Instructions for a Broken Heart Review

Monday, April 18, 2011

Title: Instructions for a Broken Heart
Author: Kim Culbertson
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Published: May 1, 2011
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher

Three days before her drama club's trip to Italy, Jessa Gardner discovers her boyfriend in the costume barn with another girl. Jessa is left with a care package from her best friend titled "Top Twenty Reasons He's a Slimy Jerk Bastard," instructing her to do one un-Jessa-like thing each day of the trip.

At turns hilarious and heartwrenching, Instructions for a Broken Heart paints a magical Italy in which Jessa learns she must figure out life-and romance-for herself.
Jessa is riding high before her class trip to Italy. She's got an amazing boyfriend, great friends and the opportunity of lifetime to explore a gorgeous historic city coming up. So, when Jessa finds her boyfriend in a less than appealing situation, she's crushed. It seems as though everything that could go wrong is doing so, and she's certain her trip is ruined. Jessa didn't know just how great her friends were until now though. Giving her an excuse and a reason to step outside of her comfort zone, Jessa has the chance to be someone new in Italy, and moreso, she has the chance to find herself again.

While contemporary was never my favourite thing before, truly I'm finding a wonderful and eclectic mix of books to satiate my contemporary appetite now. Instructions for a Broken Heart doesn't have the most original of premises - cheating guy, good best friend, chance to find oneself etc. - but author Kim Culbertson has delicately balanced a strong setting, a great cast of characters and a coming-of-age story that anyone can relate to. Laugh out loud funny, tender and sweet, Instructions for a Broken Heart is one of those books that makes me feel like the character might just be me or my best friend.

The strongest part of Instructions for a Broken Heart was the main character, Jessa, in my humble opinion. It is so easy to draw a character that becomes weak and spineless in her situation, but Jessa's personality was perfectly played. She hesitates, she's flawed and she has self-doubt, but it's not in the crippling "woe is me" sense of the word. Jessa wants to find happiness and she wants to have a great time in Italy. The way the list gives her a chance to step outside herself, introduce a cast of fantastic secondary characters and show us a world of adventure was a skill in and of itself, making me enjoy and relate to Instructions for a Broken Heart that much more.

All in all, Instructions for a Broken Heart was a sweet, heartfelt and extremely approachable book. It exceeded my expectations, which were already high. I give it a strong 4.5 out of 5, and I'd recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy contemporary fiction.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

25 comments:

  1. So glad to see you enjoyed this one as I also received this for review and will be reading it next month. Looking forward to it even more now. :D

    ~Briana

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  2. YAY! I am so glad this is good. I am super excited for it's release. Great review :)

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  3. Eep! you loved it! i think i am going to love this one for sure.

    awesome review ~ i love that your fave part was the main character :D

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  4. Great review! I have been looking forward for this book. Thanks for the review!

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  5. While I did enjoy this one, I have to say I like Songs for a Teenage Nomad better. Enjoyed reading your thoughts.

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  6. Isn't it nice when genres pleasantly surprise you? Jessa sounds like a great character - like Anna of Anna and the French Kiss, she doesn't just mope around.
    Hope you're having a great time in South Africa and look forward to having you back in the blogging world full time when vacation is over.

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  7. I just love the cover of this book and again it's not one of genres I love to read, but I'm willing to give it a try. ;)

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  8. Glad that you're starting to enjoy contemporaty books! It's always nice to be able to change genres. Nice review!

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  9. This one sounds great, I love strong female characters who are flawed but also so relatable that they are as real as friend you have in real life. And it's set in Italy - huge bonus. Can't wait to read this one, fantastic review Melissa!

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  10. I just LOVE that cover! But I thought this one sounded good and was just waiting to hear your thoughts. I'm so glad it lived up to expectations! I now know I must be sure to pick this one up in the future!

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  11. Awe. I will definitely be adding this one to my contemp reading list. I'd love to meet a character like Jessa. She definitely sounds approachable and charming.

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  12. I love the sound of this one - and the Italian setting! It's definitely on my YA contemp reading list!

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  13. I really enjoyed her other book so I plan to read this one. I sure hope I like it as much as you did :)

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  14. Whenever you really enjoy or love a contemporary book, I know I'll enjoy it. Instructions for a Broken Heart probably would have escaped my radar, but thanks to you I've added it to my wishlist and hope to read it sometime soon. As always, great review :)

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  15. I know what you mean about contemporary fiction becoming a favorite. I've began to look for the genre more and more and it's nice that there are some really good ones out there. It used to be that they could never hit quite over a 3 out of 5 on the Richter scale, but now, they are getting higher and higher in my opinion. This one sounds really really good, thanks for a great review!

    Jen
    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

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  16. I LOVED her other book -- Songs For A Teenage Nomad -- so I'm so excited to read this one!!

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  17. I am SO excited for this book! I can't wait for it and your review has got me more pumped, if possible haha.

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  18. I ma really looking forward to reading this book. I love that's it is set in Italy.Wonderful review!

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  19. I have been really into contemps lately. This sounds like something I would LOVE!

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  20. I featured this one on a WoW since I love contemps so I'm super excited that the book is actually good. Great review, Melissa!

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  21. Ooooh! I want to read this one so bad! I really enjoyed Songs of a Teenage Nomad, and got excited when I heard about this one! Loved the review!

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  22. What an exccellent, well written review. Thanks.

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  23. Hi Melissa! Just wanted to stop by and say hi! Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

    Kristin@ My Bookish Ways

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  24. Excellent review Melissa! I am liking contemporary fiction too lately. I go through phases...

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