Not every love story has a happy ending and the title of this novel makes it clear that this story will most definitely end badly. Min Green is "different" and her former boyfriend, Ed, is the epitome of the normal high school boy. Ed is the co-captain of the football team, very popular, and has a reputation for being a lady's man. Min's life, with her artistic friends, her love of old films, and her favorite coffee spots, is turned upside-down when she quite suddenly falls for this stereotypical teenage boy. At first, it seems like Ed is changing his womanizing, party-going ways as Min recounts their relationship. But we all know where this is going.
Their ill-fated love is revealed detail by detail as Min writes a letter to Ed accompanied by a box of treasured souvenirs she has kept as tokens of their affections. We relive Ed and Min's whirlwind romance as she explains how each item in the box, from bottle caps and movie tickets to a box of matches and a handful of rose petals, is a reason why they broke up. The accompanying brightly colored illustrations of each item give readers a clear view of the mundane objects that can add up to complete and total heartbreak.
A walk down memory for adults and older teens who have had their hearts broken and a cautionary tale for teens who have yet to give their hearts away, Why We Broke Up is a winning combination of seemingly cheery illustrations and Min's unique, self-deprecating, and humorous narrative voice.
Although we know this love story definitely DOES NOT have a happy ending, Min's tale is completely engrossing and relatable. It will have the reader recalling young love and old wounds... and I mean that in a good way.
Recommended by Caroline Barlow