Google+ Reading Teen: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (December 27, 2011)
Language: English
Buy the book: Amazon
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I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.

Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.

I really liked Why We Broke up.  I liked the story, the main character and the way it was written.  The book tells the story of Min Green, a high school junior, and her relationship with Ed Slaterton, a senior basketball star.  As can be surmised from the title of the book, Min and Ed have broken up.  Min is now returning a box of items to Ed that were collected during their relationship and explaining in a letter (the book) how each one was connected to their relationship.

The artwork in the book is important to the story.  At the beginning of each chapter there is a drawing of the item that Min is discussing and I found that having that picture added a lot to the depth of the book.  Min and Ed are very different in temperament and social status.  Min is a unique girl who loves referencing old movies and has a rocky relationship with her single mom.  Ed is popular and cute and a star of the basketball team.  When they begin a relationship, it causes major problems in each of their social circles, particularly with Min's closest friend, Al.  I really liked Min for her determination to stay true to herself while trying to compromise with Ed.  And, when the break up came, I felt hurt and sad for Min.

I did not like the graphic descriptions and the number of sexual situations between Min and Al.  I also have a personal dislike of the heavy profanity.  For those reasons I wouldn't recommend this book to young teens but if you can look beyond these the book is a really good one.
Sexual Content:  Heavy
Profanity:  Very Heavy
Violence:  None
Other Notables:  Underage drinking
For more details, check out Why We Broke Up on Parental Book Reviews.


  1. I'm reading this one right now. The pretty shiny pages and the pics are great. I am put off by the language too. I think it could have done without all of that. Nice review.

  2. I'm really excited to read this one! I'm surprised that there is some more adult language/graphic situations as it doesn't seem like that kind of book, but I'll try it out and see!

  3. Janeth, I think it's so interesting you and I have such similar tastes! : )

    Love that video; he's a riot!

  4. Heavy profanity tends to turn me off to a book too. It's one of the reasons I didn't like Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.

  5. Great honest review. I've considered this one. Thanks for the warnings.

  6. I'm always conflicted about books like this one. I love the story but not necessarily the content. Thanks to all of you for your kind words and the birthday wishes from Amy.


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