So, I have now had one person read through the entire book. It's the aforementioned RR and she had some amusing theories about Alex being undead, Julie being an enemy and such. And some very good suggestions.
With respect, there's one thing that I very much disagree with her on. She loved Alex as a villain and favorably compared him to Dolores Umbridge. If you know me in real life or at least am familiar with my Palpatine and Voldemort fetishes, you know a little bit about why that makes me cock my head to the side and grimace a little.
If you're not so familiar with that, I am a villain junkie. It's sometimes exasperating to my friends who like the nice boys. But give me Voldemort, Palpatine, Vader, Bellatrix Lestrange, etc. any day. They are so wonderfully complex. I aspire to have someone like that in my books.
So, where does Alex stand as a villain, really? I find it hard to believe that a lying boyfriend is comparable to the sociopathic cotton candy demon from the Ministry of Magic. Not that I'm unflattered by the comparison, but Alex is intentionally small potatoes. Yes, he breaks the main character's heart and later on in the book, he does something much more villainous than that, but while this is the generation of Gossip Girl, this is also the generation of Harry Potter and Twilight. The books that I am going to be writing about these characters will have relationship issues included in them, but pinning the ex as a great villain would be sort of like saying that Cho Chang outranks Voldemort because she dumped Harry in book 5. It just doesn't make as much sense.
Like I said, he's intentionally small potatoes. I'm reminded of a Buffy episode in which Angel has just announced that he's leaving town after graduation. Buffy and Willow are talking about this major development and the thing that makes Buffy cry is not that heartache of being abandoned, but the fact that she's a girl who's just trying not to die. It also reminds me of a scene in Harry Potter 7, where "good old JK" comments that Harry, Ron and Hermione are feeling like three teenagers whose only accomplishment is that they haven't yet been killed.
So, I'm glad that the main relationship struck a chord. I wanted people to feel strongly about Alex and Ella and their relationship. I just want to warn my friend that there are much bigger fish to fry!