Title: Unbreak My Heart
Author: Melissa Walker
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Release date: May 22nd 2012
Genre: Contemporary YA; romance
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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?My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I was so excited for this book - I love the cover, and the premise sounded unique and interesting. I was a little worried I wouldn't be able to relate to Clem because of the whole cheating-thing - a girl putting a guy first and not thinking of her friend just makes me so mad - but I thought I'd love the story of how she moves on, and the romance, too. I did like this book, but it turned out to be the other way around - I liked reading about how Clem fell for Ethan, but had some problems with this summer's romance storyline.
Even though I thought that aspect would bother me, I really liked reading about what happened before this summer, how Clem tried to resist but found herself falling for her best friend's boyfriend. It feels wrong to say this, but I actually really liked Clem and Ethan together - they have great chemistry, and their nerdy conversations are hilarious and awesome. I especially liked their talking about music - introduced me to some great songs! I don't approve of what they did or anything like that - I felt bad for Amanda, and Ethan is an ass for cheating, but, I don't know, I just thought Clem and Ethan were really cute together, and I liked reading about how their relationship develops. I liked reading about Clem and Amanda's friendship, too - I really liked all the flashbacks, maybe even more than the actual story.
That's not to say I didn't like the actual story, the one that takes place this summer. I liked reading about the sailing - makes me wish it was summer and I could go sailing, too. How living on a boat affects the family dynamics is interesting to read about, too. Olive, Clem's little sister, is adorable. The family dynamics are really well-done, and Clem's issues with her family are easy to relate to, at least for me.
Surprisingly, the only storyline I didn't love was the romance. I can't put my finger on it; I don't really know why I didn't like it all that much. James is a good character, sweet and quirky with some issues of his own. But... I don't know, it just bothered me a little how much of Clem's character growth focuses on her relationship with James. Clem's character growth is great, and I loved reading about her coming to terms with what she did. Sure, James is a part in helping her deal with all of it, but so is the family life and just Clem as a person. I would have liked the focus to be more on Clem's inner strength and less on how important the romance was for her development. Something about the picture of Clem only being able to fix herself with the help of another guy just bothers me. Nevertheless, I did like Clem and James together - I just wish the story hadn't focused on their relationship as much.
Even though the romance and what role it plays in Clementine's character growth didn't sit right with me, I really liked Unbreak My Heart. With an easy to relate to main character, great family dynamics and a unique setting, Unbreak My Heart is the story of finding the strength to forgive yourself. It's a sweet book that I enjoyed reading.
Do you have any recommendations of books about traveling? Maybe even ones with unqiue settings like this one?