The Breakup Lists by Adib Khorram: Multilayered and Complex

Jackson Ghasnavi is a lot of things—a techie, a smoothie afficionado, a totally not obsessive list-maker—but one thing he’s not is a romantic. And why would he be? He’s already had a front row seat to his parents’ divorce and picked up the pieces of his sister Jasmine’s broken heart one too many times.

No, Jackson is perfectly happy living life behind the scenes—he is a stage manager, after all—and keeping his romantic exploits limited to the breakup lists he makes for Jasmine, which chronicle every flaw (real or imagined) of her various and sundry exes.

Enter Liam: the senior swim captain turned leading man that neither of the Ghasnavi siblings stop thinking about. Not that Jackson has a crush, of course. Jasmine is already setting her sights on him and he’s probably—no, definitely—straight anyway.

So why does the idea of eventually writing a breakup list for him feel so impossible?

In “The Breakup Lists by Adib Khorram, the author has created a multilayered and complex story, one in which the characters are three dimensional and the romance is realistic and authentic. From the very start, I liked the depth of the story, with Jackson differently abled and the conflict set up between him and his sister. I like that the author doesn’t shy away from depicting Jackson’s deafness and does so with sensitivity and understanding.

Part of what makes the story so endearing is seeing how Jackson struggles with his feelings. He clearly hasn’t resolved issues from his parent’s divorce nor should he have. This creates a complex dynamic but I love how the friendship between him and Liam grows. I especially like how it forces Jackson to deal with some of his issues and stand up for himself with others. Liam is also treated with empathy and his feelings are as important to the story as Jackson. 

If you like emotional stories full of drama, multilayered and complex narratives and characters, this story is for you. If you liked Heartstopper you will likely enjoy this novel as well. It has the same depth, a similar authenticity and characters you can empathize with, especially Jackson. I loved the honesty and the drama.

Rating: 5 out of 5 lists 

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