Friday, October 26, 2012

Why We Broke Up

by Daniel Handler (Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) will be at the Boston Book Festival tomorrow, October 27, as the Kid Keynote speaker)
illustrated by Maira Kalman
Little, Brown | 2011

Min is a girl scorned. She is breaking up with Ed and writing him an epic letter explaining why she's dumping him. Her reasons are linked to items she is placing in a box which she will put on his front steps. She's doing all this while riding in her best friend Al's truck--well, actually it's his dad's truck. Al and Min haven't been so close lately because she's been preoccupied with being Ed's girlfriend. Ed, after all, is a pretty popular guy.

The reader learns all about this dramatic teenage love affair through Min's manifesto accompanied by artwork of each item. Min's voice is clear and unique. The story is heart breaking and funny at the same time. Anyone who has ever been in a teenage relationship or wishes for one will likely love this book.

This is my favorite physical book of the last couple of years. It's heavy in your hands because the paper is coated to properly present Kalman's artwork, which are all glorious, colorful pieces. The leading (the space between lines of type) is nice and big, allowing the eye to breathe on the page as you read. The jacket is awesome, with a falling cup, linked to the back end papers. The story begins on the front end papers. Even the spine gets into the action, sporting an umbrella--the one item that Min wants back from Ed. The casewrap (the actual printed cover of the book under the jacket) is covered with Kalman-drawn rose pedals, an important item in the box Min is preparing for Ed.

YA romances abound these days. This is an old-fashioned love story that everyone will recognize (even those of us who have never met a vampire nor ever hoped to fall in love with one).

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