Friday, May 25, 2012
Author: Melissa Walker
Genre: YA, contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's, 2012
Read for: Review
Clementine has lost her best friend and her crush in one stupid move (because they were dating each other). Now she is being shunned (he, of course, has been accepted back into everyone's good graces). So Clem isn't really that disappointed to be leaving for the summer with her family on a sailing trip, away from the internet, away from any remnant of a social life. She spends most of her time moping in her room, listening to music, despite her family's well-intended attempts to cheer her up. However, things start to look up when she gets to know James, a smiley redhead who happens to be sailing along the same route.
Honestly, I loved Unbreak My Heart. Obviously I was expecting to like it, or I wouldn't have requested it on NetGalley, but I was pleasantly surprised at just how good it was. I was expecting something fluffy and silly, and while it was a light read, Unbreak My Heart tackled some issues and the main character, Clementine, displayed some real personal growth. However, I'm getting ahead of myself.
I think my favorite thing about Unbreak My Heart was the setting. I've never been in a sailboat, but I love the ocean and can't imagine a better way to spend the summer, looking out at the water and reading. This is honestly the perfect book for summer, although if you are landlocked like I am, you might suffer some serious envy. I have now decided that at some point in my life, I need to go on a sailing trip.
I also loved the main character, Clementine. Other reviewers have mentioned that they struggled with this book initially because Clementine had cheated with her best friend's boyfriend. I wasn't as perturbed, not because I don't take issue with cheating, but because Clem honestly seemed to really not be at fault. I'll let you read the book for the full situation -- just let it suffice me to say that I thought Clem was a good person, and I was impressed by the growth she experienced throughout the book. At times she could be a little bratty as she pushed away her family and friends and tried to sulk, but she really grew to understand what was important as the summer progressed.
I also liked James. He isn't really the typical love interest in a YA book -- instead of being a brooding, poetic type he is outgoing, loves hanging out with Clem's little sister, and never stops smiling. He isn't perfect by any means, and has some issues he is dealing with beneath his cheery exterior, but I really appreciated the departure from the usual YA love interest.
I also loved Clem's family. I think a happy, functioning family is rare in YA literature, and while I have no problem with reading about a family that is going through difficulties, it is also nice to see a happy family portrayed in literature. Clem's family works hard to make sure she is happy and to cheer her up. They are available to her, willing to listen when she is upset and offer real, beneficial advice to her. I especially loved Clem's sweet little sister, who wants nothing more than to make her sister happy (although occasionally she gets in the way of a romantic rendezvous).
Unbreak My Heart is an enjoyable, quick read, perfect for the summer, but don't expect a fluffy book. While the subject matter is not dark, important and relevant issues are discussed that give this summer read more depth and relevance.