Monday, May 12, 2014

Book Review: The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel

Title: The Break-Up Artist
Author: Philip Siegel
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publishing Date: April 29th 2014
Length: 336 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, friendship, break-ups
Source: Netgalley

Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash. Some work at the Gap. Becca Williamson breaks up couples. 

After watching her sister get left at the altar, Becca knows the true damage that comes when people utter the dreaded L-word. For just $100 via paypal, she can trick and manipulate any couple into smithereens. With relationship zombies overrunning her school, and treating single girls like second class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even her best friend Val has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.

One night, she receives a mysterious offer to break up the homecoming king and queen, the one zombie couple to rule them all: Steve and Huxley. They are a JFK and Jackie O in training, masters of sweeping faux-mantic gestures, but if Becca can split them up, then school will be safe again for singletons. To succeed, she'll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date and wiggle her way back into her former BFF Huxley’s life – not to mention start a few rumors, sabotage some cell phones, break into a car, and fend off the inappropriate feelings she’s having about Val’s new boyfriend. All while avoiding a past victim out to expose her true identity.

No one said being the Break-Up Artist was easy.

Summary by Goodreads

Becca has set up an elaborate break-up business and she's convinced she's only helping couples to make the right choice when she breaks them up. YA contemps are naturally about playing matchmaker, people falling in love, and not about making them fall out of love. So because of Philip Siegel's idea for a YA contemporary book of the different kind, I just had to read THE BREAK-UP ARTIST. I liked how defiant and funny it sounded.
In the end, Becca isn't as understanding and sensible as one would like her to be. She often has a very childish, onesided perspective on matters of love. She considers herself so very mature managing her emotions and not falling prey to her hormones like other girls her age. And maybe that stubborn way of hers was the fault I didn't ultimately connect with her. 

Love and friendship are both equally important parts in THE BREAK-UP ARTIST. On the one hand Becca has her friendship with Valerie. A friendship with honesty and irony and good fits of giggles. And on the other hand there are the feelings she's having for Valerie's boyfriend Ezra. Her idea of relationships, actual love and the inner conflict caused by her feelings for Val and Ezra are a major issue in Becca's story. 

The kind of love triangle between Val, Becca and Ezra was a total downer. That's because Becca didn't get what she actually needed from the beginning of THE BREAK-UP ARTIST to get her off her anti couples attitude. She would have needed someone to throw her off her feet, showing her what true love means. Becca really deserves a much kinder love story.
This is a debut novel that I didn't end up liking as much as I'd hoped I would. But this should be no indicator of how good an author Philip Siegel is. His writing was perfectly fine and I really enjoyed his humour and his overall story idea. I guess I just wasn't okay with the way things were happening and how Becca and Ezra and all the others kept acting crazy and irresponsible, not understanding what truly mattered until the very end.

What did entertain me were the break-up techniques and the persona Becca created in order to run her break-up business. That she even came up with the idea in the first place. Becca has dealt with break-up cases before but now she has to deal with the most popular couple at school. Here Philip Siegel comes up with a few pretty hilarious ideas and break-up schemes.


3/5 *** THE BREAK-UP ARTIST - Sassy & artistic! A fun read for all the juvenile anti-relationship rebels out there. 

Becca's story is like a competition between singles and couples, an examination of all kinds of relationships, lots of complicated relationships, too. You should definitely enjoy Becca's break up plotting and trying to help her find the weaknesses in this annoyingly sweet couple's relationship that's her main target at the moment. Just for fun, you know. For those who loved Philip Siegel's debut novel, there will even be a sequel to THE BREAK-UP ARTIST.

"I may not be an angel in all this, but I'm certainly not the bad guy either. If you can't handle my line of work, then go read the latest bodice ripper. I'll leave you with this: How many lives have been ruined because of love? Who's really the bad guy here?"

THE BREAK-UP ARTIST you might enjoy THE ART OF LAINEY by Paula Stokes about Lainey who is dumped by her boyfriend and then tries to get him back. Tia in BIGGEST FLIRTS by Jennifer Echols is like Becca, she doesn't believe in relationships either. THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger is a fun anti-relationship read, too.

* Click here to read an excerpt of THE BREAK-UP ARTIST!

* Want to meet Philip Siegel? Check out his event schedule.

* For more information about Philip Siegel and his books visit

* Thanks to Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for the chance to review THE BREAK-UP ARTIST!


  1. I absolutely love your "if you liked.." feature! It's like I hear about four books at a time instead of just one!

  2. I probably will skip this one despite liking the premise because of how immature the MC sounds and the fact that there's a love triangle. Great review though, Sarah!