Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Publication Date: August 21, 2012
Target audience: Young Adult
Keywords: break-ups, first love, getting over break-up
Format read: ARC from ALA Annual. (Thanks!)
Summary: After Max’s boyfriend, Hugo, cheated on her, she started a business in NYC to help broken-hearted girls get over their ex-boyfriends. Her business is thriving until Hugo relocates to NYC and Max is forced to deal with the heartbreak she buried.
Have you ever had an extraordinary relationship that all of a sudden just went to crap? One day everything is fine and then the next day you find out your (d-bag) of a boyfriend is two-timing you with another girl. You find yourself on the middle of a field (ya know, the kind with a stadium crowded with people) saying things you’ll later regret and acting like a crazy person (in front of aforementioned people).
This is precisely what happened to Max. She was dating a guy, Hugo, she was head over heels in love with. After she found out he was cheating on her, she fled town, dropped out of school, got her GED, and began a business to help other girls completely get over their exes. Max has the process down to an art, healing many a girl’s broken heart. She wants to use her business as a research platform to help her get accepted into NYU.
Things are going well for Max until her ex reappears. She’s finding it difficult to dodge him and her suppressed feelings are resurfacing. She’s never allowed her own broken heart to heal and she begins to have a ridiculously hard time making mature, careful decisions in the best interest of her clients. Her two best friends (who also double as her employees) have never completely been given the low down on what happened either, making it very difficult for them to help her get over Hugo.
At the finale of Max’s clients completing her program, they have a Moment in which they come face-to-face with their ex and prove they’re over them. Max’s friends encourage her to have a Moment with Hugo. It was really at this point that I checked out a little bit. Max wanted so badly to prove herself to him that too many emotions got tangled. I can understand how breakups are not a clean break, but she seemed to lose some of her strength and strong-will when faced with Hugo. The girl who could run a successful business at 18 and handle the most broken of clients melted away in his presence.
I struggled with the decisions she was making and the domino effect of hurt she was causing her friends, clients, and new-love interest because she couldn’t pull herself together. As much as I loved the concept of the story, there was a disconnect between Max’s business and personal life. I very much liked the business-oriented, put together Max, but private Max lacked maturity that made me question whether she should be interacting with clients when she was so lost herself.
There were several circumstances when I don’t know that I would have so easily forgiven Max for the things she did. In the end I don’t think she was a character I liked as much as I did in the beginning of Over You. I always appreciate when authors redeem their characters and they come full circle, but Max’s like-ability went backwards for me. While I enjoyed the concept of Over You, I found myself lacking the excitement and closure I wanted.