Author: Melissa C. Walker
Published: May 22, 2012 (Bloomsbury USA Children's)
Rating: Lunch Break Read
Format: Hardcover, borrowed from the library
Summary: 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.I went into Unbreak My Heart with fairly high hopes, because several people I trust had loved it. I quite enjoyed it overall; it was a good summer read with a great message. I really wish I could have been floating along on my own boat under the sun while reading it, but alas, I was wrapped up in a blanket in the basement. It was a nice escape read, though.
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?
I did have one serious issue with the book that kept me from the massive amounts of love I would have had for it otherwise, and that was Clem. Her behavior was so annoying! Yes, she had a lot of crap going on, and I felt bad for her situation. But seriously. This chick took whining to a whole new level, and her tantrum throwing abilities could rival a 3-year-old's. I'm sorry, but if I had acted that selfish and bratty when I was 16, my parents would have ensured that there were consequences to that behavior. I appreciate that it added some realism in that she wasn't unrealistically mature about the situation. But I really could not fully empathize with a character who would actually act like that. Thankfully, part of the story was about growing as a person, and Clem did so. She became more likable as the story went on and she learned to deal with things.
If there could be an element to help balance out this negativity, Unbreak My Heart had it...in the form of James. James, of the red hair and freckles and smiles and incredible wonderfulness. I LOVED him. So much. He was so sweet and fun, yet at the same time, he wasn't shallow or lame. He was so earnest and endearing. One of my favorite YA boys I had read in a long time.
I also really liked Clem's family, which was a good thing, since she was stuck on a boat with them. Olive, her little sister, was so darling! She was one of those 10-going-on-40 girls, with her glasses and ways of being old beyond her years. Yet she was still a young girl and a total little sister. I liked Clem's mom with her hilarious relying on the cookbook A Man, a Can, and a Plan (which is a legitimate book, actually, much to my surprise).
Although I didn't love Unbreak My Heart as much as some other people did, I really liked it a lot! The "boat people" and all-around atmosphere was one of my favorite elements, original and seemingly authentic. There was a good point to the story. I am still harboring incredible amounts of love for James. I also really enjoyed how it was told in alternating chapters of past/present. All-in-all, I am definitely glad I read Unbreak My Heart.
Still, crazy people can be fun – especially during a summer when the sane ones aren’t really speaking to you.
I didn't realize that, sometimes, even if a situation is getting out of control, it happens slowly, in these really small moments. And even if what’s happening is wrong, it can feel like it's right.
I cannot include enough adjectives to get this feeling down. It involves fireworks, shooting stars, and sparklers on the dock, and it doesn't even feel like an exaggeration.