Why We Broke Up

Why We Broke Up

3.7 132
by Daniel Handler, Maira Kalman
     
 

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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

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Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—After classic movie aficionado Min Green breaks up with good-looking, popular athlete Ed Slaterton, she dumps a box full of mementos at his doorstep along with a very long "letter." The letter-the text of this book-explains step by painful step the reasons for the breakup and why their relationship was doomed from the start. Each chapter is introduced with a complementary, full-color painting of a memento, ranging from bottle caps to movie tickets to condom wrappers to rose petals, each representing an important element in the progression of and subsequent decline in their romance. Min's exposé begins at the end and flashes forward through meeting and falling for Ed, losing her virginity, and realizing that the course of true love rarely follows a Hollywood script. Characters are vivid, and their portrayal is enriched by realistic dialogue. Despite Min's somewhat distracting tendency to expound on feelings, experiences, and images in a run-on fashion, and that her unusual perceptiveness stretches belief in her voice as that of a high school girl, the story ultimately comes together. Handler offers a heartbreaking, bittersweet, and compelling romance with a unique angle and flare that will satisfy those who immersed themselves in Jandy Nelson's The Sky Is Everywhere (Dial, 2010).—Diane P. Tuccillo, Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, CO
Monica Edinger
Filled with long, lovely riffs of language…exquisite scenes of teenage life and the sad souvenirs of one high school relationship, Why We Broke Up is a silken, bittersweet tale of adolescent heartache.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
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.)¦
Los Angeles Times
"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."
Entertainment Weekly
"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."
starred review Booklist
* "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."
The Bulletin
* "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 Horn Book
* "Kalman's spare illustrations of the objects heighten the overall enjoyment and perfectly complement Handler's accomplished prose."
From the Publisher
2012 Printz Honor Book
ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults Title
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
Kirkus Reviews Best YA Book of the Year
Booklist Editor's Choice Pick
Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Outstanding Book of the Year

* "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"

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"

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

* "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)"

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

Children's Literature - Haley Maness
High-schooler Min Green has just broken up with Ed, her boyfriend of two months, with no explanation. Although this may seem like a short amount of time for such an intimate relationship, in high school a two-month relationship is substantial. The author realizes this, and it shows throughout the novel. Now, as Min drives over to Ed's house to drop off all of the items that remind her of him, Min writes Ed a letter. The letter explains why she broke up with him, and details every step in their relationship, using the box of meaningful items as stepping stones, from their first dialogue and her thoughts on the matter to why they broke up. Painted illustrations throughout the text is just one reason that this is an unusual read. These beautiful illustrations are depictions of each artifact in the box Min gives back to Ed. They make each touching and heart wrenching moment in the book more memorable and the relationship more recognizable to readers as something they could and do see both in their lives and in the lives of their friends and peers. The creative storyline is unlike anything the reviewer has read to this point, showing teen angst in a whole new and brutally honest light. Reviewer: Haley Maness
Children's Literature - Cindy L. Carolan
Opposites attract. Or do they? Min, short for Minerva, is an artsy high school girl who is obsessed with old movies and fabulous coffee, interests she shares with her best friend, a guy named Al. We first meet Al at his "bitter sixteen" party, the opposite of a "sweet sixteen" party, complete with black balloons and the foulest tasting cake ever! It is at this party that Min meets Ed Slaterton, co-captain of the basketball team who is as good looking and popular as one would expect. He is, not so secretly, also a math whiz. They share almost nothing in common, but delve into a five week romance anyway. The story is told through a letter outlining the contents of a box of "Ed" items Min saved over the course of their short lived relationship: movie tickets, a protractor and a pair of dangly earrings are but a sampling that she is ceremoniously returning to him. All of the stereotypical thoughts that Al and others were warning Min about ultimately come true. Conceptually, the book is a winner! Executed, it did not keep this reader's interest. Sound effects of a thud were pointless. The minutiae of each item in the box were excessive. Unnecessary profanity throughout, emphasis on teenage sex, underage drinking, and defiance of parental authority sullies the otherwise palpable story. Reviewer: Cindy L. Carolan
VOYA - Laura Woodruff
Sixteen-year-old Min (Minerva Green) and seventeen-year-old Ed (Edward Slaterton) are wrong for each other. Min, who is artsy, worships old movies and movie stars, and plans to become a director, and Ed, who is the handsome co-captain of the basketball team, high school hero, and breaker of countless female hearts, live in different worlds. Their nonmutual friends try to discourage them, and their families do not approve. No matter. Like moths to a flame, they move helplessly into mind-bending, gut-wrenching, soul-searing first love. Written by Min as she prepares to "thunk" a large box of relationship mementos at Ed's front door, the book relives each event through its souvenir of love. Happiness, passion, betrayal, and despair are detailed in stream of consciousness as Min delivers herself from her "scummy, scummy" boyfriend. Written by the best-selling author of A Series of Unfortunate Events (HarperCollins), Why We Broke Up is real and compelling. Some readers may have difficulty following the style, but almost everyone can relate to Min's heartbreak. Teen girls will likely be the book's most appreciative audience. Reviewer: Laura Woodruff
Kirkus Reviews
A toy truck, bottle caps, rose petals, a cookbook and a box full of other seemingly unobtrusive mementos are dumped on the doorstep of Ed Slaterton by his ex-girlfriend, Min. Their unlikely romance lasted just over a month. On the exterior he's a gorgeous basketball-jock douchebag; she's an outspoken, outsider, romantic-movie buff with frizzy hair. They're opposites, and no one else in the novel sees why they're together. But 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. Handler frames their lives together with a sharp, cinematic virtuosity that leaps off the pages. Their relationship sparks and burns with so much passion, honesty, enlightenment and wonder that readers will feel relieved when they finish those chapters that don't end with "…and that's why we broke up." The ordinary becomes extraordinary: A thrift-store cookbook explodes into a madcap dinner party for an aging imaginary film star. A rubber band causes readers to wince in pain when it's ripped from Min's hair. Torn condom wrappers induce smiles of knowing amusement as Min jokingly describes her first time. All is lovingly connected via a roster of fantastically drawn films and stars that readers will wish actually existed. The novel's only fault lies in its inevitable conclusion, which can't help but be a letdown after 300+ pages of blazing romance. A poignant, exhilarating tale of a love affair gone to the dogs. (Romance. 14 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316194587
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
12/27/2011
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
57,371
File size:
11 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
15 - 18 Years

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