A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
A good vocabulary builder, plus Min challenges Ed, introducing him to arty movies and questioning his offensive language choices.
There's a subtle message here about how possible it is to move on after a heartbreak -- painful, but possible. Especially when you have good friends by your side.
Positive Role Models
Min is a smart girl who's willing to say what she thinks. Even Ed, who can be more of a stereotypical jock, is thoughtful about doing things that she will love, like going to movies she likes and helping her build an igloo out of eggs. He does, ultimately, let her down in a big way, but she is not wrong about what she sees in him. And at the end Min is strong enough to move on. She also has friends that support her, even when it's hard to.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Min and Ed have sex in a hotel room, and she lies to her mother about where she is that night. Two of the book's illustrations are of opened condom wrappers. There is also a lot of making out and several heavy petting scenes, and references to Ed's sexual history.
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There are plenty of swear words, including "f--k." Also, Min chides Ed over his derisive use of the words "gay" and "fag."
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Products & Purchases
Ed and Min go shopping for items several times in the book, though they don't shop at any traditional stores.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Lots of high school parties and mentions of coaches that look the other way at teen drinking. Some characters drink to the point of vomiting. There's also lots and lots and lots of coffee drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this 2012 Printz Honor Book is about first love and a painful breakup. The protagonist does lose her virginity in a hotel room, where she spends the night with her boyfriend. There is swearing, drinking, heavy petting, and lots of coffee. This book is written by the same author who wrote A Series of Unfortunate Events, but it's for mature teen readers who like romantic reads as well as clever wordplay.
Is It Any Good?
From the same author who wrote A Series of Unfortunate Events as Lemony Snicket comes this surprisingly moving tale of first love and painful breakup. It has Handler's trademark cleverness with quick dialogue and references throughout to outrageous, invented classic films, but it convincingly captures what it feels like to really, truly fall for someone -- and obsess until nothing else in your life matters -- and also what it feels like to lose that person.
Min isn't always the most likable person, and the box of treasures she is building to return to Ed seems a bit juvenile and overdramatic -- but it's authentic. She is, after all, a dramatic girl -- and she's aware she has her share of faults ("I sweat everywhere, my arms, the way I clumsy around dropping things, my average grades and stupid interests, bad breath, pants tight in back, my neck too long or something," she writes as part of a really long list of things she loathes about herself). And readers will appreciate that Handler makes them understand why she and Ed -- who are so obviously different from each other -- would work so hard to be together, even while readers know their romance is doomed. In the end, this is a good choice for Snicket fans now grown up, as well as other romantic readers who like a good cry. And Maira Kalman's clever illustrations add to the inventive storytelling. The American Library Association named Why We Broke Up a 2012 Michael L. Printz Honor Book for excellence in literature for young adults.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.