Title: How to Hack a Heartbreak
Author: Kristin Rockaway
Edition/Pages: Audiobook, 8 Hours 38 Minutes
I received an arc copy of this from Harlequin via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
This follows Mel, a female programmer who works the helpdesk at a startup incubator. The “hatchlings” she works with are often entitled and misogynistic.
Mel reaches her breaking point after her date stands her up and a man sends her a dick pic on the popular dating app, Fluttr. Out of anger, she creates the site JerkAlert where women can review the men/dates they meet on Fluttr. Seemingly overnight, the site goes viral. But Mel doesn’t want anyone to know she is the person behind the site, and finds herself in over her head.
This is feminist contemporary about how Mel deals with the sexism. While this is classified as romance, the romance is definitely not at the forefront of the story.
➸ POV – This is told in 1st person from Mel’s POV.
➸ Mel – 26. Works the helpdesk at Hatch, a startup incubator. After one too many bad dates and dick pics, she codes up a site called JerkAlert where woman can safely review their Fluttr matches.
➸ Alex – Hatchling at Hatch. (That is pretty much the extent of the character details we get…)
Content Warnings: Sexism, Harassment, Cheating, Misogyny
What I Liked
➸ This book is feminist AF. I am always here for books about women in underrepresented fields. I loved that this book tackled some really difficult but important and timely topics – online dating, harassment, sexism.
➸ As a Software Engineer myself, I love reading about women in that field. I think it is important to de-stigmatize women in STEM fields.
➸ I think my favorite part of this was the strong female friendship the main character had. There was never any women hating or backstabbing. The group of friends always had each other’s backs and stood by each other, even when they didn’t necessarily approved. I loved seeing such healthy and positive friendships in a book.
What I Didn’t Like
➸ There was not a single subtle moment in this book. While I appreciated the feminist stance of this book, I felt like I was being beaten over the head at every page. It was absolutely nonstop – coworkers: sexist, boss: sexist, stranger on the train: sexist, boyfriends: sexist.
➸ Everyone that is except Alex! Ugh, this book painted every male character out to be a truly vile person but then the love interest was obnoxiously naive. There is literally a scene where is talking to Mel’s friends about how he didn’t know online dating was so difficult for women or that unsolicited dick pics were a thing. Was this guy living under a rock? The juxtaposition of his naivety versus the never-ending misogynistic hoard was so jarring and cringey. I get it, we’re supposed to like Alex.
➸ But unfortunately I felt absolutely nothing about the relationship. Alex’s character gets so little personality there was never anything for me to like or hold onto.
➸ This used my least favorite trope – miscommunication. Mel is so convinced everyone is out to get here that she jumps to conclusions and sabotages her relationship. I’m not saying stuff like this doesn’t happen, I just hate reading about it over and over again.
Overall this missed the mark for me. As someone who works in this industry, I was so excited to see myself in a book. But I somehow wasn’t able to relate at all this story or these characters. Everything felt so forced and over the top that I was never able to become immersed in the story.