Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash. Some work at the Gap. Becca Williamson breaks up couples.
After watching her sister get left at the altar, Becca knows the true damage that comes when people utter the dreaded L-word. For just $100 via paypal, she can trick and manipulate any couple into smithereens. With relationship zombies overrunning her school, and treating single girls like second class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even her best friend Val has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.
One night, she receives a mysterious offer to break up the homecoming king and queen, the one zombie couple to rule them all: Steve and Huxley. They are a JFK and Jackie O in training, masters of sweeping faux-mantic gestures, but if Becca can split them up, then school will be safe again for singletons. To succeed, she’ll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date and wiggle her way back into her former BFF Huxley’s life – not to mention start a few rumors, sabotage some cell phones, break into a car, and fend off the inappropriate feelings she’s having about Val’s new boyfriend. All while avoiding a past victim out to expose her true identity.
No one said being the Break-Up Artist was easy.
THE BREAK-UP ARTIST is a YA contemporary comedy that will appeal to readers of Kody Keplinger, as well as fans of MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING and MEAN GIRLS. It is complete at 64,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.
First 500 words:
Couples are made to be broken. That’s what my sister Diane told me when I started my business, and she knows better than anyone. “Don’t get duped like I did, Becca,” she said almost a year ago, as she shoved her wedding dress into a garbage bag. She had had it designed to look like Kate Middleton’s, lace sleeves and everything. It’s a shame nobody saw her wear it.
Back in olden times, people were upfront about why they took the plunge. For land, for money, for children. Marriage was a business contract. That’s how it started, anyway. Farmers would marry off their sons and daughters in order to double their acreage. Society’s first corporate merger. Next were dowries, where brides came with a down payment. But history, as it always happens, was rewritten. The truth was washed away like a house in a flood, and in its place sprouted one vague excuse: love.
People use that word to go around and do what they please. They don’t have to worry about who gets hurt because it’s all in the name of love. Want to cheat on your wife, ditch your friends, commit a crime? No problem! Just use the L word, and it’s all forgiven. Love has no rules, no boundaries. It’s gone all these years unchecked. That doesn’t make it whimsical; that makes it dangerous.
I may not be an angel in all this. If you can’t handle my line of work, then go read Twilight. But let me ask you this: How many lives have been ruined because of love?
Who’s really the bad guy here?
Calista McTiernan looks away from the screen. Tears form in her eyes. The levee’s about to break. I wish I could reach through my computer and give her a hug. I hear these stories too often.
“She says nothing’s changed between us, but that’s such a lie.” Her blonde hair fans around her pea-sized head. Her hair’s the same shade as mine, but hers is real.
“Have you tried talking to her about it? Maybe patch things up before I move forward,” I ask in my best British accent.
She folds her knee up to her body and rests her chin. “I don’t get it. Bari’s my best friend. But once she started dating Derek, she became a different person. Last weekend, she had a house party, and she didn’t invite me. I didn’t find out about it until Tuesday. When I confronted her, she said it was a ‘couples-only’ thing, and I wouldn’t have liked it. Since when are there couples-only parties? I told her she was being a shitty friend.”
“And what did she say?”
Calista stares at the screen, her bottom lip quivering. Only the hissing of her radiator fills my speaker.
“She said ‘You just don’t understand because you’re single.’” Tears stream down Calista’s cheeks. She buries her face in her knee to compose herself.
I clench my lips together. I have to stay strong for my client.