Published: May 22, 2012
240 pages, hardcover
goodreads 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. 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 don't mean this as an insult, but I was not expecting Unbreak My Heart to be as good as it was. I started reading it (after singing my heartfelt rendition of Toni Braxton's song into my fist microphone, of course) with the expectation that this would be fluff.
Don't get me wrong, there were many fluffy aspects (which I loved, mind you!) but for the majority of the book, I had a knot in my stomach. Because we all know what it's like to do stupid crap. And we all know what it feels like to have all your friends hate you because of it. At 16, your life is ruined. So Clementine goes on a boat with her family to get away from it. Unfortunately, she doesn't escape it.
Even though she did a bad thing, it's blatantly obvious she feels horrid and alone and wishes she could make up for it. The desperation and remorse make this bad, bad Clem one that you can love and understand. And FAMILY. This girl has a functional family that loves and cares about her. THREE CHEERS, because this is so, so rare in YA books. And Clem has an amazing family but is still all stabby and heinous over her stupid mistake. Luckily there is a cute and nice boy that she meets and makes the summer ten times better for all parties involved.
There are real issues in this book: betrayal, divorce, loneliness, teen angst, lifelong friendships ending (made only more painful by the flashbacks), and forgiving oneself. Though the cover boasts summer love and fun vacations, the title is more accurate at displaying what Unbreak My Heart is REALLY about. There are a lot of broken hearts in this book, yet it is one of my favorite contemps of 2012 so far.
Though there are struggles, this is ultimately a feel-good book. If you're in a slump, this will surely drag you out.