Monday, December 3, 2012
Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers
Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers
Harper Teen, 2012
Plot Summary: Lucy Wrenn has big plans for her first day of sophomore year. She’s got a surprise for Alex, her boyfriend she hasn’t seen all summer. She’s ready to finally do it. You know, the BIG it. However, her sweet plan of revealing her intentions to him backfires when he breaks up with her. Utterly heartbroken she can’t concentrate on anything but trying to win him back. That’s when she meets Olivia, Gil, and Liza—members of the Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers—who tell her she has the potential to become one of them. All she has to do is get a boy to fall in love with her and break his heart within seven days. Lucy, at first, is dismayed at the thought that magical powers exist because that is what the girls are offering her—the chance at a life of money, popularity, boys, and power all with the help of some magic. Terrified at the thought of hurting someone’s feelings, she refuses at first. However, the more she considers it the more she decides to take them up on their offer deciding that she’ll take the lessons the girls give her in getting someone to fall in love with her and then use those to get Alex to come back to her! But can she succeed in just seven days?
Critical Evaluation: This book was a mixed bag to me, but I’d still recommend it to certain readers. The book started off with a very promising humorous voice telling the story of how Lucy and Alex met and how Lucy devices her plan to tell Alex that she’s ready for sex in a game of Hangman played on her stomach. However, soon the book turned more annoying than funny for me. Lucy whines a lot and a lot and a lot about Alex and how much she loved him. However, readers find out after more than 100 pages into the book that what Lucy claimed was her “relationship” with Alex really wasn’t more than a date and hanging out a bit. It really calls into question her whole reliability as a narrator—she comes off as a clingy girl who really can’t see when a boy isn’t interested in her. The characterizations of the Sisterhood members are mixed too. Liza is just plain cruel, Olivia seems nice until you don’t follow her commands, and Gil is the only truly kind one of the bunch. Their whole idea behind the Sisterhood is that they only break the hearts of those who deserve it (like players) but it seems they have 20+ boys hanging on to them at the same time and they one they want Lucy to break the heart of is a total sweetheart who doesn’t deserve it at all. So what they do seems more sinister than an altruistic way of saving other girls from getting their hearts broken. It is obvious from the start that Tristan, Lucy’s new boyfriend, loves her and will ultimately be the one whose heart she breaks (intentionally of course). When she realizes that she broke a heart she doesn’t run after Tristan to try and mend things, instead she accepts it as her initiation and joins the Sisterhood. Their whole motto of “love thyself” is just lost in their cruelty toward others. She will never be friends with Tristan again but it doesn’t really matter because she is initiated into the Sisterhood and it appears that she doesn’t even remember who he was. Now her life will consist of partying and breaking hearts with some magical help. It’s sad in a way because it seems that she’ll never really experience true love because that goes against the whole philosophy of the Sisterhood. In the end, it was disappointing. However, I would still recommend it to some readers because the plot reads fast and some teens will really enjoy the idea of a secret group of girls who break players’ hearts. Who hasn’t after a horrible breakup wished for some kind of revenge on their ex? I think teens will find the book entertaining enough, I just wish the characters weren’t depicted as such cold hearted bitches.
Reader's Annotation: Lucy, heartbroken after her boyfriend dumps her, gets the chance to become a member of the secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers—girls with magical abilities that get cruel guys to fall in love with them only to break their hearts.
Author Information: Lynn Weingarten is a writer, editor, content developer, eater of snacks and friend of dogs. Her first young adult novel, Wherever Nina Lies, was published by Scholastic Point. It was a NYPL Book for the Teen Age and a YALSA Teens’ Top Ten Nominee. Her second young adult novel, The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers, was released by HarperCollins’ HarperTeen imprint at the end of 2011. It received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews and was on Kirkus Reviews’s list of Best Teen Books for 2012. Her third young adult novel (a sequel to her second), is called The Book of Love and will be released by HarperTeen in 2013. She has also done freelance development for a major publisher, brainstormed for MTV, and ghostwritten a nonfiction book for a New York Times best-selling author. Before she went freelance, she originated, developed and edited young adult and middle grade fiction properties for Alloy Entertainment, the production company behind Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl, and The Vampire Diaries. Weingarten grew up in New York and in currently living in Scotland with her physicist husband (Weingarten, 2012).
Genre: Realistic with Fantasy Elements
Curriculum Ties: N/A
Booktalking Ideas: Aiming at readers’ heartstrings—wouldn’t you love the chance to get revenge on someone who broke your heart?
Reading Level/Interest Age: 13+
Challenge Issues: N/A
Challenge Defense: N/A
Reason for Inclusion: While I found some fault with the book, it was a quick read and entertaining enough that I know many girls looking for a fluff read will enjoy it. A sequel is set to be released next year.
Weingarten, L. (2012). About. Retrieved from http://lynnweingarten.com/about/