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The Paper Gardens

I've been reading since I was 3, and I haven't seen any reason to stop. I'll read pretty much anything I can get my hands on, though I will admit to a crippling addiction to fantasy and YA books.

Currently reading

Ozma Of Oz
L. Frank Baum
Progress: 45 %
Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
L. Frank Baum
The Divide
Elizabeth Kay
A Clash of Kings
George R.R. Martin

The Break-Up Artist

The Break-Up Artist - Philip Siegel The plot of The Break-Up Artist bothered me. It bothered me a lot. Not because it was a story about someone purposely sabotaging relationships. That part was actually pretty interesting.

What bothered me was the "life without a boy isn't worth living" mentality.

The girls at this high school have a hierarchy based on how hot their boyfriend is, how cute they are as a couple, how long they've been together...and it's terrible. It's absolutely horrifying to watch.

Enter Becca, who has watched relationships destroy everything around her. Her best friend turned her back on Becca for a relationship. Her sister was left at the altar. Relationships are ruining friendships everywhere. What's a girl to do?

Make lists of school gossip, dress up in a raccoon mask and graduation robe, and charge $100 via Paypal to break couples up, of course.

[Pictured: Becca.]

Eventually, after succumbing to boyfriend syndrome herself (and falling for the exact same stupid pick-up line her friend did*), and having everything she worked towards come crashing down around her, Becca realizes that there's more than one side to a story. Relationships aren't as black and white as she'd been making them out to be - they're not always a bad thing, and there's never really any one person at fault.

*Bonus points for Becca: she pointed out to Val how cheesy and stupid the line sounded, yet ended up falling for it herself, and somehow didn't notice that it was the exact same line.

So, what does Becca do with her new-found knowledge?

She starts working to help hook up girls who want a man in their lives.

Rather than addressing the issue of the relationship-driven hierarchy, Becca goes from one extreme to another, and ends up helping promote the system she's so opposed to. Nothing has changed. All Becca's doing at the end is making the situation worse.

And she had made such promising changes in how she viewed her sister's situation, too. *sighs*

My problems with the plot aside, what really made this story for me, ironically enough, were the relationships. Not the romantic ones - or not all of them, at any rate. But the relationships between various characters.

If you can look past the horrific way high school girls are portrayed, it's an interesting character study, if nothing else.