inside his own head than in connecting with others . . . Bravely facing real sorrow, James confronts his problems with grace and courage."
"Roskos' first novel is rich with hilarity and realistic inner dialogue . . . Give this darkly funny debut to fans of Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower."
"Roskos perfectly captures the voice of a teen."
—School Library Journal
"Many teen readers will recognize their own mood swings as they are amplified through James' pendulum, and they'll be enlightened by his revelation that life can be possible and rewarding even when it's really hard."
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Praise for Love and Other Foreign Words:
"Im about to GUSH, absolutely GUSH, about Love and Other Foreign Words. . . . Its beautifully written, and it touches the heart of the high school (and lets be honest, adult) life experience: figuring out where you belong and what that means about who you are. . . . A standout . . . I loved every single moment, and I cant recommend [it] enough!”—Lisa Parkin for the Huffington Posts “Top 12 Young Adult Books of 2014”
“Cracklingly smart . . . With impeccable clarity—and hilarity . . . This clever read will satisfy fans of Rainbow Rowell, John Green, and Stephanie Perkins.” —Booklist
“Impossibly winning.” —The Wall Street Journal
«“McCahans sharp-witted first-person narrative will keep readers laughing." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Josies a rarity in teen literature, a genuine original. . . . Trying to control what cant be controlled, wanting and fearing love, shes one of us. Lively characters and a satisfying plot foil reader expectations in the best possible way.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Readers in the mood for serious laughs need look no further . . . [Josie Sheridans] analytical, overthinking narration and knack for delivering truly lacerating quips . . . will have readers sticking by her side.” —Publishers Weekly, Best Summer Books 2014
“A true-blue lovable weirdo, [Josie is] the type of character I really enjoy seeing . . . [She is] authentically herself, even when being herself gets in her into trouble.” —HelloGiggles
2012 Printz Honor BookALA Best Fiction for Young Adults TitleSchool Library Journal Best Book of the YearKirkus Reviews Best YA Book of the YearBooklist Editor's Choice PickChildren's Book Committee at Bank Street College Outstanding Book of the Year
"Happiness, passion, betrayal, and despair are detailed in stream of consciousness....Why We Broke Up is real and compelling."--VOYA
"Sure to resonate with all young adults."--Library Media Connection
"Anyone who's ever dealt with a bad breakup will love this book."--American Cheerleader
About the Author
DANIEL HANDLER has written three novels under his own name, including The Basic Eight
, Watch Your Mouth
, and Adverbs
, and many books under the name Lemony Snicket, including All the Wrong Questions
, A Series of Unfortunate Events
, and the picture book 13 Words
. He was dumped at least three times in high school.
MAIRA KALMAN has written and illustrated many books, such as And the Pursuit of Happiness, The Principles of Uncertainty, Looking at Lincoln, Fireboat, and with Lemony Snicket, 13 Words. Her heart was broken in high school first by a boy who looked like Bob Dylan and shortly thereafter by one who looked like Leonard Cohen.