The only work I had read by Daniel Handler in the past was his marvelous work as Lemony Snicket, so I spent the first few chapters of reading "Why We Broke Up" waiting for a villain to surface, or for something truly absurd to happen.
By soon thereafter, I had forgotten the author, and I was only interested in what was going to happen to these mismatched teenagers, and, based on the title of the book, I knew it wasn't going to end well.
So, in that sense, "Why We Broke Up" IS a Series of Unfortunate Events, with villains and absurdity -- but what teenage romance doesn't include these things?
The characters, the details, the writing and Maira Kalman's illustrations conspired to make this book compelling from start to finish.
Handler did something interesting with the adults in this novel -- they are barely extant, much like the adults in Charlie Brown cartoons who can only say "Wah wah wah wah wah." The parents, as well as most of the adults, are very minor characters with very few appearances -- I suppose I should resign myself to this kind of role when my kids are lovestruck teens themselves someday.
I definitely recommend this love story, which is, in itself, a cliche, but so well rendered, it will likely be relatable for every last person who fell in love in high school.