By day, Mel Strickland is an underemployed helpdesk tech at a startup incubator, Hatch, where she helps entitled brogrammers–“Hatchlings”–who can’t even fix their own laptops, but are apparently the next wave of startup geniuses. And by night, she goes on bad dates with misbehaving dudes she’s matched with on the ubiquitous dating app, Fluttr.
But after one dick pic too many, Mel has had it. Using her brilliant coding skills, she designs an app of her own, one that allows users to log harrassers and abusers in online dating space. It’s called JerkAlert, and it goes viral overnight.
Mel is suddenly in way over her head. Worse still, her almost-boyfriend, the dreamy Alex Hernandez–the only non-douchey guy at Hatch–has no idea she’s the brains behind the app. Soon, Mel is faced with a terrible choice: one that could destroy her career, love life, and friendships, or change her life forever.
I read this book in a single sitting which suggests I loved it and couldn’t put it down. However, that’s not exactly what happened. How to Hack a Heartbreak is one of those books where I find myself completely torn over whether I liked or disliked the read. Here’s the breakdown:
Whitney: Though a minor character in the book, Whitney has a HUGE personality that very much overshadowed nearly everyone else. While I am certainly not opposed to such a character, I am very much opposed to Whitney. She is loud, rude, obnoxious, brash, and though she does come through for her friend in the end, she is just hard to take and even harder to like.
The Hatchlings: WOW!! There isn’t a great deal of good to say about this group of first-class jerks! From the very beginning, the work environment that includes the Hatchlings is terribly toxic and doesn’t improve much over the course of the read. Since so much of the book takes place in this environment, I found it difficult to ever really be comfortable with the setting and many of the people in said environment.
The Man-Bashing: Holy crap is there a ton of man-bashing that happens in this book. While the cast of characters is predominately heterosexual female who have experienced some really awful dating events/situations, not every man in the world is that level of awful. Additionally, while a certain amount of man bashing is to be expected based on the characters experiences, I found myself often thinking, “What about the women out there who behave in the same way?” The bashing in this book is pretty relentless and is wholly one-sided.
Mel and Alex: Talk about doomed from the get-go! Mel is so traumatized by her past dating experiences that she doesn’t ever truly give Alex a fair shot. Mel is suspicious, untrusting, and willing to go to some very sketchy lengths to “prove” what she already “knows” about Alex. For Alex, much of his time with Mel is very confusing; he likes her, tells her he likes her but always seems to receive such mixed signals that he has no hope of interpreting. What’s more, both Alex and Mel are so scared to be completely honest with themselves and one another that they walk right into mutually assured destruction. Much of Mel and Alex’s time together is well and truly painful to “watch.”
The Bottom Line: How to Hack a Heartbreak has some great moments and, in the end all the truths are accepted and understood, and everything works out, but I’m just not sure it’s enough to convince me to really like this book. I think I wanted more out of the ADULTS in this book and simply got more too little, too late. So many of the ridiculous issues that arise in this story could have been completely avoided had the characters simply thought through their words and actions before speaking and/or acting. With all this being said, I did enjoy the ending: the adults finally decided to behave like adults, Mel and Alex get their business squared away, and some good things develop from the rubble of Mel’s life. As you can see, dear reader, my positives and my negatives tend to balance one another which leaves me not all sure if I liked this book or not.