Please welcome a new reviewer to the site! Caitlin was my “work daughter” when I was at the Palm Beach County Public Library. She’s still there and working hard in Youth System Services. I miss her every day!
Mel Strickland is an overqualified help desk employee at a start up incubator who spends her days putting up with a sexist boss and male co-workers who are constantly downloading viruses onto their laptops. After a series of bad dates, and being on the receiving end of one too many pictures of male genitalia through a dating app, Mel decides to put her coding skills to good use and creates her own app. JerkAlert allows women to document the harassers and ghosters they encounter in the world of online dating. Mel is unprepared, however, when JerkAlert goes viral overnight, bringing with it unexpected consequences for her career and personal relationships.
It is refreshing to read a book where the heroine is employed in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) field. “How to Hack a Heartbreak” tackles sexism and how women must work twice as hard as men to gain respect in the tech field. I’ve seen this book classified as romance, and while Mel does have a love interest, (Alex is a programmer at the start up where Mel works,) I would consider it more along the lines of women’s fiction. Mel’s relationship with Alex is underdeveloped and I found it difficult to get invested in their romance. More important are Mel’s relationships with her group of girlfriends who offer never ending support and empowerment while she works at starting her own business. While the ending felt a bit rushed, “How to Hack a Heartbreak” is a fun read that takes an uplifting and feminist look at making it in the tech world, all with a side of romance.
9/19 Caitlin Brisson
HOW TO HACK A HEARTBREAK by Kristin Rockaway. Graydon House (July 30, 2019). ISBN 9781525834257. 352p.