Unbreak My Heart
by Melissa Walker
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.
I loved the cover of Unbreak My Heart when I first saw it, but sometimes books fall through the cracks for me because there are SO MANY SUMMER books to choose from. I decided to request it when I started seeing all the positive reviews. I have to agree with all those bloggers. This is a really great book, and I’m sad that I didn’t get to it sooner. I mean, I pretty much waited as long as I could to read it.
Leah is such a dynamic character. I loved the way she developed. She was so sad at the beginning and those parts were difficult to read. The moment James came along, I knew he’d be a huge part of cheering her up. Seriously, there is no way you could stay unhappy around James. I love boys like him in books. The funny, outgoing, perpetually happy boys that turn everything into sunshine. They’re just what I need after reading so many books full of broody alpha-males. What really took my breath away was that every single character is complex and well-developed. It wasn’t just Leah and James shining above barely-there supporting characters. It was Leah, James, Olive, their parents, and even Ethan and Amanda. I got a sense that I really knew who everyone was. Even if they made bad decisions or disappointed me in some way, I couldn’t hate them for it. There was just more to them than that. That’s what won me over completely.
Unbreak My Heart definitely focuses more on character growth than a solid plot. There is a plot, but it’s set up in interchanging chapters of past and present. Melissa Walker slowly reveals what happened to make Leah’s friends abandon her. She slowly reveals that even the happiest of people have problems to deal with. It’s really about revealing the problems and showing how they can change us for the better. I really enjoyed Walker’s style of storytelling and I’m definitely putting anything else she’s written on my TBR.
Unbreak My Heart is both heartbreaking and hopeful. Melissa Walker exhibits some beautiful character writing. I highly recommend this one to lovers of contemporary YA.
“The bananas…” I slow down my walk to a normal stroll.
“Yeah,” he says. “There were a ton in my cart the other day, and I didn’t want you to get the wrong idea.”
For some reason that was hilarious to me.
“I know all about the rules. There are times when life gets lived outside the rules, though.”
Content: Mild profanity
I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
Melissa Walker has worked as ELLEgirl Features Editor and Seventeen Prom Editor. She is the author of Small Town Sinners, the Violet on the Runway series, and Lovestruck Summer. Melissa manages the daily e-newsletter, iheartdaily.com and handles blogging for readergirlz.com. [Bloomsbury]