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Keep your enemies close, but your friends closer.You know, How to Break a Boy was an interesting read. I expected something different from what it was, certainly something lighter and more straightforward, but I can't say it's not worthwhile.
Olivia Clayton has mastered the art of tearing others down to stay on top. She and her best friend, Adrienne, rule their small southern town like all good mean girls do--through intimidation and manipulation.
After Olivia suffers a family tragedy and catches Adrienne sleeping with her boyfriend, Olivia is over it. She decides to make a change--but it's impossible to resist taking Adrienne down one last time. Up to her old tricks, Olivia convinces golden boy Whit DuRant to be her SAT tutor and her fake boyfriend. But when it starts to feel real, Whit gets caught up in Olivia and Adrienne's war.
Olivia may ruin everything she touches, but this time she won't go down without a fight--not if it means losing Whit.
And definitely not if it means losing what's left of herself.
At times, How to Break a Boy is actually hard to read. There are moments when Olivia is making the worst choices I could imagine, and I just wanted to smack her. It's hard to read about a character who is so different and who you know is making the wrong decision, but who believes she's making the right one. It's not that she's unlikable, especially by the end of the book, but Olivia truly doesn't know who she is--and I think that's what makes it worthwhile.
By the end of the book, Olivia still doesn't know who she is, but she's working on it. She's done so much to hurt people, but she's figuring it out--and that's why I think How to Break a Boy is interesting. It's the story of a girl who realizes her life is far from what she thought it was, and she breaks down in that realization. It's kind of like watching a train wreck, because you can't look away yet it's hard to endure.
But I really liked the romance! Whit really is exactly what Olivia needs, and you hate to see him get hurt. Moments between them are hard to read as well, because I just wanted Olivia to really open up and just give up on her vendetta against Adrienne.
Problem is, I think there are people who won't like the "mean girl" aspect of it. Olivia and Adrienne are truly awful to others and one another. The book doesn't make excuses for them, but it's hard to imagine they--Adrienne especially--have a good understanding of just what they're doing.
How to Break a Boy is a fascinating read. It's one I don't think will be for everyone, but it's a great character study of Olivia, warts and all. I'll definitely be looking for more from Laurie Devore.
Laurie Devore was born and raised in small town South Carolina and graduated from Clemson University. She now lives and works in Chicago, where she misses the charms and contradictions of the south every day. In her spare time, she reluctantly runs marathons, watches too much TV, and works a “y’all” into every conversation. How to Break a Boy is her first novel.