You know when you're in the mood for a certain kind of book and kind of have to hope the next one you pick up will perfectly suit your mood? That was how I was feeling the Friday before How to Hack a Heartbreak was released (which is today!). I had finished my book club pick the day before, A Discovery of Witches which is amazing if you've never read it (it was a re-read for me), and it was a long read for me because of life and the fact that it's 500+ pages of excellent, detailed fantasy. Cue me needing something fun and set in this world. Enter Kristin Rockaway's new novel. Friends, I was so into this book that I had it read in under four hours on Friday night. I had the house to myself and just dove in and barely looked up until it was done. It was so, so good!
Here's the synopsis:
Swipe right for love. Swipe left for disaster.I'll get the little negatives out of the way first. While I was 1000% invested in Mel and really liked her - I'm not sure I fully got her. No. That's not quite right. I felt like there was more to her than I was getting and I needed more. I needed more about her parents' divorce - blaming her feelings for not trusting Alex on her dad cheating but only mentioning it 2-3 times in the book and never seeing/hearing from her mom felt super weak and convenient. Of course, maybe that's because I'm a child of divorce and my dad also cheated so I always feel like it needs to be a super terrible and messy situation for a character to blame their parents for their own relationship problems. I wouldn't call myself well-adjusted - who would - but based on what I knew of Mel, I didn't feel like it was a strong enough reason for her to be acting the way she was.
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.
One of the things I absolutely loved about this book was Mel's job. I know next to nothing about coding but I do know that it's not a great work environment for women and I LOVED that Rockaway did not shy away from that. I thought this book was super feminist and I. Am. Here. For. It. It touched on all sorts of things that women deal with on a day to day basis that men just don't get. She made sure that Alex wasn't perfect but he was willing to listen to Mel and her friends and worked to understand how things could look from a woman's perspective (things like ghosting and dick pics, for example). She had men who were clueless and abusive and clearly never going to change their ways. She had women who went to the extreme as well and attacked undeserving men online. It was all so realistic and perfectly woven into the overall story.
I also really liked that Mel had an amazing group of girlfriends. The four of them were super tight (though I'm not sure we ever learned how they all know each other?) and each of their personalities brought something extra special to their friendship. Time for another mini negative: I'm not sure I liked Whit, who seemed to be Mel's closest friend of the group. Her
How to Hack a Heartbreak fits perfectly into this new wave of rom coms and contemporary fiction we're seeing - and I'm LOVING it. Kristin Rockaway has taken her experience as a woman in the IT sector and written a novel that is going to be relatable to all women, no matter their background or age. It's fun, it's smart, it's real and it will be one you won't be able to stop once you start. Trust me on that one.
*An ARC of this novel was provided by the publisher, HarperCollins Canada, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*