Author: Katie Finn (Twitter)
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publish Date: May 13, 2014
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Gemma just got dumped and is devastated. She finds herself back in the Hamptons for the summer—which puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friend that she wronged five years earlier. Do people hold grudges that long?When a small case of mistaken identity causes everyone, including Hallie and her dreamy brother Josh, to think she’s someone else, Gemma decides to go along with it.Gemma's plan is working (she's finding it hard to resist Josh), but she's finding herself in embarrassing situations (how could a bathing suit fall apart like that!?). Is it coincidence or is someone trying to expose her true identity? And how will Josh react if he finds out who she is?
Lately I've felt myself craving those fun, flirty and escapist summertime reads of my youth, so when I first heart of Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend, you'd better believe it fill the bill in its entirety. Chock full of mistakes, errors in judgment, teenage drama, young love, mixed identities and a whole assortment of wayward problems, it's the type of novel that transcends your typical summertime story. With twists and turns abounding, Katie Finn delivers a novel that's far more than the cover implies - and gets you invested from the start.
I'll admit that I thought this book was going to be a simple cakewalk tale of teenage love changing and evolving, but it turned out to be far more than I'd anticipated. Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend gave me all the bits of fluff that I wanted, while also providing me with a transformative type of tale in which I was able to actually journey with Gemma, our protagonist, as she spends her summer trying to change past wrongdoings. Gemma was a bit of a double-edged sword for me though. She wasn't the most intelligent character, and she often read as shallow and petty. She was blind to much of the obvious, and it made my first impression of her a bit sour.
That said, Gemma slowly but surely begins to face the music and understand the realities of life, as well as the past errors of her ways, which was fun to watch. Once at the Hamptons, we learn exactly how Gemma used to treat her past best friend, Hallie, as well as why she ended their friendship with juvenile cruelty. Gemma, though a nice (and fairly oblivious person), was a lot meaner in her youth, and learning why and how she changed definitely helped me to forge a stronger opinion of both her character and her actions.
The twists and turns within Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend were not all that earth-shattering - broken bathing suits, babysitting nightmares, cases of food poisoning and more, but they worked for a lighter summertime tale. Gemma, though hiding her true identity from Hallie as Sophie, needed these events to uncover the truth about Hallie, the truth about her past and reconcile with all the changes in her life. Adding a hint of romance with Josh, who I'll readily confess was the highlight of the story for me, it's the type of book that you can read in one sitting. Ms. Finn has a fun, engaging voice and a writing style that will have you whipping through the pages in no time.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend. Though not the deepest of stories, I found it quite entertaining, and I was surprised to see that it's the first book in a series (and yes, there's a worthy cliffhanger here, kids). I give it a 4 out of 5, and I recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy contemporary fiction and summer stories.
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.