by Kristin Rockaway
Published July 30, 2019 by Graydon House
Goodreads Rating: 3.62 Stars
By day, Mel Strickland is an underemployed helpdesk tech at a startup incubator, Hatch, where she helps entitled brogrammers—”Hatchlings”—who can’t even fix their own laptops, but are apparently the next wave of startup geniuses. And by night, she goes on bad dates with misbehaving dudes she’s matched with on the ubiquitous dating app, Fluttr.
But after one dick pic too many, Mel has had it. Using her brilliant coding skills, she designs an app of her own, one that allows users to log harrassers and abusers in online dating space. It’s called JerkAlert, and it goes viral overnight.
Mel is suddenly in way over her head. Worse still, her almost-boyfriend, the dreamy Alex Hernandez—the only non-douchey guy at Hatch—has no idea she’s the brains behind the app. Soon, Mel is faced with a terrible choice: one that could destroy her career, love life, and friendships, or change her life forever.
I really, really enjoyed this book. The romance truly did it for me. New York City is always an awesome setting for a romance and the heroine, Melanie’s girl gang is truly Squad Goals. As much as I’d love to sit and type a regular review, I decided to share what I took away from the book.
I’ve been married now since 2013 and before meeting my husband I had never put myself out on any dating sites, so I love that we are seeing a slight rise in romance novels that include them. I feel like an outsider looking in and with books like How To Hack A Heartbreak, I feel like I get an honest look at what the online dating scene is like.
My first takeaway is that people have different expectations when they are putting themselves out onto these sites. We get a good insight into this in chapter 2 when Melanie and her friends are chatting about the reasons they’ve all used the site Fluttr, and shared their experiences.
“The problem,” Whit said, “is that you’re going about it all wrong. Fluttr isn’t the place to go looking for a happily-ever-after.”
Whitney, one of Mel’s close friends, makes a really good point. Whit uses the sites for hook-ups. For fun. She doesn’t use them to meet someone to take seriously. Now, I have seen in real life, some success stories, but as we see as the book continues on, you kind of have to go into it with your expectations a little low. Mel early into the book is completely stood up by one guy and receives unsolicited penis picks from another. Which poses the question of, is the smart thing to do, to go into it, just for fun?
“I’m not even looking for a happily-ever-after,” I said, “I’d be satisfied with a happy-for-now. To meet a guy who actually took the time to get to know me and told me the truth and treated me with respect.”
“Well, you’re not gonna find that on Fluttr.”
My second takeaway was learning about the data, and how all kinds of websites are in the business of data collection. There is a scene where Melanie goes off to Silicon Valley to meet with a team who wants to purchase the site she created, Jerk Alert. She arrives thinking she was going to receive a job offer and under the impression that the Fluttr creators, created the site with the intentions of helping people.
“We’re not in the business of relationships here. We’re in the business of data collection. Do you know how many people use our app every month? Twelve million. Every day, we average over a billion swipes worldwide. That’s an incredible amount of information. Our databases are overflowing with locations, interests, behaviors, messages. That data is powerful and valuable. That’s what matters.”
This isn’t just a plot line the author wrote into the book. Feel free to read this article here and see for yourself.
My third takeaway is that we need to spend less time online and more time actually interacting with people. I, myself am so guilty of this. I use the excuse that I’m at work all day talking to people..so I come home and fall immediately down the internet rabbit hole. How unfair this is to my kids? I get so zombied out that I don’t notice the little moments that pass me by forever with them sometimes. Obviously Mel uses her #GetOffTheInternet with the intention of helping people realize they may have passed the love of their life today while walking down the street, or on the subway but never would’ve noticed because they had their nose stuck in their phone. I loved it. Such a reminder to be mindful and actually be in the moment.
How To Hack A Heartbreak was such a fun read. I can’t recommend it enough. If you’ve read it and want to chat about it, hit me up! I’d love to discuss it with you.
Until next time, take care of yourselves. We will chat again soon.