Reviews, Young Adult

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler


Title: Why We Broke Up

Author: Daniel Handler

Illustrations: Maira Kalman

Goodreads Plot: 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.

My Thoughts: 

I think this is a great book, and Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) did a wonderful job. I really enjoyed the classical story of the misfit, theater girl who falls in love with the jock. However, there were several things that did bother me about the book. I got really annoyed with the two main characters for several reasons. Min: I think she was slightly pretentious. I got the sense that she thought she was smarter (dare I say better) than Ed. Her decision-making at times was not sound and very frustrating. I understand that she is a teenager, but she was still slightly annoying. I still felt really bad for her at the end. Ed: I feel like he was portrayed unfairly. I understand that he turns out to be a HUGE jerk at the end, but he was portrayed as the typical jock. Charming, slightly stupid, didn’t think that all societal rules applied to him, and entitled. Also, it would have been interesting to see his perspective in this whole break-up. I felt bad that we only got to see one side of this break up. Overall, I enjoyed the book. The artwork was beautifully done, and I would actually buy this book in physical form (I borrowed it from the library).

My Rating: 7/10

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Reviews, Young Adult

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Author: Neil Gaiman 

Plot: Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

My Thoughts:  I really enjoyed this book. Neil Gaiman did a wonderful job of portraying the main character and giving him a unique voice. The characters were amazing! I definitely had an immediate attachment to Lettie and her family. The conflict in the story kept me reading which is a great quality of any book I would want to read. I could not put the book down. Neil Gaiman’s writing is fantastic. I cannot rave enough about it. It is so magical that I truly become immersed in the story and setting. He also has great descriptions of the setting and emotions that made me feel and imagine what the characters where going through.

The only problem I had with this book was that the magical background was not very developed. It was very vague, and left a lot of questions open. Based on my preferences, I LOVE reading about the backgrounds of characters. It allows me to have more of an attachment to them. It left me wanting.

Overall, this short book was a very delightful read that I would recommend to anyone. It had fantasy, action, and suspense. This is a great book to get acquainted with Neil Gaiman’s writing style. I loved this book.

Rating:   8/10


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