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Why We Broke Up Hardcover – December 27, 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 202 customer reviews

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To All the Boys I've Loved Before
To All the Boys I've Loved Before
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them - all at once? Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. Until the one day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control. Paperback | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2012: Min, precocious and equally obsessed with classic cinema and good coffee, broke up with Ed, a popular math-loving jock who secretly carries a protractor. Daniel Handler weaves this heartrending story of first love and other powerful firsts as Min reveals, item by item, what's in the box she's leaving on Ed's doorstep. As readers learn why these two unforgettable characters broke up, the significance of these simple love tokens, beautifully illustrated by Maira Kalman, charmingly unfolds. Written with an emotional depth that allows both adult and teen readers to revisit memories of heartbreak and find pieces of themselves in Min--and maybe even Ed, Why We Broke Up will leave you wondering how Handler knows exactly what it's like to be a teenage girl in love. --JoVon Sotak

Review

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


"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
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (December 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316127256
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316127257
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm a fan of Lemony Snicket and his A Series of Unfortunate Events books, and I'm a fan of Maira Kalman's work. I had never read any of the books for adults by Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket). The blurb on "Why We Broke Up" says it is for "Ages 15 and up," but it was an excellent adult read.

The story is told in the form of a letter Min writes to break up with her boyfriend Ed. In addition to Min and Ed, Min's friends Al and Lauren, and Ed's sister Joan were all vividly drawn, primarily using dialogue. I enjoyed their witty banter as well as their more serious talks. Handler perfectly captured the feelings that go with being a teenager, and with being a teenager in love. Maira Kalman's illustrations perfectly match the tone of the book.

One of the book's many strengths is the handling of the character Ed. Handler makes Ed likable, and the reader roots for Ed and Min's relationship, even though Min's break-up letter makes it clear there is something to be angry with Ed about.

I don't know how 15-year old readers would view this book, but I suspect it would be a good book for an "arty" teenager.
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Format: Hardcover
Why We Broke Up- by Daniel Handler is a story about love, and then breaking up. Min writes a long letter to Ed to accompany a box filled with trinkets she has collected from their relationship. I loved the premise of this story, and I even liked the characters, Min and Ed, who are from completely different worlds- Film fanatic Min who is into gourmet cooking, old movies, and coffee- and Ed, the co-captain of the basketball team, and is wildly popular.

I really liked how they fell in love with each other almost because of their differences. Each one stretching the other past their usual boundaries (from watching classic films, or goofball movies to romping around in the park early on a Saturday morning) their love was strained because of their different groups of friends and natural tastes. I resonated with how quickly they fell in love, and what they were willing to sacrifice to try and make it work.

What I didn't like about this book was Min's voice. She would ramble for page-long paragraphs about old films and half the time, I had a really hard time tracking what she was saying, or caring about that side-note. She wasn't a believable high schooler- she seemed like a 30-something single. I will be surprised if many high school students pick-up and finish this book, though it does raise some great points about self-esteem, cliques, sex, and friends. I just couldn't get past the long rambles from Min to really bond with her though.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Unfortunately, couldn't force myself to finish this novel.

This breakup story has a nice premise, but the narrator, as written by Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), is too artsy/quirky/hormonal/annoying for my taste. Her penchant for run-on sentences and pages-long angst-filled paragraphs is hard to stomach. The dialog is mostly annoying too.

It is worth mentioning though, that this book got starred reviews from pretty much every major professional review publication. So I am clearly going against the grain here.
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Format: Audio CD
This one is strictly for you youngsters. Many young adult novels can easily be enjoyed by us old adults as well, but not so much on this one.

What we basically have here is the story of a relationship; a high school relationship and a short lived one at that. The story is told in the form of a letter that the girl is writing to her soon to be ex-boyfriend. It details the course of the relationship: how they met, their first date and subsequent dates, and of course all the things the boy did wrong that caused her to break up with him. I can see where this might appeal to high school kids who are currently living in this world, but for those of us who have put all that behind us, it holds little insight. It's full of sports and pep rallies and gossip and, unfortunately, no small amount of sex. And frankly, some of the sex was a bit too descriptive for my taste. If you didn't already know, Daniel Handler has also written books under the name of Lemony Snicket, very good books too. Hopefully none of his younger audience will stumble upon this one.

In spite of the mediocre story, I enjoyed Khristine Hvam's narration. She became a good personification of the main character, providing a good voice and character for her. This is my second Khristine Hvam audiobook and I'm more impressed with her all the time.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Based on the book description, I was really excited about this book. I expected a poignant story of a serious relationship gone awry. I was very disappointed that the couple's relationship only lasted about a month (not a spoiler--this is stated near the beginning of the book). The main character Min takes herself way too seriously, and it's hard to see why she and Ed get together in the first place. It would have been interesting if they'd been together for a couple years but a box full of stuff from a short term high school relationship is just sad.
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Format: Hardcover
"Dear Ed,

In a sec you'll hear a thunk."

So begins Daniel Handler's (AKA Lemony Snicket) latest YA offering, Why We Broke Up. The aforementioned "thunk" is the sound of a heavy box flung by Min Green hitting the porch of her ex-boyfriend, Ed Slaterton. The 350-page novel is comprised of the long, long, long letter that she includes as she returns to him the minutia of their relationship. This relationship is recounted from start to finish in the letter/novel through Min's apparently photographic recall. Scattered throughout the text are Maira Kalman's charming illustrations of the contents of the box, which range from bottle tops to ticket stubs to clothing.

With all the drawings and white space throughout the book, it isn't really a full 350 pages, and yet it felt longer. It was written as an angsty, teen, stream of conscious rant, and it was chock-full of pointless filler, such as detailed descriptions of dozens of fictional films, made by fictional people, starring fictional stars. You see, Min's the substantive one in the relationship. She's "different." Ed's a popular jock, co-captain of the basketball team. They're from different worlds, with different friends! And yet they struggle to make it work.

I've never been an adult that had the slightest problem reading and appreciating YA or children's fiction, but this was just an overly drawn-out, boring, and humorless waste of time. Ultimately, I found it unsatisfying on every level. And that, Daniel, is why WE broke up.

Note to parents: This novel includes frequent obscenities, underage drinking, references to drug use, lack of respect for parents and authority figures, and teen sex.
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