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- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
- Publication date: 5/22/2012
- Pages: 240
- Source: eARC from NetGalley/Bloomsbury for review
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.
Still being relatively new to reading contemporary novels, I wasn't sure what I was expecting out of this. I love the cover and the synopsis sounded wonderful. I was imagining this great budding love while also uncovering what happened to make Clementine's heart break, and we did get that, but not in the way I was expecting. I was thinking that Clem was happy to get away, when realistically she wasn't. She didn't want to be on the boat for the summer, she didn't really want to get to know James, and she is very moody and depressed. I get it, I do, but I couldn't help but feel a bit annoyed at times. I did like this book, I just didn't like it as much as I wanted to.
Clementine is a teenage girl with a broken heart. Then comes summer after her horrible year at school and she has to be stuck on a boat with her family for the summer. *gasp* The horror of it. She is mopey, moody and sometimes outright mean. She is hurt and she feels like she needs to punish herself for what happened. She wants to wallow in her self pity and apparently try to make everyone else miserable in the process. Okay, so maybe she doesn't want to make them unhappy, but seriously, she is on a boat with them and it's pretty obvious her foul mood isn't going to work for everyone else. We get to learn about what happened and how it happened. Every other chapter goes back to the school year and walks us through it. I really enjoyed the then/now thing. I did end up liking Clem by the end of the book, but most of it I just didn't.
The other characters didn't really do much for me either to be honest. I did like James though and Clem's little sister Livy. I had a hard time really trying to like her former BFF Amanda even thought in the "flashbacks" she is still her best friend. She just comes across as someone who thinks they are better than everyone else and that everyone should like her and do what she wants. Maybe that's not the way she is supposed to be, but that was how she seemed to me. James is really sweet and has a very happy friendly personality. There is a lot more to him though and I really liked uncovering what is hidden underneath all of the happy go lucky personality. Livy is mature for her age and she really adds to the story. I think that sometimes the little girl is a lot smarter than even the adults. She has her head in the right place.
I think my hardest thing with this book is the over dramatic unbelievable aspect of it. That every single person in school would just ignore, talk about, or be mean to someone. I get how popularity works, but seriously, not EVERYONE will turn on someone. I find that a lot of books do that, and maybe it's not really like that. I mean we are in the mind of the person who feels like they have no one, so it could just be that they feel that isolated and it's not really how everyone is. I don't know. Does that make sense? Lol! So anyways, I just needed to point that out.
James and Clem do finally start hanging out since both of their sailing ventures are the same route. It's pretty sweet, and I am SO glad that it's not an insta-love thing. They really do get to know each other. Clem has been hiding what really happened. She feels like she deserves to be hated and alone, but at the same time, she doesn't want her family to know exactly because she feels like it's the most horrible thing in the world, like she's a monster. I love how her and James start to trust each other and tell each other personal things about their lives. It's not all rainbows and butterflies though. It's hard finding out about the ghosts that haunt others pasts. Their families also play a big part in everything which is not very common in YA books. I was happy that they were included.
I really did like this book. I wish I had liked it more though. I think it was a good story. Clem so broken and very obvious, and then James who is always happy and seems like he doesn't have a care in the world, but finding out that his issues are much worse than Clem's. It really puts things in perspective for her. I think I really just had a hard time with the characters in general. By the end I did like them more, but trying to like them for the first half of the book was difficult. I didn't have that connection with them which is a big thing for me when reading a book. If I don't feel attached to the characters, or at least like them, it's hard for the story to really have the intended impact on me. I think that for die hard contemporary lovers this book is probably a fantastic read. I really enjoyed it, but I didn't love it. 3 out of 5 stars.