Review: The Break-Up Artist (Siegel)

AUTHOR: Philip Siegel
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Teen
PUBLICATION DATE: April 29, 2014
ISBN: 9780373211159
PAGES: 336
SOURCE: NetGalley
GENRE: Realistic/ Contemporary
GIVE IT TO: upper-MS, HS

SUMMARY: Becca Williamson has a secret identity. After years of seeing friendships suffering at the hand of couple-dom, Becca has become “The Break-Up Artist,” a mysterious figure gets paid to break up couples. Becca is very good at this role, but a crush on her best friend’s boyfriend complicates matters.

IF THIS BOOK WERE FOOD, IT WOULD BE: low-sugar brownies; it looks better than it tastes

WHAT I LIKED: Not much. The premise is cool, and I like the front cover. There are several awkward high school moments–best friend makes out with boyfriend in front of Becca, deciding where to sit in the cafeteria after a fight with best friend, faking illness to avoid confrontation at school–that many readers will identify with.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE: The characters. These are really some horrible people. Seriously, who am I supposed to root for here? Becca, our protagonist, is bitter, mean, manipulative, and spiteful. So what if she was ditched by her best friend four years ago? Understandable to be upset, but it happened FOUR YEARS ago and in middle school. She has a new bestie now, one who cares for Becca despite her sourface take on the world. And of all the boys in her school, Becca falls in like with her best friend’s boyfriend. Oh, and she breaks up couples for money. And judges people she doesn’t know HARSHLY when she should really take a long, hard look in the proverbial mirror. Why would I want to root for this awful girl?

Then we have the best friend, who apparently cannot survive high school life without a man and sucks face with the boyfriend in front of Becca constantly. We have a complete tool for a boyfriend/love interest and a former best friend who was a bitch and kind of still is. There’s a scorned older sister, who was left at the altar years ago and still skulks around the house in an old sweatshirt and…blames her friends for her fiance’s actions? Huh? Add in clueless parents, a lot of gossipy girls, and the creepy “Mr. Towne,” and you start praying for a zombie apocalypse or alien invasion to come and just take these people out.

THE BOTTOM LINE: It’s a cool premise, but the horrible characters really ruined this one for me.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: Don’t have it. No plan to get it.

READALIKES: For better Girl Power or Female Solidarity themes, try Smart Girls Get What They Want (Strohmeyer), Keeping the Castle (Kindl), or Fat Cat (Brande)


  • Overall: 1/5–started to give a 2, but after writing the review, I just can’t do it
  • Creativity: 3/5–the premise is great, execution is not
  • Characters: 1/5–thumbs down on all of them
  • Engrossing: 2/5–took me 3 weeks to finish (but I DID finish!)
  • Writing: 3/5–it’s okay, nothing special but nothing horrible either
  • Appeal to teens: 2/5–some situations will be familiar to many high school students
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 2/5–took me 3 weeks to finish!


  • Language: none
  • Sexuality: mild; some kissing, locker lust
  • Violence: none
  • Drugs/Alcohol: none


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