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Why We Broke Up

by Handler, Daniel

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-A romance gone wrong, a wannabe director drama queen, and a quirky assortment of relationship mementos are all part of this wickedly clever, surprisingly soulful look at young love. Handler's debut YA novel is smart, sophisticated, and ultimately satisfying. (Nov.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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 expose 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 (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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.)? (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* This novel may sound like another tale of boy meets girl, but, folks, it's all in the delivery. In faltering pitter-patter dialogue and thick, gushy, grasping-for-words paragraphs, Handler takes a tired old saw, the romance between senior basketball cocaptain Ed Slaterton and junior cinephile Min Green, and injects us into the halting, breathless, disbelieving, horny, and nervous minds of two teens who feel different only in how they define themselves in contrast to each other that dumbstruck, anthropological joy of introducing foreign films to a dude schooled only in layups, and vice versa. The story is told from Min's perspective, a bittersweet diatribe of their breakup arranged around objects (a matchbox, a bottle cap, a dish towel, an ahem condom wrapper) of varying importance that she intends on returning to him. (Kalman's full-color drawings of these objects were not available for review.) It is fitting that the chapters center upon these items; the story itself feels like blurry photos, snippets of stray recordings all the more powerful because of how they evoke truth more than any mere relaying of facts. Yes, the relationship breaks apart like a predictable song, but Handler's genius is to make us hear those minor-key notes as if they were playing on our first and last dates, too. In the mood to break additional hearts? Pair this with Pete Hautman's The Big Crunch (2011). HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Yes, Handler is mostly known to the younger set as Mr. Snicket, but this effort finds the perfect spot between his youth and adult novels, a fact born out by the high-caliber promotional plans.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.