Title:Unbreak My Heart

Author:Melissa C. Walker

Published: May 22, 2012

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Pages: 240

From the publisher: Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life. Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now. Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart? Told in alternating chapters that chronicle the year that broke Clem’s heart and the summer that healed it, Unbreak My Heart is a wonderful dual love story that fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Susane Colasanti will flock to.

**note** This copy was provided by NetGalley, but did not influence this review in any way.

  • I’m tucking Unbreak My Heart away on my third shelf.

Going into this book, I was looking for something a little lighter to read. Even though it deals with Clem’s broken heart, the synopsis seem to foretell of a summer full of romance and healing. It appeared right up my alley. Plus, look at that cover. It’s so pretty.

The Low-Down: From the cover slip, you get the gist of this story. For most of Clementine’s life, she and Amanda had been the best of friends. Then, Ethan comes into the picture and Amanda quickly lays claim to him, and naturally, he falls into her circle of friends effortlessly. Outside of the band of friends and their group activities, Ethan and Clementine share a class and bond over common interests. With an approving nudge from Amanda, who wants them to be closer and get along, Ethan and Clem start spending more and more time together. Somewhere along the way, they go from balancing precariously on the tightrope their walking to tripping over some unnamed no-no zone. Secrets are revealed, friendships are ruined, hearts are broken, and this is how Clementine ends up on a sailboat with her parents and little sister for the summer.

On The Loop, the route the family sails on the Mississippi River, Clem and her family come across James and his dad. They run into each other off and on along the river and at several different ports. He helps her see who she is through his art and she helps him by lending an ear.  From here, their relationship blossoms and Clementine learns to let go of her self-hatred and adjust to how life is going to have to be now.

Author Ego-booster: I loved the family aspect of this story. In most young adult books lately, it seems the parents are hardly ever present, thus making it easier for teenage debauchery to ensue. That’s not at all the case in this story. Actually, the parents are very much involved in Clementine’s life and are so supportive of her, even if she does act like a bit of a brat for the first half of the book. They’re tolerable of her mood swings, and more than anything, just want to help her heal. Then there’s Livy, the little sister, and quite possibly my favorite character of the whole novel. She’s adorable and honest, and provided most of the comedic relief to balance out Clem’s depressive mood.

Another strong aspect of the story that I found charming was the natural progression of James and Clementine’s relationship. There was no firework, stars aligning insta-love happening in this story. If fact, Clem wanted absolutely nothing to do with James in the beginning. Yet slowly, she enjoyed his presence and friendship, and then there was more. It grew over time, seeming more genuine and real, and evolving like most relationships do.

I also felt like the author dealt with real life issues and the emotions that come with them exceptionally well. All the characters, even the secondary ones, exhibit some type of flaw that makes the whole story feel more plausible. It deals with cheating, cheaters, and those that are hurt by it from every possible angle and portrays the appropriate emotion for each situation- guilt, betrayal, anger, and acceptance.

Drawbacks: I wanted to like this so much more than I actually did, but I can’t quite put my finger on where exactly this story fell through for me. The closest answer I can come up with is the “atmosphere” of the story was absent for me. For as much as I was able to relate to the emotions of the characters, I wasn’t really able to be in the moment with them because I didn’t feel like I was there at all. I wanted to sense the warmth of the sun beating down on me, hear the waves and the chatter of people, taste the air thick with the scent of the river, but I never got any of those things. This is what I think the story fell flat for me the most. I craved that connection to her surroundings.

I was also disappointed with the lack of a true resolution between Clementine and Amanda and Clementine and Ethan at the end. It seemed that this whole story was a buildup up to this huge scandal and falling out, but it never came. In fact, when the truth did come to light about what actually happened between Clem and Ethan, I was in the mindset of “We lived through all of Clementine’s guilt and depression and inner turmoil for that? Seriously?” So then I was expecting Amanda to see it for what it truly was and for both of the girls to apologize, but it never occurred. Whether they’d be able to salvage their friendship or not was left up in the air, and to be such an integral part to this story (Or at least it was in my opinion.), it seemed unfair for the reader to not have any kind of closure.

Special Notes: This book doesn’t come out until Tuesday, May 22nd.

Verdict: All in all, I thought this was a decent book. Had I wished I loved it more, like I had anticipated I would? Absolutely.  Does that in any way mean I feel like I wasted my time by reading it? Not in the slightest. It was a quick and enjoyable read, just not as good as I was expecting. But hey, I’m a bit of a tough cookie and my expectations are set high. Not many can reach or exceed them, so a solid three-star rating is doing pretty well by my standards.

Full of giggles, flails, snark and Southern endearments. Avid Reader. Lover of swoony boys, kickass heroines, yummy kissing scenes, and pretty prose.

I like to draw hearts in the sky (eternal optimist) and wish on stars (forever dreamer). Documentaries, sweet tea, sleep, and brightly colored knee-socks are a few of my favorite things. ♥

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