Book Review: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Broke Up - Handler

Why We Broke Up

By Daniel Handler

Artwork by Maira Kalman

My Rating: 4 Stars

This is one of those books that goes much deeper than you might first expect, but then you start turning the pages and listen to the story of Min and Ed and their heartbreak.  By the end, it becomes glaringly obvious why this book has been nominated and won multiple awards.  Specifically, it’s been nominated or won the following awards:

Michael L. Printz Award Nominee (2012)

The Inky Awards Nominee for Silver Inky (2012)

Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of the Year (2011)


Min has had her heart broken by Ed.  She doesn’t see it coming until it’s too late and by then the damage is done.  Ed has wormed his way into her heart and when he breaks it, he’s all she can think of as the minutes and days tick by.  All Min has left are the things from their time together.  She’s trying desperately to piece together what is left of her heart and to understand what happened by going through the physical remains of she and Ed’s relationship.  As she writes Ed a final letter and puts all the items from their relationship in a box which will be dumped on Ed’s doorstep, Min tries to move beyond the heartache and move on with her life.

My Thoughts

I knew this book was going to be deep having been nominated for the Michael L Printz award.  These books touch on life lessons which are serious, complicated and life changing.  Knowing this, I felt like I should be prepared when I tackled this book.  I knew it would make me think, it would make me feel and it could make me remember.  And it did all those things and more.  Why We Broke Up is about first love and first heartache.  If you remember your first love and your first heartache you’ll understand where Min is coming from.  Then if you think about the after you may remember what you did to overcome those feelings of heartache, loss and possibly betrayal.  This was a deeply moving story of these very things.  It’s sure to touch nerves and stir memories long thought forgotten.  Maybe you’re like Min and still have items from previous relationships or maybe you burned them all.  I know I’ve done both.  I particularly liked how the back of the book jacket had little bits told by famous authors talking about their first loves and losses.  It makes you feel like you aren’t so alone when it comes to heartache.  We all go through it no matter how hard we try to avoid it.  It’s almost as sure as death and taxes.


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