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.
"Characters are vivid, and their portrayal is enriched by realistic dialogue....Handler 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
"Happiness, passion, betrayal, and despair are detailed in stream of consciousness....Why We Broke Up is real and compelling." VOYA
About the Author
Daniel Handler has written three novels under his own name, including The Basic Eight, Watch Your Mouth,
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.