16 Ways to Break a Heart, Lauren Strasnick: Book Review

16 ways to break a heart lauren strasnick book reviewKatherine Tegen Books / Jessie Weinberg
16 Ways to Break a Heart Book Cover 16 Ways to Break a Heart
Lauren Strasnick
Young Adult
Harper Collins
2017
Hardcover
200

Unfolding through letters, texts, and chats, Lauren Strasnick’s smart, sexy, page-turning new novel is the ultimate he said/she said breakdown of a relationship gone wrong.

Natalie and Dan were electric from the moment they met. Witty banter and sizzling chemistry made falling in love easy—even inevitable. He was in awe of her subversive art and contagious zest for life; she was drawn to his good-guy charm and drive to succeed as a documentary filmmaker.

But that was before. Before hot tempers turned to blowout fights. Before a few little lies turned to broken trust. Before a hundred tiny slights broke them open and exposed the ugly truth of their relationship.

And now Natalie wants Dan to know just how much he broke her.

Over the course of one fateful day, Dan reads sixteen letters that Natalie has secretly, brilliantly hidden in places only he will find. And as he pieces together her version of their love story, he realizes that she has one final message for him. One that might just send his carefully constructed life tumbling down.

This review contains quotes from the book.

*Special thanks to Harper Collins for allowing us to read Lauren Strasnick’s 16 Ways to Break a Heart. 

In 16 Ways to Break a Heart, Lauren Strasnick does a wonderful job describing exactly what it feels like to have your heart broken in high school. However, the difference in this tale is that Strasnick gives her character, Natalie, the strength to process and confess the ways her ex-boyfriend, Dan, damaged their relationship, and the many events that led to their falling out.

Natalie and Dan were good together at the beginning of their relationship. They both liked things in each other like Natalie’s art and Dan’s desire to be a documentary filmmaker. But then things started to implode in their relationship. There would be big fights, broken trust and lies that uncovered who they were as a couple. But Natalie wasn’t ready to let Dan off the hook for hurting her so badly.

“We had a pretty promising start, didn’t we, D? Who would’ve thunk it could’ve ended like this?

Explosively, devastatingly, calamitously.

Yours truly,

Natalie”

– excerpt from Lauren Strasnick’s 16 Ways to Break a Heart

Natalie sends Dan 16 different letters throughout one day. She has meticulously placed them around Los Angeles in spots that Dan would only know about. After you read Natalie’s letters, you have Dan narrating what he thinks about them. You get to see their past relationship through both of their eyes. This is appealing because there are always two sides to every story and you get to see what each person thought of when it came to different aspects of their relationship.

“I crumple up the letter then glance down at the other five that came with it. They’re numbered, stacked neatly and bound together with a single satin ribbon. Dramatic huh?”

– excerpt from Lauren Strasnick’s 16 Ways to Break a Heart

While the letters put together their love story and breakup, Dan figures out that the last message could be detrimental to him. The readers experience the past in Natalie’s letters and the present through Dan’s narrative. You also get a variety of texts and chats in the past couple of years to help make sense of the timeline in their relationship.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants a light read that you could finish in a day. Not only is it fast pace but you will want to see the final message that Natalie has left for Dan. Strasnick does an excellent job of describing a high school relationship gone wrong. This young adult novel will not disappoint anyone.

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Jessica Duffield
I am a sophomore in college. Books are my passion and I hope to work in book publishing once I graduate.