Book Review: The Break Up

Charlotte Barnes

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

published: 25th March 2022
spoilers? no


You don’t know what you’re looking for until you find it.

Edi Parcell thought she had life all planned out, so when her childhood sweetheart proposes a three-month break to date other people, she’s shocked. Unexpectedly back on the dating scene after years with the same guy, this is the first opportunity Edi’s had to think about what she really wants from life – and love.

When she meets Winifred, her world is turned upside down. She never expected to have feelings for someone else, but now she’s met Winifred she can’t stop thinking about her. As the months pass, Edi is shocked to realise she’s not sure she wants her old relationship back at all – not now there’s Winifred…

Galley provided by publisher

CWs: transphobia

The Break Up is a hard book to describe, to be honest. It’s nothing like I was expecting—my initial review described this as “less a f/f romance novel and more a m/f break up novel” which I think says it all. So, for the most part, I was bored. And then you chuck a little transphobic comment in there? Well. You can see why this rating happened I’m sure.

Let me start with the lesser of the two evils: the plot and subsequent boredom. I do grant that a lot of the issue was with my expectations (probably driven by the cover, which shows two women holding hands, so you would think that perhaps they are somewhat central to the plot of this). But. They were not. In fact, the plot seemed to skew far more towards Edi and Rowan’s relationship, which, quite frankly, she should have ditched him long before she did (85%, because I checked). He was an absolute shitstain and there was no reason I could see that she should have stayed with him. So, of course, I’m not going to enjoy reading about this when all I can see of him is his shitstain-ness. Like if I’m supposed to be as conflicted over this as Edi is, I have to have seen him when it was good. But that wasn’t there.

And I realise that it’s more a book about how Edi meeting Winifred (Fred) is a catalyst for seeing how badly Rowan has treated her, but seriously Edi? That’s what you needed? I’ve seen the flashbacks. The cheating and homophobia wasn’t enough? Alright then.

So if that’s why I was bored, here’s why the rating was dropped (by half a star and rounded down). There’s an earlyish scene in this book, where Edi is going on a date with someone she’s met on a dating app. This guy is, from the start, set out as a dickhead. In the midst of this scene, there’s a part where Edi, glancing at her phone, sees she has received a dick pic from someone else entirely. The guy comes back from getting drinks, notices this, and Edi then says it’s not hers. To which the guy responds along the lines of thank God, because that would be (and I quote) a “next-level deception”. And then they move on and this comment is never examined at any length. Edi doesn’t even bat an eyelid at it.

Hopefully I don’t need to explain why this is a shitty and transphobic comment. On the one hand, we have clearly seen that this date is supposed to be disliked. He is not a good guy. On the other hand, Edi doesn’t even blink at the comment. It’s not taken in the text and dissected in any way to show how it’s bad. She doesn’t get up and leave the date at that. The actual final straw is finding out that the man has a second date immediately following from hers. This part of the scene is almost entirely useless, unless you want to show the date is a transphobe but then why doesn’t Edi react? (I have tried my best to find reasons for this part being in here, as you maybe can tell. None of them make any sense.)

So when you combine these two things, that’s how you get to my rating. Without the transphobic comment: 2 stars anyway. With it? Yeah…


3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Break Up

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