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Why We Broke Up
Cover of Why We Broke Up
Why We Broke Up
Borrow
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'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.
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.0
  • Lexile:
    900
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 5


 
Awards-
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 14, 2011
    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.)■

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from November 15, 2011
    A toy truck, bottle caps, rose petals, a cookbook and a box full of other seemingly unobtrusive mementos are dumped on the doorstep of Ed Slaterton by his ex-girlfriend, Min. Their unlikely romance lasted just over a month. On the exterior he's a gorgeous basketball-jock douchebag; she's an outspoken, outsider, romantic-movie buff with frizzy hair. They're opposites, and no one else in the novel sees why they're together. But as objects from the box are revealed in Kalman's vividly rendered paintings, readers are taken beneath the surface of what will no doubt be one of the most talked-about romances in teen literature. Handler frames their lives together with a sharp, cinematic virtuosity that leaps off the pages. Their relationship sparks and burns with so much passion, honesty, enlightenment and wonder that readers will feel relieved when they finish those chapters that don't end with "…and that's why we broke up." The ordinary becomes extraordinary: A thrift-store cookbook explodes into a madcap dinner party for an aging imaginary film star. A rubber band causes readers to wince in pain when it's ripped from Min's hair. Torn condom wrappers induce smiles of knowing amusement as Min jokingly describes her first time. All is lovingly connected via a roster of fantastically drawn films and stars that readers will wish actually existed. The novel's only fault lies in its inevitable conclusion, which can't help but be a letdown after 300+ pages of blazing romance. A poignant, exhilarating tale of a love affair gone to the dogs. (Romance. 14 & up)

    (COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from November 1, 2011

    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

    Copyright 2011 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from November 1, 2011
    Grades 9-12 *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 otherthat 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, anahemcondom 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 recordingsall 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 firstand lastdates, 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.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2011, American Library Association.)

  • The Horn Book

    Starred review from January 1, 2012
    Min and Ed's differences are profound -- most obviously, she's a quirky aspiring filmmaker and he's a popular jock. Readers see immediately, though, that it's not simply these practical differences that caused their breakup, the event on which this unique novel, posed as a letter Min is writing to Ed, is centered. In addition to this letter, Min is planning to drop off on Ed's doorstep a box of items, tiny tokens of their relationship (some with obvious sentimentality, others seemingly random, like a protractor). Though tightly focused and always tethered to its format as a denunciative breakup note explaining the physical memorabilia, Handler's text continually makes the reader forget this narrow structure: the imagistic, affecting stories that Min tells about each object are completely engrossing and provide insight into their young and flawed love. Min's thoughts on the significance of each item (and the moment or memory it's tied to) are mature beyond her age but authentically fit her introspective and intelligent character. The poetic eloquence and honesty of Min's narration; the clarity with which each idiosyncratic character is drawn; the distinctive premise that gives direction to but does not limit plot: these factors combine to help us comprehend both why they broke up, and why that outcome is not what matters most in this story. A stylish book design, thick glossy pages that make the book satisfyingly hefty, and Kalman's spare illustrations of the objects heighten the overall enjoyment and perfectly complement Handler's accomplished prose. katrina hedeen

    (Copyright 2012 by The Horn Book, Incorporated, Boston. All rights reserved.)

  • The Horn Book

    January 1, 2012
    Min is a quirky aspiring filmmaker; Eds a popular jock. Their breakup centers this unique novel, posed as a letter Min is writing to Ed. Shes also planning to leave a box of items--tiny tokens of their relationship--on his doorstep. Min's narration is poetic, eloquent, and honest. Kalmans spare illustrations perfectly complement Handler's accomplished prose, and thick glossy pages make the book satisfyingly hefty.

    (Copyright 2012 by The Horn Book, Incorporated, Boston. All rights reserved.)

  • 2012 Printz Honor Book

    ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults Title

    School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

    Kirkus Reviews Best YA Book of the Year

    Booklist Editor's Choice... 2012 Printz Honor Book

    ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults Title

    School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

    Kirkus Reviews Best YA Book of the Year

    Booklist Editor's Choice Pick

    Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Outstanding Book of the Year

  • Entertainment Weekly The Lemony Snicket author (writing under his own name) convincingly inhabits the mind of Min, a teenage girl reeling from her first heartbreak. This poignant, bittersweet novel centers on a box of objects infused with memories of her brief, unforgettable love.
  • Los Angeles Times It's easy to predict how Handler's story will conclude from the book's few pages. It's more difficult to take such an everyday tragedy with a predictable ending and elevate it to an end point of enduring, emotionally effective art.
  • School Library Journal (starred review) Characters are vivid, and their portrayal is enriched by realistic dialogue....Hander offers a heartbreaking, bittersweet, and compelling romance with a unique angle and flare.
  • Booklist (starred review) A bittersweet diatribe of their break-up arranged around objects....all the more powerful because of how they evoke truth more than any mere relaying of facts.
  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review) As objects from the box are revealed in Kalman's vividly rendered paintings, readers are taken beneath the surface of what will no doubt be one of the most talked-about romances in teen literature....A poignant, exhilarating tale of a love affair gone to the dogs.
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) Handler shows exceptional skill at getting inside Min's head and heart...lending real pathos to Min's memorabilia and making her sorrow all the more palpable.
  • The Bulletin (starred review) Handler is at his best when he's creating verbal collages of ordinary, recognizable high-school moments....Like the perfect breakup song, this turns the searing experience of losing your heart into a cathartic work of art.
  • The Horn Book (starred review) Kalman's spare illustrations of the objects heighten the overall enjoyment and perfectly complement Handler's accomplished prose.
  • Library Media Connection Sure to resonate with all young adults.
  • American Cheerleader Anyone who's ever dealt with a bad breakup will love this book.
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Daniel Handler
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