How to Break a Boy

Some books are heart-wrenching. Plain and simple. 

  • Author: Laurie Devore
  • Publisher: Imprint
  • Year: 2017
  • Genre vibe: Contemporary 
  • At a Glance: Olivia Clayton and Adrienne Maynard are best friends. Best friends. Set-the-world-on-fire-for-you, run-the-school-together friends. But following the death of Olivia’s brother, she discovers Adirenne hooking up with her boyfriend and is dead-set on revenge. So she enlists local golden boy Whit DuRant to be her SAT tutor–and her fake boyfriend. The problem? Olivia’s world is going to hell in a handbasket–and she’s the one carrying it. 

In October, a group of friends and I attended Texas Teen Book Fest in Austin, TX. We dressed up for the day in our full Six of Crows getup, and entered the cosplay contest. Winnings were acquired, and among them, this juicy-looking ARC. The bubblegum and the violent yellow on the cover immediately sold me: I would be reading this book soon. 

Well, in my current world, “soon” means two months later. But when I finally picked up How to Break a Boy not quite a week ago, I was hooked. 

There are so many things this book has. So many things that it has that I thorougly, immensely enjoy. Things like mean girls with no limit to their meanness. Things like a golden boy roped into trouble, sporting ambition and some beautiful brown eyes. Things like a narrator that hates a lot of things: chief among them? Herself. How to Break a Boy simply drips with pure, unadulterated character. 

There’s a lot you can expect from this book. One of those things is one of the things that you would…well, least expect. It’s high-stakes. Oh man, is it high-stakes. When one thing goes wrong? You bet your ass there’s something five times worse waiting around the corner. And the kicker? Almost all of it is at Olivia’s hands, unwittingly or not. 

Both the player and the played, Olivia Clayton is the kind of character that claws her way out of the pages, cuts a hole in you, and then lives inside your heart while you read, because it’s just not safe for her anywhere else, and also she just loves to watch you suffer. But there’s a certain kind of cosmic justice-y satisfaction in watching time and time again as  Olivia reminds you once again that she has absolutely no barriers. The kind of bald-faced hatred and outrageous acts of revenge that any contemporary novel character (and reader) only dreams of. 

But this isn’t to say that How to Break a Boy isn’t without its redemption. Through her relationship with Whit and her own kind of”self discovery journey”, Olivia eventually starts to stitch together her world and the worlds she destroyed in her wake. The wrap-up to this book is classic, and totally obvious, and all the better for it. 

How to Break a Boy is the book you’re going to want to save your Christmas gift cards for, guaranteed. 

So overall, some books are…

  • 5/5 Stars
  • For people who love over-the-top, who fall in love easily, and who quite often wish to cause a lot of trouble
  • Thin mud, sitting at a table with someone, early-morning haze, thick coffee, and spills. Lots, and lots, and lots of spills. 
  • Gossip, by XYLø