A Guest Review by Teen Staff Member Marisa...
I originally picked up this book because of the pretty cover. The title wouldn't have interested me, but the fact that it was completely different from the author's other work made me curious. This is one of those books where all of the characters annoyed me because they remind me too much of my own flaws. Despite this, I was entertained through the entire story.
The plot of Why We Broke Up is nothing out of the ordinary: Min is writing a letter to Ed and giving him a box filled with remnants of their relationship, explaining why they broke up. It's obvious from the beginning that their relationship was doomed; I was expecting a much cuter relationship, but was mostly annoyed with the main character. However, I think that Min's feelings for Ed were realistic; lying to yourself about the quality of someone you're dating is something teenagers often do. People refuse to see what they don't want to see, and the acceptance of obvious mistakes in hindsight was really what this book was about to me.
The clever ways in which quirky objects and symbols were worked into the story would have made it good enough. What makes the book excellent, aside from the occasional illustrations, is the writing. I grew up reading Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, and I loved returning to a more mature, less ridiculous version of Daniel Handler's style. His metaphors and imagery are genius, the kind of writing that make you stop paying attention to the story and reread the paragraph, thinking, "A better way to put that does not exist." I would read this book again simply in the hopes of improving my own writing. While there are no surprises, if you don't mind books that meander around before making a point and have better writing than logic, I would recommend this book.