How to Hack a Heartbreak is a fun, feel-good, kickass girl power, romantic comedy. It stars Mel Strickland, a help desk tech at start-up incubator Hatch, where all the entitled techie dudebros make her work life a living hell. Her romantic life isn’t much better, filled with unsolicited dick pics and online dating misadventures that many single women today will find all too relatable.
Enter JerkAlert, an app Mel designs as a fun act of self-care one evening that goes viral overnight, thanks mostly to Mel’s PR maven BFF Whitney. A single woman’s answer to dating app Fluttr, JerkAlert allows women to post about harassers and abusers in the online dating sphere.
Enter as well Alex, the only non-dudebro at Hatch who is also handsome and sweet and very much attracted to Mel. She’s falling for him as well, but also cautious — after her father’s infidelity and her own string of dating disasters, she fears Alex is too good to be true, and often jumps to worst case scenario conclusions when they’re together.
The romance between Mel and Alex is sweet, and Alex is a Prince Charming type hero straight out of a heartwarming romance, but this part of the plot almost took a backseat to the subplot about Mel’s career. She is clearly underemployed at Hatch, and the success of JerkAlert pushes her to realize that she’s worth so much more professionally than her current role and work environment lead her to believe. The environment at Hatch is horribly sexist yet also sadly realistic, and I can imagine Mel’s story resonating with a lot of women in tech.
Most of all, I love how much of a focus there was on Mel’s friendships with other women. All of her BFFs, and even her roommate, are talented professionals in various fields, and when they all banded together to help Mel achieve a triumphant victory, I felt like cheering out loud. It was like the Avengers of career women, and so incredibly heartwarming, especially in contrast to the dudebro toxicity of Hatch. Hell yeah to girl power and to the power of female friendships!
Overall, How to Hack a Heartbreak is an empowering and immensely satisfying read. It’s pure hell to the yeah girl power energy, filled with strong women and strong female friendships, and all wrapped up in a fun and lighthearted women’s fiction romantic comedy. It’s Sex and the City for the #MeToo generation, for women in tech and women looking for change in the online dating world. And above all, it’s a helluva fun read. I highly recommend it.
Thank you to Harper Collins Canada for an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review.