WHY WE BROKE UP
Original and artsy. Even those who might be a little tired of the quirky-teen-finds-love plotline are sure to enjoy this genuine, heartfelt story. Without giving in to melodrama, Handler examines all the feelings that come with first love: the des- peration, heartache and sometimes unbearable happiness. The dialogue is delightfully written: sparse to the point of courageous, but never quite confusing. And if you think you’ve outgrown illustrated stories, you’ll remember their appeal with Maira Kalman’s easy, uncomplicated drawings.
Min Green is writing her ex-boyfriend, Ed Slaterton, a letter to explain why they broke up. Over the course of their relationship, she’s collected keepsakes: a comb, a note that says “I can’t stop thinking about you,” bottle caps. She’s returning all these things, right on his doorstep with a satisfying “thunk,” along with a letter examining moments of the weeks they spent together — bits that in the end add up to a heartwrenching, painful and ultimately redemptive breakup. (LITTLE, BROWN, Jan., 367 pp., $19.99, HC, ISBN: 9780316127257, 15 & Up)