Monday, June 15, 2009

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt - REVIEWED

“I had forgotten about the maze, but there it is, built into the cathedral’s stone floor. It’s a labyrinth. Whoever built this place must have known exactly how it feels to enter a church when you have so many questions.” (p. 261)

Christine Lee has questions about many things in her life. Turning sixteen and beginning her sophomore year in high school, she feels a bit invincible as long as her closest friends are by her side. Ana, Riley and Zoe complete the Miracle Girls group, and these four unlikely friends are bound together by circumstances that are both difficult and painful. Feeling that their friendships are securely bound by the trials they have endured, they enter into their sophomore experience leaving one critical factor out of their equation for happiness – boys. The year that stands before them with so much promise turns out to be filled with many unexpected and even more difficult challenges than any of them could have imagined!

Christine Lee is the featured Miracle Girl in Breaking Up Is Hard To Do. Still grieving her mother’s tragic death, she faces her father’s upcoming marriage to a former beauty queen with great uncertainty and a lot of anger. Oh, how my heart ached for this child! Christine is not a Christian, so she finds no comfort in her friends’ spiritual strength and their constant invitations to youth activities. Her struggle with God adds realistic depth to her character, and her pain leaps from the pages. When one of the most popular and best looking guys in the school begins to pay attention to her, Christine’s world grows even more uncertain and unfamiliar!

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do has been an unexpected and very moving journey that took me into the heart of teen relationships. I missed the debut of this series, but it made this book no less of a treasure! I have never read a novel that so accurately captured the confusion and pain of adolescence. This story brought me laugh-out-loud moments and moved me to tears. Breaking Up Is Hard To Do is a terrific story, and the plot lines end realistically instead of being neatly resolved. The reader is left all the richer for the experience. Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt are an exceptional writing team, and I look forward to reading more of their work!



Anne was born in San Jose, California, where she wasted her childhood playing Nintendo and watching The Facts of Life. Eventually, she went off to Princeton where she learned many important things, including how to recognize a kumquat. Four years and a useless degree later, she landed a job at Random House, where she promptly got bored and applied to graduate school, trained for a marathon, and reminisced about her days as a competitive finswimmer. A few years later, a blond guy showed up at her door with power tools and gazpacho. They live in Brooklyn. An editor by day, she enjoys bad horror movies, good cheese, and Count Chocula.


May grew up in Panama City, Florida, otherwise known as the Redneck Riviera. She graduated from Baylor University in Waco, TX and went on to earn her MA in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. After living in Brooklyn for four years and working at Random House as an Assistant Editor, Vanderbilt moved to fabulous San Francisco, putting an end to her long tour of undesirable cities. May is a Southern girl who is always on the search for decent grits in the Bay Area and makes artisanal cheese at home.

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