The Break-Up Test
Meet Amy, Beth and Sarah. All intelligent women with one thing in common – a bad taste in men!
Amy receives seductive texts from Gav and promptly skips round to his house for a mid-afternoon romp. She never planned it that way. Maybe one day he’ll actually fall in love with her?
Beth sits at her desk, her mobile phone propped up in front of her keyboard. Anytime soon it’ll light up like the Blackpool Illuminations, and Karl will finally get in touch about that drink. It’s been five days…
Sarah is seeing Stephen, trying to believe his claim that although he shares a bed with his ex, Kat, they aren’t sleeping together. She can’t believe it’s turned into one of THOSE stories you read about in women’s weeklies.
Then Jamie comes along with his Break-Up Test and turns their lives upside down.
Will Gav, Karl and Stephen suddenly sniff the competition and clean up their acts?
And what exactly is in it for Jamie?
The Break-Up Test is the debut novel by chick-lit author (and our very own Judging Covers reviewer!) Rose McClelland. Having read and loved McClelland’s second book How To Look Like You I felt compelled to read this and see where she began, and I was not disappointed!
The book begins with Amy recovering from a rather rushed ‘dalliance’ with a date, which was not the romantic experience she had been hoping for, leaving her feeling rather deflated and, in some ways, quite used.
We then meet Beth, who is sat at her desk gazing at her phone for a shred of evidence that the man in her life cares for her at all.
Next comes Sarah, who is finding solace at the bottom of a wine bottle as she’s left waiting for the man she loves, who is at that time probably at another social event… with his wife (who of course he doesn’t sleep with; or at least that’s his excuse!)
Finally comes Jamie, the lone male perspective in the story. He is emailing his old uni mate Amy to see if he can stay with her for a few weeks while working in London, allowing him the opportunity to escape from his needy, on/off girlfriend, Stacey.
The tale of the four friends is beautifully interwoven and told through each of their perspectives, as we discover their trials and tribulations of dating, and subsequent break-ups. After feeling devalued and unhappy in their relationships the group decide (on a drunken night out!) to develop ‘The Break-Up Test’, a series of 10 dating commandments (all written on the back of a napkin rather than two tablets of stone) that should help them discover a happier relationship ethic… in theory.
I found myself shouting at each of the girls in turn (including Stacey, Jamie’s girlfriend) to make a hasty getaway and find a man who treated them with the love, respect and romance they deserved, and felt so happy with each of the endings for the characters. I also enjoyed the sub-plots which gave the story warmth, depth and humour that all added up to a genuinely enjoyable read.
I love the way the author writes in her native Irish tongue, it helps to give the book a familiar edge; like a good chat with a friend over a nice bottle of wine. I don’t often think this about a book, but I would love to see this made into a fabulous Brit film!