Review: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler & Maira Kalman

Bought from Barnes & Noble
Published December 27, 2011
Amazon - Goodreads

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.

The first time I saw this book at the bookstore I was somewhat interested that it had pictures in it, but was also a little hesitant about something so new that hasn't been done in the young adult genre. One day on Twitter I was talking with Kare (Epic Book Nerd) who told me that I should just try it out. Let me say now, that I am so grateful Kare said that because oh my goodness this book is flipping incredible!

Why We Broke Up is one giant letter that a girl, Min, has written to her ex boyfriend, Ed, after they broke up. In the letter Min just doesn't list the reasons about why her and Ed broke up, but she also takes us back to the first time they met, their first date and just times they spent together.

Min was such a flawlessly developed character, I mean I feel like she is a real person that I have gotten to know very well. Her voice is so strong throughout the book, just when Min describes how she felt when she was with Ed or how she remembered every little thing that happened during their relationship was extremely heartwarming. Min is definitely one of my favorite main characters, her personality was so realistic and I adored her sense of humor.

Everyone can relate to Min's story. Even if you've never been in a relationship we all have those crushes and I not only felt like I was in Min's shoes because of Handler's amazing writing, but because she was describing feelings that we all have once had.

I love, love, love that the book had illustrations (by Maira Kalman) of everything that Min had put into the box that she was giving back to Ed. It made the whole expierence of reading Min's letter that much more real. All of the pictures were of objects that Ed had either given her or just things that Min came across while they were together. It was really touching listening to Min confess her thoughts, it just felt so personal.

Amazing Quotes:
"Love this song," Todd said, like it was unusually brave to like what was number one on the radio." 

"Not quite everything, but everything but."

Characters: 5/5
Creativity: 5/5
Voice: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Impact: 5/5
Overall:  5/5

I'm so grateful that I was able to go on this amazing journey with Min while she tried to heal her heart after their break up. I can't say enough positive things about this book. Daniel Handler is an incredible writer who is able to create a realistic character that you can't help but fall in love with. It took me back to all the good parts of being in high school, like the butterflies you would feel when that special someone would look your way. I highly recommend that you read this absolutely perfect book, it left me completely blown away.


  1. Hoping to get this one from my library soon! Great review!

  2. Hey! Thank you so much for the review. I am dying to read this one ever since I saw it o Goodreads!! The whole time I read your review, I was crossing my fingers hoping you wouldn't give anything away! :P
    Loving the review! :)

  3. I just know this is a book I will love. It is something I feel I will really be able to relate to. Lovely review as always :)

  4. This looks great - awesome review!

  5. This sounds really good. I've been thinking I should try it. Great review.

  6. This book grabbed my interest due to the illustrations-lately I find myself loving when books include that. I did think Min was a little overdramatic given that the relationship only lasted about a month-did it really deserve a book? But they did move fast and the writing is pretty good.

  7. This book sounds super amazing !! I'm dying to read this one now Katie .. GREAT REVIEW !!
    I love when there are pictures in books too ;) !!

  8. I love it when you tell that the reviewer sincerely, heads-over-heels, loves a book. I saw the cover at B&N the other day and liked the title, but didn't even pick it up. Now I'm so disappointed that I didn't!

  9. Loved Min! Such a sincere review :)

  10. I really want to read this one after seeing your imm where you raved about it! :) it's been added to the wishlist!

  11. Thank you Kare! I loved Min too, such a realistic character!

    Hey Raimy-rawr! Aw thank you! I really hope you love it! I can't wait for your review! :)

  12. Thanks for the recommendation! After waiting with this book on hold for weeks I finally got to read it...

    I definitely gained a lot of respect for Daniel Handler from reading this novel. I read A Series Of Unfortunate Events when I was younger, and although I really liked the mystery and quirkiness, I was ultimately disappointed with the plot: it didn't feel meaningful or satisfying.

    But WOW. The character voice is probably the strongest from any book I've ever read! It took a plot sequence that has been hashed and re-hashed... yet somehow made it feel like it had never been read before. The emotions were very strong, and the artwork unique and meaningful.

    It's one of those books you feel like re-reading to try and catch all the things you probably missed!