Cover of The Breakup Artist by Philip Siegel. A teen boy and girl face away from each other in a cover done in glaring reds and yellows

About the Book

Title: The Breakup Artist
Published: 2014

Cover Story: Glorious Socialist Victory!
Drinking Buddy:
She Was Always So Quiet…
Testosterone Estrogen Level:
Romans 12:19
Talky Talk:
Mean Girls
Bonus Factors:
The Nerd Table
Bromance Status:
That First Date Who Scared Me

Cover Story: Glorious Socialist Victory!

Props for having an original background, but the glaring reds and yellows remind me of a Chinese propaganda piece.

The Deal:

You know that sickeningly sweet couple in every high school? The ones who finish each other’s sentences and are already planning their post-college life together?

How’d you like it if their cutsie-pie little romance turned into a screaming, public break up? Wouldn’t that just be too bad?

Call Becca Williamson. Just one hundred dollars to her PayPal account, and she’ll make it happen. Under the table. She makes no moral judgments. You want the guy for yourself? Or maybe the girl used to be your best friend. Whatever. Trust her. She’ll get the job done.

Becca’s been sour on romance since her best friend Huxley decided that she’d rather hang out with her cool boyfriend Steve instead of nerdy Becca. And when Becca’s older sister Diane is abandoned at the altar, Becca decides romance is for losers. And she can make a quick buck teaching that lesson.

Unfortunately, not even cynical Becca is immune to the charms of Ezra, the cute film nerd who makes her heart twitter. Too bad he’s dating her friend Val.

Drinking Buddy: She Was Always So Quiet…

Two pints of beer cheersing

Becca, of course, conducts her business from the shadows of the internet. She knows what would happen if word ever got out who was behind all these schemes. And her poor sister! She’s doing these people a favor. She really is.

Of course, there’s a certain moral ambiguity going on here. A lot of those couples really were good together. A lot of her clients were acting for selfish reasons. And when Becca starts to see Ezra behind her friend’s back…there’s no defending it.

I respect Becca, but it’s a respect born from fear.

Testosterone Estrogen Level: Romans 12:19

Becca is pretty darn creative when it comes to breaking up loving couples. They’re both drama geeks? He starts to get poor reviews while no one can say enough good things about her. He’s a commitment-phobe? What’s that copy of Brides Magazine doing in his girlfriend’s backpack?

She plays to their weaknesses. If only those people actually deserved this treatment…

Talky Talk: Mean Girls

So Becca is hired–by an adult!–to break up her former best friend, Huxley. This is the most challenging thing The Breakup Artist has ever handled. She knows she has to get close to Huxley. And since Huxley has made it clear she won’t hang out with a nerd like Becca, Becca reinvents herself. Joins the school dance troupe. Asks Huxley to help her with her image. Every time she frames Steve for cheating, Becca is the shoulder to cry on.

And now Becca is popular. Guys notice her. She looks cute. And she and Huxley are starting to hang out like they used to in junior high. Unlike needy Val, who is sooo not worthy of a great guy like Ezra.

Yeah, it’s basically the plot of Mean Girls.

Bonus Factor: The Nerd Table

Five of Brian's high school buddies sitting on a couch

Since Becca is a social non-entity at her school, she sits at the nerd table. The table where the guys discus comic books and throw dice all lunch hour.

Well, to be honest, the nerds sit with her. She’s just one of the guys. They respect that. Just a very pretty guy…

Bromance Status: That First Date Who Scared Me

I couldn’t believe she wasn’t seeing anyone…and now I know why. I know they all probably had it coming…but I think I’m going to call it a night.

FTC Full Disclosure: Harlequin Teen gave me a free copy via NetGalley (but no money). It took me months to figure out how to download it.


Brian wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.