Winter 2012 Kids' Next List
“Min has broken up with Ed and is writing him a letter chronicling their relationship and all the reasons that it has come to an end. To prove to herself and her friends that the relationship is over, Min has put together all of the tokens she accumulated during the brief relationship. The box and the letter are Min's goodbye present for Ed. Each chapter begins with an illustration of an item in the box, followed by the chapter of the relationship associated with it. What better way to get over your high school relationship than reading Min's story and adding your own?”
— Marika McCoola, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA
I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.
Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.
About the Author
Daniel Handler has written for grown-ups under his own name and for younger readers under the name Lemony Snicket. He was dumped at least three times in high school.
Maira Kalman, acclaimed artist and designer, has created many books for both grown-ups and children. Her heart was broken in high school by a boy who looked like Bob Dylan.
* "Characters are vivid, and their portrayal is enriched by realistic dialogue....Hander offers a heartbreaking, bittersweet, and compelling romance with a unique angle and flare."—School Library Journal, starred review
2012 Printz Honor BookALA Best Fiction for Young Adults TitleSchool Library Journal Best Book of the YearKirkus Reviews Best YA Book of the YearBooklist Editor's Choice PickChildren's Book Committee at Bank Street College Outstanding Book of the Year
"The Lemony Snicket author (writing under his own name) convincingly inhabits the mind of Min, a teenage girl reeling from her first heartbreak. This poignant, bittersweet novel centers on a box of objects infused with memories of her brief, unforgettable love."—Entertainment Weekly
"It's easy to predict how Handler's story will conclude from the book's few pages. It's more difficult to take such an everyday tragedy with a predictable ending and elevate it to an end point of enduring, emotionally effective art."—Los Angeles Times
* "Characters are vivid, and their portrayal is enriched by realistic dialogue....Hander offers a heartbreaking, bittersweet, and compelling romance with a unique angle and flare."—School Library Journal (starred review)
* "A bittersweet diatribe of their break-up arranged around objects....all the more powerful because of how they evoke truth more than any mere relaying of facts."—Booklist (starred review)
* "As objects from the box are revealed in Kalman's vividly rendered paintings, readers are taken beneath the surface of what will no doubt be one of the most talked-about romances in teen literature....A poignant, exhilarating tale of a love affair gone to the dogs."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
* "Handler shows exceptional skill at getting inside Min's head and heart...lending real pathos to Min's memorabilia and making her sorrow all the more palpable."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
* "Handler is at his best when he's creating verbal collages of ordinary, recognizable high-school moments....Like the perfect breakup song, this turns the searing experience of losing your heart into a cathartic work of art."—The Bulletin (starred review)
* "Kalman's spare illustrations of the objects heighten the overall enjoyment and perfectly complement Handler's accomplished prose."—The Horn Book (starred review)
"Happiness, passion, betrayal, and despair are detailed in stream of consciousness....Why We Broke Up is real and compelling."—VOYA
"Sure to resonate with all young adults."—Library Media Connection
"Anyone who's ever dealt with a bad breakup will love this book."—American Cheerleader