The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel
Philip Siegel’s debut novel, The Break-Up Artist, is going to please even the most reluctant readers with its fast pace and entertaining characters. Named a top ten most anticipated YA book by Barnes and Noble, this novel brought me back to my high school years and how painful it can be when friends start pairing up, and friendships begin to change.
Even though Becca has never had a boyfriend, she has witnessed her sister’s heartbreak, and that has jaded Becca’s view of love and relationships. The girls in the school treat people who have never been in a relationship as “other” and constantly act as if Becca can’t possibly understand anything pertaining to relationships since she has never had one. From Becca’s POV, relationships are over-rated and not worth having when they force you to change who you are for the other person.
Becca’s secret job as the break-up artist was entertaining and kept me wondering how she was going to manipulate or trick people next. It sounds kind of mean, but she justifies it by saying if they were really in love, these things would not break them up. Although you might be tempted to dislike Becca, you can also totally understand why she is doing these things. Plus, she’s getting paid to do it. People are hiring her to do it. It’s not like she’s picking people out of the crowd herself. Right?
Teens will like this fast-paced, simple narrative from Becca’s POV.
-Review by Michelle Frost
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
This book was amazingly good. The entire premise of the story was thought provoking. Instead of abortion, when kids are between the ages of 13-18, their parents can send them to harvest camps to be “unwound.” There are various contemporary elements to this dystopian story… for example, safe haven laws for women who want to abandon their babies today are called “storking” in this book… and storking comes with its own set of rules.
Some kids are “tithed.” Unwanted kids are conveniently unwound. Orphaned kids and storked kids are frequently unwound. They don’t view it as killing the kids, because they live on, in pieces. In fact, in one particularly gruesome chapter, the reader gets to experience an unwind being unwound, with him. They are required to keep the unwinds conscious during the process… Imagine having your entire body harvested while you are conscious of what is being done to you, until the very end.I’d love to see this series be made into a movie, but I am not sure how this scene could be shown.
There are also “clappers” in the book, which I equate with suicide bombers of today. There is one chapter that actually attempts to delve into the mind of a clapper and how they justify and rationalize their actions. The novel, at times, almost has a holocaust feel to it, especially when the kids are sent off to the harvest camps to be unwound and then have to walk up to the guarded building, flanked with other guards. If you like dystopian adventures, I would definitely recommend this one. It has unique ideas, interesting twists on controversial topics of today, light romance, adventure, and more! This is the 1st book in a 4 book series (Dystology!) that also includes a novella that you will want to read after the Unwind.
-Review by Michelle Frost
In the mood for a little seasonal reading? Check out the awesome new Seasonal Reads collection put together by our very own Selector, Janet Spaulding! Happy Reading!
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