Tag Archives: YA Literature

#BookReview of Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Junior Minerva Green and senior Ed Slaterton are over.  Done.  In order to get over her ex-love and explain to him why they broke up, Min is returning a box of momentos she hoarded over the course of their two-month relationship.  The novel is one long, sad break-up letter from Min to Ed, split into chronological segments based on the artifacts illustrated and detailed events that led to the couple’s destruction.  I use the word destruction so dramatically because that’s how Min comes across–annoyingly, but relatably, dramatic.  This was definitely not one of my favorites, but I finished Handler’s Printz honor book a week ago and I am finding Min Green and Ed Slaterton…indelible.  Every person can relate to this story about falling in love, heartbreak, miscommunication, cheating, and the painful realization that love doesn’t always last forever.

Handler’s story has inspired me to learn more about classic and independent films (almost all references in the text are over my head) and he has renewed my interest in oddball cookbooks.  Kudos.

why we broke up

5/23 School Library Journal’s Day of Dialog

So many topics, so little time!  SLJ’s “Day of Dialog” event began with a bang as Katherine Paterson took the podium.  Her touching, humorous stories about how her newest novel, The Flint Heart, was written with her husband (much more enjoyable than wallpapering!), was hard to follow–but the Diversity in YA Literature panel took a good crack at it with moderator Elizabeth Burns, blogger of the infamous A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy, now a blog of SLJ.  Authors Paul Grffin, Malinda Lo, Cindy Pon, and Rita Williams-Garcia shared insights into the choices and execution of their diverse literary works, as well as their thoughts on the future of diversity in the YA genre.  After a short break, publishing representatives projected their newest, highly anticipated YA novels of the year in Publishers’ Pitch I.  Look forward to some wonderful new YA lit hitting the market in later 2011 and early 2012!  Panel II: The Children’s App Landscape followed suit, with moderator and Bank Street College Children’s Librarian Lisa Von Drasek’s criteria for children’s apps and an inside look into how some of these apps are created, such as Donald Crews’ Freight Train.  Storybook apps are still in the early stages of their potential, but look out for some truly innovative ideas springing up in the near future.

Following a quick lunch break and some yummy, complimentary boxed lunches, Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket, promptly took the stage at 1:30.  His solemn humor had the whole auditorium laughing as he advertised for and answered questions about his newest adult book, Why We Broke Up.  Panel III: Picture Book Biographies was next, with Martha Parravano, Executive Editor of The Horn Book magazine, as moderator of authors Matt De La Pena, Meghan McCarthy, Patrick McDonnell, and Melissa Sweet.  Many inner workings of writing picture book biographies were revealed, and stories of trials and triumphs were shared.  Wrapping up the the day were Publishers’ Pitch II, with Children’s literature, and Panel IV: Stellar Debut Authors, moderated by Editor-in-Chief of SLJ Brian Kenney, asking questions of authors Adam Gidwitz, Julie Kagawa, Thanhha lai, and Dave Roman.  We can expect great things from these guys.  Attendees were free to browse the publishers’ booths on the second floor, gathering free galleys and picking up catalogs of new releases.  Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a Monday.