One look at the cover was all it took to hook me in. Then the premise, a boy who carries break up messages for a fee, sealed the deal. The Hearbreak Messenger by Alexander Vance is so much fun to read.
never asked to be "The Heartbreak Messenger," it just kind of happened -
and he's not one to let a golden opportunity pass him by. The valuable
communications service he offers is simple: he delivers break-up
messages. For a small fee, he will deliver such a message to your
soon-to-be ex-girlfriend. If you order the deluxe package, he'll even
throw in some flowers and a box of chocolates...well, you don't want to
leave a girl completely alone.
At first, Quentin's
entrepreneurial brainchild is surprisingly successful. But as he
interacts with clients and message recipients, from the teary-eyed
football player to the dangerously powerful soccer chick, it doesn't
take him long to start wondering whether his business will create
negative repercussions in how life, especially for his relationship with
his long-time best friend Abigail. Quentin discovers the game of love and the emotions that go with it are as complicated as they come - even
for an almost innocent bystander.
Quentin is a delightful main character. He is savvy enough to take advantage of a great business idea, yet so clueless when it comes to understanding relationships. He is not completely in his money making scheme for selfish reasons, but he isn't completely altruistic either. He comes across as genuine. He learns some important lessons about love and the human condition from his encounters with the people he brings his break up messages to. The impact this has on him is believable. Quentin's new business also affects his relationships with his two best friends. I appreciated how the friendships are portrayed, despite it being the oh so typical two boys-one girl friendship that pops up so much in MG books. It is used so much because it works well. Watching Quentin face the truth of his feelings for Abby was amusing and excruciating. Everything about them is so typical of the age.
The different scenarios Quentin finds himself in due to his job are hilarious. I wondered if it would start to get old, but it didn't. Vance wrote each encounter in a fresh way giving life to all of the heartbreakers and heartbreakees. All of them have the humor that comes from Quentin's awkwardness, but each also stresses the reality of how hard relationships really are.
The Heartbreak Messenger will have wide appeal. Boys. Girls. Romantics. Anti-Romantics. There is something here for everyone.
I read a galley made available by the publisher, Feiwel & Friends. The Heartbreak Messenger is available for purchase July 23, 2013.