November 2011 Indie 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 is the author of the novels The Basic Eight, Watch Your Mouth, Adverbs and, most recently, Why We Broke Up, a collaboration with award-winning illustrator Maira Kalman that won a Michael J. Printz Honor. Under the name Lemony Snicket he has written the bestselling series All the Wrong Questions as well as A Series of Unfortunate Events, which has sold more than 60 million copies and was the basis of a feature film. Snicket is also the creator of several picture books, including the Charlotte Zolotow Awardwinning The Dark, illustrated by Jon Klassen. His newest picture book is 29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy, illustrated by Lisa Brown. He lives with his family in San Francisco.
Maira Kalman is an author and illustrator of numerous books for adults and children. She is a contributor to The New Yorker and the New York Times. Born in Tel Aviv, she lives in New York City.
* "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
"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
"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."