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Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Why We Broke Up (edition 2013)

by Daniel Handler (Author), Maira Kalman (Illustrator)

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1,37811510,165 (3.47)38
Sixteen-year-old Min Green writes a letter to Ed Slaterton in which she breaks up with him, documenting their relationship and how items in the accompanying box, from bottle caps to a cookbook, foretell the end.
Title:Why We Broke Up
Authors:Daniel Handler (Author)
Other authors:Maira Kalman (Illustrator)
Info:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2013), Edition: First Edition, 368 pages
Collections:Your library

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Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler


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English (111)  Spanish (2)  German (2)  All languages (115)
Showing 1-5 of 111 (next | show all)
teen fiction. I like the concept of telling the story through vibrant illustrations of significant/insignificant items along with text (Handler and Kalman make an excellent team) but I was less enthused about having to read multiple instances of Ed being a unenlightened dickwad. Sure, it takes a while for one to realize when it's not a great relationship, especially if you're the teen girl in said relationship and you've not had a boyfriend before, but it still doesn't make for very delightful reading. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
It always intrigued me how many YA romance novels would feature a review by Daniel Handler on their backsides, inevitably followed by a "author of 'Why We Broke Up'", yet few teenagers that I interacted with on a daily basis had any idea what it was. If only they knew that it was better then their imperfections in the stars and whatnot. I guess that this is more of a personal statement, but I've always been tentative around this Green fellow's characters. Sure, he helped me pass my multiple APs, and for that alone I'd willingly sell the man my soul and eternal indentured service, but when it came to appreciating the beauty of his bigger hits, well, it was kind of like slipping into a too-hot bathtub - you would love to get into it, but no amount of bubbles is going to make that sting worth it. Was it the eventual death (oh, come on now, we all know by know Green's a fan of killing protagonists, get over it) or the obnoxiously smart characters? I can't answer that, but I can proudly say that "Why We Broke Up" features neither of those things, and somehow surpasses Green's previously mentioned works because of this.

I know, this isn't a review of Green's work, but since Handler's written reviews for his books (at least, I seem to recall reading so - I'm too lazy to fetch my copy of TFiOS), it almost makes sense to compare the two. Green seems so dead set on making these already unique teenage characters seem relatable that, in turn, he makes them unrelatable. Handler goes in reverse, taking normal characters and giving them quirks, which seems to work much better. So much so, in fact, that the book itself actually feels like you're breaking up with someone. There is poetic language, but the anger of protagonist Min boils down to a repetition of ideas and simple phrases - like a young teenager would after finding the ugly truth behind their previously squeaky clean boyfriend. In this way, it feels realistic. This is not to say that any author can take pen in hand and write a series of rudimentary phrases and expect it to imitate life. Handler knows this, and balances his basic expressions of emotion with flowing euphemisms, amusing escapades, and exploration of our characters - Min, her now ex-boyfriend Ed, and Min's friends, mainly.

I won't go on about this book, as it is certainly a more enjoyable experience if you don't know exactly what will unfold. It'll feel more like you're really there, cheering on Min to dump the no-gooder already, picking up on all the little things she didn't in the moment. It's great fun.

Why did *you* break up it with them? Maybe you'll discover that everyone in a relationship has a little bit of Min in them. ( )
  Dendy | Jan 20, 2021 |
I picked this up after it was named a 2012 Printz Honor book, and I really thought that this was a graphic novel when I ordered it. The credits “novel by Daniel Handler, Art by Maira Kalman” implied an illustration-driven story, but this book is far more prosey than a typical graphic novel, with scattered illustrations rather than a picture narrative.

In this novel, an aspiring film director, sixteen-year-old Min, relates the growth and death of her relationship with basketball team co-captain Ed through mementos that she is packing into a box to return to him. These items, which include movie ticket stubs, posters, bottle caps, paper napkins, and other scraps, each tell a little piece of the story of their short relationship, from their first date to their inevitable dramatic breakup. The pace picks up towards the end as the tension between Min and Ed escalates.

Books like this make me so glad to not be a high schooler. Min, looking retrospectively at her relationship, sees the warning signs and the hints that her boyfriend is not the catch that she thinks he is; his sister, her mother, and her friends all have some things to say, but she chooses to ignore them, much to her later chagrin and regret. Min is a likeable narrator, though I wanted to shake her and tell her to listen to her friends when they suggest that Ed is not quite what he seems. The book has a slightly different feel than the typical Dessen or Caletti novel, but fans of those will probably enjoy this. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
Incredibly disappointing. Got about 40 pages in and chose to abandon. Found the narrative choices trite and tedious. Here's hoping the new Lemony Snicket series renews my faith.
  scout101 | Sep 15, 2020 |
"Then where were you, is what I wanted to say, all my lonely times, but right next to me, I knew, was where."

This book will make you fall in love even though you know you shouldn't.

It made my heart ache in all the right times and all the right places. I loved all the characters in this story and I like how there was always more to the supporting characters. Although this is a cliche book I loved the writing style and how unique it is. It took a very different take on the cliche love story and even though I practically guessed how everything would turn out to be I still felt everything while reading this book. I felt like I was reading this cliche type of plot for the first time.

Full Review: http://wp.me/p8IxRn-cI ( )
  themoonwholistens | Aug 31, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 111 (next | show all)
Filled with long, lovely riffs of language (some paragraphs of Min’s moody reflections go on for over a page), 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.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Handler, Danielprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kalman, MairaIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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For Charlotte—why we got together — D.H. + M.K.
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Dear Ed, In a sec you'll hear a thunk.
... the thing with your heart's desire is that your heart doesn't even know what it desires until it turns up.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Sixteen-year-old Min Green writes a letter to Ed Slaterton in which she breaks up with him, documenting their relationship and how items in the accompanying box, from bottle caps to a cookbook, foretell the end.

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