Author: Kim Culbertson
Release Date: May 2011
Published By: Sourcebooks
Goodreads Rating: 3.67 stars
Review: Jessa's been looking forward to her drama club's trip to Italy, but it certainly puts a damper on things when she discovers her boyfriend making out with another girl in the costume barn. It only gets worse when she faces the prospect of an entire trip watching her ex and his new girlfriend glued together. But to her surprise, her best friend left behind a package entitled "Top Twenty Reasons He's a Slimy Jerk Bastard", with an un-Jessa-like instruction for each day. As Jessa's heart mends, she begins to learn more about life, love, romance - and even herself.
This book was definitely not what I was expecting. I anticipated a light read where the protagonist would perform each instruction and perhaps meet a new love in beautiful Italy, but INSTRUCTIONS FOR A BROKEN HEART was more than fluff. It wasn't just about overcoming painful break-ups, but contemplating who you are and how to maintain your sense of identity even while in a relationship. There was a lot given to think about in here, but I didn't find that it ever became preachy or message-pushing, which pleased me.
Although I liked the message of the book, the characters and the writing weren't always the greatest. Jessa, in particular, was emo and angsty throughout the novel, and it could get grating sometimes. I kept wanting to tell her to pick herself up and heal, instead of wallowing in her misery, and though she improved a little by the end, it was a bit late for my tastes.
The secondary characters were also a little disappointing. Her best friend, Carrissa, didn't exactly seem like perfect friend material because a lot of her instructions were just cruel to her ex or counter-productive, and then something else that I won't reveal because no one likes spoilers. (If you read the book, then you know what I'm talking about.)
INSTRUCTIONS FOR A BROKEN HEART was a book that I so wanted to love, but I just couldn't. However, that doesn't mean I didn't like the book, because I did. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and felt that it was a very thoughtful book, even though the writing was a bit lackluster in places and the characters could be difficult to relate to. The plot was well-formed, though, and I look forward to reading more by this author.
I received this book for review. This in no way affected my review, which is 100% honest.