Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Unbreak My Heart

Author: Melissa C. Walker
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genre(s): YA Contemporary
Pages: 232
*Stand alone*
Spoilers are hidden! Highlight the page to see them:) 

Summary (Goodreads):
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.

Hey guys!  Sorry I’ve been lagging on the posts again!  I’ve been working hard on my Nanowrimo novel- I’m still a few thousand words behind :( - but I’m getting there! Writeordie.com is super helpful xD. 

In addition to Nanowrimo, this book took me an abnormal time to read because it was so dull.   I was not emotionally involved in it at ALL.

What made the book so dull? Good question.

It wasn’t because this was supposed to one of those “slow stories” (I actually don’t mind slow stories; they’re nice medicine after an intense fantasy book or for a book hangover ;-) ).  It mainly had to do with how little substance there was to this book.  I kept waiting for something to happen or at least a buildup to Clem’s closure with herself, but nothing. ( She did get closure at the end, but it was very abrupt and brushed over.)  I wanted more, and I wanted more of a road to that closure.  There was no build-up. She suddenly decided she’d reached her breaking point, and that was it, after an entire 200-something pages of crying and sulking. To be honest, those flashbacks to her soph. year were the most interesting things about this book- and that’s not saying much.  They were only interesting because there were actually stuff going on.  (A boat seemed like a cool setting, but there was nothing to do on it, and it showed in what Clem and her family did: nothing.  But even if there was nothing happening, the author could have made up for it by describing the scenery or showing the family having beautiful conversations with each other, but that didn’t happen.  I guess it came from Clem being too depressed to notice anything and not wanting anything to do with her family.  That made for a real dull story. )  I suspected the purpose of the flashbacks was to show us the “dynamic and extremely close relationship” between Clem and Amanda, but there was no chemistry. That was THE reason why I was so disconnected from the book: I didn’t care about these characters.  They were all very superficial and not very complex (more on that later).

As with James and Clem, it's the same verdict: no chemistry. Their interactions were boring (all they did was talk and go out on the boat; they didn’t even talk about interesting or deep things), and I really didn’t see what the point was in including James.  He failed as a love interest, so I guess he was supposed to have helped Clem come to closure with herself, but I didn’t see it.  I mean, yes, he told her about his mom, and he was ALWAYS happy (which was actually kinda cute, but even his overwhelming optimism did nothing for the story-but more on that later), but in the end, that was all there was to it.  They really didn’t do anything together except maybe talk, and when they did talk, their conversations were bland and awkward. 

I didn’t hate Clem, but I REALLY didn’t like her because she was so boring.  All she did was sulk and yell at her sweet little sister, who was probably the only redeemable thing about this book. (Her sister was ADORABLE. She was like a mini adult, and her patience and love for Clem was truly amazing.)  Clem had potential to be a snarky/funny teenager, even midst her sulking.  However, she just didn’t cut it- mainly because her snarkiness wasn’t funny but plain old mean.  (She has a legit reason for being so boring/mean/depressed, but there’s no excuse for an absolute lack of personality.)    

If there was one thing I liked about this book (besides her little sister) was how Clem knew that even just flirting and pushing the boundaries between her and Ethan, as well as not doing anything to prevent this from going further, were just as bad as cheating.  I liked how she didn’t just explain it all away by saying they didn’t do anything (physically); she knew what she did was wrong, and she owned up to it.   I also appreciated the emphasis on how everyone makes mistakes, but you learn from them, and life goes on.  What did kind of bother me was the relationship between George and (I almost said Martha! xD)  Ruth.  Okay, fine, in the beginning it was all sweet and dandy, and I was warming up to them.  I still think they were pretty nice people, but what they did (it was implied Ruth stole George away from his first wife)  and how the book showed that it was okay because they were so happily in love really bothered me.  What they did was wrong, and instead of focusing on that, I felt like their actions were covered up with this idea of their passionate love, and because of this love, it was all okay.  (Fine, it was only implied and not for certain. So it isn’t completely fair of me to make this judgment, but I’m still putting it out there.)

James’s unfailing optimism might have been another redeeming point in this book, but that was all there was to him.  He was just really, really, happy.  None of these characters were deep or complex.  We saw different sides of people, but it was all superficial.  They act up every once in a while, and we’re suppose to see that as depth to their character. 

Not buying it.

Final thoughts?  It had potential, but it was too dull for my tastes.

Thanks for reading!

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 

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