Friday, April 19, 2024

Not If You Break Up With Me First by G.F. Miller

When I first saw this one, I was like 'oh, a cute sounding YA romance'. Then, I noticed it's a middle grade read, which should head more toward humor than melting moments. 

Ah, middle grade romance!

My daughters hated watching the drama around them during those years. Both of them were a bit their own worlds(?) to throw a glance at any of the 'gross' guys. As a mom, it made my life easy. But the stories! The tears they told me about! The gossip wars! The revenge! (At least, on the girls' sides). And all of that within around a week's period before the couple usually broke up and a new one formed. Middle school is a very dramatic and whip-lash inducing time frame in our small town. 

I'm more than a little curious to see what situations the characters in this read will face because it could be quite a fun read.

by G.F. Miller
Middle Grade Romance
288 pages
ages 8 to 12

JUNE 4th!!!

Two friends who have unhappily found themselves in an accidental relationship try to drive the other one to call things off in this tongue-in-cheek middle grade romance.

Childhood friends Eve and Andrew are destined to be together— everyone says so, especially their friends and classmates who are all suddenly crush-obsessed. So when Eve and Andrew’s first eighth grade school dance rolls around and Eve, feeling the pressure, awkwardly asks Andrew to go with her, everyone assumes they are Officially Dating and Practically in Love. Overwhelmed, Eve and Andrew just…go with it.

And it’s weird. Neither of them wants this dating thing to mess up their friendship, and they don’t really see each other that way. But they also don’t want to be the one to call things off, the one to make things super awkward. So they both—separately—pledge to be the worst boyfriend or girlfriend ever, leaving it to the other person to break up with them. It would be genius…if the other person weren’t doing the exact same thing.


The rollercoaster ride of middle grade emotions slams into the hyper-drive of crushes and peer pressure in a tale with heart, humor, and an entire truck load of drama.

After several months of separation, Eve can't wait for her forever-best-friend Andrew to come back from Florida, but the moment, he steps away from the terminal, it's clear some things have changed. Everything in her life seems to be doing that. Many of the kids at school are changing...and not only physically. Crushes are the hottest topic, and Eve's own parents can no longer seem to get along. She's steering everything as best she can. When all the girls at school push her to ask Andrew to an upcoming dance, claiming the two are the perfect couple, Eve decides to give in. After all, he's her best friend...but things don't go as planned. Everyone now claims the two are a couple, and even silly Andrew seems to think they should be one. At least, that's how he's sort of acting. After the dance goes askew in the most awkward way, Eve admits to her friends that she doesn't like him like that, but breaking up is even more difficult than getting together. She has to make him break up with her. Of course, he's well aware of this social rule, and unknown to her, decides on the same plan of attack thanks to his own friends. Add the storm of her fighting parents, a fact she's still trying to hide from everyone and somehow solve, and everything is about to become the biggest disaster ever.

Yep, this book is middle grade romance as I and my kids have come to know it. Eve might be level-headed for her age. but gossip and peer-pressure are a might force to be reckoned with, especially at that age. It's not that she's even a person, who is trying to make everyone like her (as in so many reads). Eve is just lost, trying to find footing when the world around her...and even she herself...don't make the same sense as before. The three month separation from Andrew did seem a little short considering all of the changes, but this pause does set the perfect stage for misunderstandings and uncertainties to settle in, which drive the entire read. The two know each other well, care for each other insanely, but have lost just enough contact to give wiggle room in their, otherwise, concrete connection.

The read does concentrate heavily on the back and forth between Eve and Andrew, giving very few of the other characters much depth. But then, these two do have enough drama on their own. Plus, Eve's parental problems come into play, demonstrating how looming divorces go way beyond the emotional status of the kids at home and sink into every other aspect of their life, unintentionally or not. It was nice to see this so subtly (while not being subtle) addressed. 

Most important, this is a read which does toss the emotions back and forth in the best ways. Eve and Andrew are never to be underestimated in their attacks on each other, which adds humor and gasp worthy surprises. On the other side, the non-severable care they have for each other leaks through to bring warm sighs. It's drama pure and is sure to be enjoyed by more than just a few middle grade readers.

And here she is...

G. F. Miller absolutely insists on a happy ending. Everything else is negotiable. She is living her Happily Ever After with the love of her life, three kids, two puppies, and some chickens. She cries at random times. She makes faces at herself in the mirror. She believes in the Oxford comma. And she’s always here for a dance party.

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