The Heartbreak Messenger (by Alexander Vance: Juvenile Fiction) © 2013

Book JacketRating:  5/5

Summary: Seventh-grader Quentin stumbles upon a way to earn some money–by taking on the job of delivering the “I’m breaking up with you” message on behalf of whichever high school guy would like to end his latest romantic attachment.  At first, Quentin finds that the task of delivering the messages to the unsuspecting girls is pretty lucrative.  Another bonus is that he is earning enough money to help his single, auto mechanic mother whom he believes is having money troubles.  However, Quentin eventually begins to find that the line between “just doing his job” and being the agent of true heartbreak starts to blur, which threatens his relationship with his childhood friend, Abby.  Perhaps too late, Quentin begins to realize that the game of love is much more complicated than he thought—and wonders if his own heart will survive the emotional toll the new job is taking on him and the friends he cares about most.

Review:  Guy readers!! Don’t be fooled by the pink and green cartoon hearts on the cover of this book!  This is a story for guys, about guys, but with enough female characters to keep any girl interested, too.  It’s narrated by a funny, likeable seventh grader who finds himself in a much more complicated situation than he ever bargained for.  Quentin finds that getting paid to deliver break-up messages for other people earns him a lot of money, yet also puts him in real physical danger as well.  Worse, he doesn’t quite understand the emotional impact of his actions until they involve his best friend, Abby.  The tension builds swiftly, the characters are well-fleshed out, the dialogue is believable, and the chapters are just the right length to keep you turning the pages.  The book ends with a terrific message that is not at all preachy—just some really solid advice for life.  Intended for readers 5th – 8th grade.

Availability: This book is available from the Lake Bluff Public Library’s Juvenile Fiction collection.

Reviewed by: Regina

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