Book Reviews

Book Review: Make Up Break Up by Lily Menon

Love, romance, second chances, fairy-tale endings…these are the things Annika Dev believes in. Her app, Make Up, has been called the “Google Translate for failing relationships.”

High efficiency break-ups, flashy start-ups, penthouses, fast cars…these are the things Hudson Craft believes in. His app, Break Up, is known as the “Uber for break-ups.” It’s wildly successful—and anathema to Annika’s life philosophy.

Which wouldn’t be a problem if they’d gone their separate ways after that summer fling in Las Vegas, never to see each other again. Unfortunately for Annika, Hudson’s moving not just into her office building, but into the office right next to hers. And he’ll be competing at the prestigious EPIC investment pitch contest: A contest Annika needs to win if she wants to keep Make Up afloat. As if it’s not bad enough seeing his irritatingly perfect face on magazine covers when her own business is failing. As if knowing he stole her idea and twisted it into something vile—and monumentally more successful—didn’t already make her stomach churn.

As the two rival app developers clash again and again—and again—Annika finds herself drawn into Hudson Craft’s fast-paced, high velocity, utterly shallow world. Only, from up close, he doesn’t seem all that shallow. Could it be that everything she thought about Hudson is completely wrong? Could the creator of Break Up teach her what true love’s really about?

Title: Make Up Break Up
Author: Lily Menon
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Format: Digital ARC
Publication Date: February 2nd 2021
Rating:  3.4//5

I really wanted to fall in love with this book. I love Sandhya Menon’s books and was eager to dive into her adult world (under a brand new name).

This story follows Annika and Hudson, two app developers who after a week of romance, went their separate ways. But when Hudson’s app is too similar to Annika’s, she resents him, and is determined to bring him down.

I know this is Menon’s first move into adult territory, and even though Annika was an adult, she still acted very childish at times. Her reasoning for disliking Hudson could have been solved by a simple conversation, you know, acting like an adult.

So I’m not a huge enemies to lovers fan, and I tried to put that aside while reading this but the relationship with these two was difficult. It was lovers, to one sided enemies, to frenemies, to lovers. It was a weird relationship loop and didn’t quite make sense.

Now on to the story, and the apps. First of all, I hate both of these app ideas. I know its not really relevant, but a) if someone broke up with me via a video app I would be PISSED. That idea is disgusting and a terrible terrible way to end a relationship. b) Annika’s app was just as bad. I have zero desire to have an app on my phone listen to my most private conversations and ANALYZE THEM. I don’t really care if it would be “helping” its still creepy as shit.

Whew, got that off my chest. Now then, as they both try and make their respective apps a hit, Annika and Hudson bump heads a few times. Annika wants to win EPIC so she can finally have the money to finish her app, and Hudson wants to win…for fun? I don’t really understand Hudson’s desire to win EPIC. His app is already insanely popular, he has enough money to buy a giant million dollar penthouse, why does he need an investment? EPIC seems like it’s a pitch contest to get smaller apps up and running, not for hugely successful ones to get even more money. I get that the two needed a reason to be pitied against each other, but it just didn’t make tons of sense to me. Hudson would have been fine without the contest, meanwhile Annika needed it.

HOWEVER, despite my misgivings, I was rooting hard for these two. I loved Menon’s dive into steamier scenes than her YA works, and absolutely could not put the book down while things were getting hot n’ heavy. While Annika’s day to day activities screamed adolescent, her sex life (and thoughts) screamed adult content. I desperately wanted everything to work out for these two just so that I could read more of their private interactions.

And even though it was extremely childish and not a healthy way of communicating as an adult, I kind of lived for the pettiness. I know I said I didn’t like how Annika acted more like a YA character, but I live for pettiness okay? And anytime Annika did something extremely juvenile and petty, I did a little gleeful dance. Her rooftop pettiness (even though it backfired) was on point and I desire to be like her one day.

Overall, I didn’t agree with a lot of points in this book. It still felt young to me, Annika’s behavior throughout the book and her motivations were difficult to grasp, and Hudson’s actions at the end of the book made ABSOLUTELY ZERO SENSE. (Seriously, this book would have gotten one more star if Hudson’s stupid logic at the end didn’t happen.)

But I did enjoy reading this, it had its high points, and for her first adult novel I think Menon did a pretty good job. I’m excited for what she writes next.

Make Up Break Up comes out February 2nd!

*Thank you NetGalley for the digital ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own

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