Monday, 9 July 2012
Review: Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Released: May 22nd, 2012
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?
Melissa Walker writes great, underrated YA books, and Unbreak My Heart is no exception. I've been a fan of hers since I read Lovestruck Summer a few years ago, and have since looked forward to every new book as if it was a Sarah Dessen title. Her writing is summery and addictive, and before long I end up lost in her words.
Unbreak My Heart is the perfect book for summer, especially because of its scenic boat setting and sunny backdrop. It's about first loves and first losses, friendship, family and learning to look to the future. Basically everything you could want from a quality YA novel!
Clementine (Clem) is the main focus of this story, as she sets out for a summer at sea with her parents and sister Olive, who just happens to be one of the coolest siblings ever to grace a page. I loved her! Clem is getting to grips with something that happened during her recent sophomore year, something that has affected her closest friendship and made her into the talk of the town.
Melissa Walker tells both sides of Clem's story - the past school year and the present summer - with both narratives running parallel to each other. This gives a thorough insight into Clem's life and really makes you feel for her. Everyone makes mistakes, especially when they're young, but best friends should really try and stick together. She learns the importance of this and realises just how much her beat friend Amanda actually means to her.
Along the way she meets boating boy James, a seventeen-year-old artist with red hair who has troubles of his own. He helps her as she helps him, and together they figure out that sometimes you just need a little perspective. I like James and his happy-go-lucky attitude to life, his constant grin and positive outlook. He's good for Clem, and I definitely believed in their friendship. My only problem with this book is that sometimes Clem sounds younger than her sixteen years - it's not off-putting, but for me it was noticeable.
I enjoyed Unbreak My Heart and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to readers of contemporary YA. It's a good one to read during summer while the weather's nice and you're about to set sail on a brand new adventure.