destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]'s Reviews > Dear Heartbreak: YA Authors and Teens on the Dark Side of Love

Dear Heartbreak by Heather Demetrios
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DNF @ pg 87

This is probably the most disappointing, upsetting DNF review I've written in all of 2018 (with the year almost over, at that), but I can't continue this.

When I requested this ARC, it was pitched to me as YA authors writing fictional stories in response to teens' letters about heartbreak—not nonfiction self-help columns, which is what I got. And there's nothing inherently wrong with that, if that's what you're looking for, but I can't stand self-help columns, so that was very jarring for me. That said, I enjoy a lot of the authors involves, so I went into it with an open mind and open heart.

If my only issue with these pieces was that it wasn't what it had been marketed to me as, I would not be giving this collection a rating, but it is a mess. As much as I love Heather Demetrios, I am literally pained over the fact that her name is attached to this, because some of the authors replying to these letters are downright irresponsible.

Of the pieces I read, I only enjoyed Becky Albertalli's (ironic, since I don't enjoy her fiction much), and the rest were "meh" at best and problematic as hell at worst.

Nina LaCour's was shockingly tone-deaf; after receiving a letter where the writer complained of feeling unwanted and suffering from FOMO, Nina went on a tangent about what a popular, beautiful, cool teenager she had been, which felt like page upon page of blatant humble-bragging with little to no advice.

Adi Alsaid's was okay but gave advice that felt super sketchy to be giving teens (such as recommending a teen find strangers online in their city to meet up with—I could understand suggesting this to grown adults, but the protective mother in me cringes at the thought of a 15-year-old reading this and running off to Craigslist to find some creepy pervert)

Libby Bray's had a lot of good advice and was humorous, but I genuinely hope the final edits clean up some of the immensely gendered language. I'm 100% sure it's just second nature and Libby meant no harm, but if the email writer is anonymous, it seems super unfair to me to assume that you're talking to a cishet girl just based on their mention of seeking a boyfriend? :(

Kim Liggett's advice was the final straw for me. This letter was from someone seeking advice on how to heal from sexual assault and mentioning how they haven't moved past the rawness of it, yet Kim goes on to describe their own rape as a teen in detail that... I don't know how to explain this, because it wasn't over the top explicit, but the way it was described was immensely triggering for me as a survivor. I'm not saying you can't give advice on healing from assault while mentioning your own, because solidarity and empathy can go a long way, but I think trigger warnings and tact would have gone even further.

So, that's it—this was one of my most anticipated releases of the year due to wrong marketing, and I'm a little broken up over how disappointed I am in this collection. I really wanted to keep going and see if it got better, but the lack of care going into some of these stories tells me that, even if I were to continue reading it, I don't foresee my rating improving from its current state.

Thank you so much to Henry Holt & Co for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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Reading Progress

February 13, 2018 – Shelved
February 13, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
July 27, 2018 – Shelved as: owned-physical
July 27, 2018 – Shelved as: anthology
November 5, 2018 – Started Reading
November 5, 2018 –
page 25
8.22%
December 9, 2018 – Shelved as: diverse-reads
December 9, 2018 – Shelved as: nonfiction
December 9, 2018 – Shelved as: young-adult
December 9, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)

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emma EXACTLY. this review is perfection


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] emma wrote: "EXACTLY. this review is perfection"

Ugh thank you love ♥♥ I'm sorry this was such a letdown for us both 😒


message 3: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah Ames-Foley This is such a bummer to hear! It definitely doesn’t seem like something I’ll be interested in trying


message 4: by Rosie (new)

Rosie I’m very sorry you had such a bad experience with this, especially with the last one. There really should have been trigger warnings put in for it, I hope you’re feeling okay now. Great review, as always :) thank you for the heads up with this one! Best wishes.


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Sarah wrote: "This is such a bummer to hear! It definitely doesn’t seem like something I’ll be interested in trying"

Yeah I can't honestly see myself recommending this to ANYONE sadly :(


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Rosie wrote: "I’m very sorry you had such a bad experience with this, especially with the last one. There really should have been trigger warnings put in for it, I hope you’re feeling okay now. Great review, as ..."

Aw thank you so much Rosie <3 Thankfully I'm the type of reader who can usually disassociate from a trigger fairly quickly, so I'm alright today, but I was mad as hell about it last night lol!


message 7: by Hayli (new) - added it

Hayli Once again, I am always grateful for your reviews! I was really excited for this one but it's so weird that it's an advice column. Not gonna lie, totally assumed it was a fiction anthology. 😕 So sorry you had a bad time with this one. Hope your next read is better! ❤


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Hayli wrote: "Once again, I am always grateful for your reviews! I was really excited for this one but it's so weird that it's an advice column. Not gonna lie, totally assumed it was a fiction anthology. 😕 So so..."

Thank you, love! Yeah, everyone I've talked to has said they thought it was fiction and I swear it was marketed that way months ago, so I think this blame might fall on whoever wrote the synopsis and came up with the marketing strategy! :(


message 9: by Alexa (new)

Alexa Yikes, this truly sounds like a mess. I'm disappointed by the Nina LaCour part because I love her fiction, but some of the others you mentioned are just ?? I hope the gendered language is cleaned up too, and the triggering part at least gets a warning...


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Alexa wrote: "Yikes, this truly sounds like a mess. I'm disappointed by the Nina LaCour part because I love her fiction, but some of the others you mentioned are just ?? I hope the gendered language is cleaned u..."

Yeah, the Nina LaCour thing was THE worst to me. I was stunned by how insensitive her piece came across as, especially because I really enjoyed the fiction I've read by her, too. :(


message 11: by Katie (new)

Katie I was going to have a read of this to see if I should pass it on to my teenaged sister, but this settles it - not happening.


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Katie wrote: "I was going to have a read of this to see if I should pass it on to my teenaged sister, but this settles it - not happening."

I'm sorry, Katie! :(


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