Magan: Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker [website | twitter]
Publisher: Bloomsbury
UPCOMING Publication Date: May 22, 2012
Pages: 240
Target Audience: Young Adult
Format read: eBook ARC from Netgalley.

Summary: Clementine is spending the whole summer sailing with her parents on their forty-two foot boat. The seclusion from her friends would normally be unthinkable, but she finds herself alone because she did something terrible. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend.

Last year Melissa Walker’s book, Small Town Sinners, really took me outside my comfort zone and introduced me to a story that was completely unlike anything I’d ever read. When I saw Unbreak My Heart pop up on Netgalley, it was all I could do not to refresh my inbox constantly to see if we’d been approved for the title. I jumped for joy when we received the approval email, and I happily (i.e. HAPPILY) devoured it.

I had never read a book about a teenager who falls for her someone who is already in a relationship. Especially not her best friend’s boyfriend. I knew from the summary that this happened so I was prepared for lots of tangled emotions. From the very beginning, I was (unexpectedly) laughing at Clem’s inner dialogue. She was a fun, loveable character who made a terrible mistake. I love that Walker didn’t create a character who lacked any and all personality; Clem was a fantastic girl who screwed up and realizes how much she’s lost for the sake of a boy.

Walker made me connect and understand what Clem was going through, but she also showed me the agony that was a result of Clem’s year-long debacle with Ethan. While I don’t approve of cheating, I understand the mix of emotions and enjoyed seeing how the whole story was pieced together. The chapters alternated between present day, with Clem being frustrated and depressed, to reflections of the past as she tried to piece together how she could have fallen for Ethan.

I’ve never cheated on someone, but I did have a guy best friend from junior high through most of high school. I had more-than-friends feelings for this boy, and though things never worked out between us and we each married other people, I guess you could say we were in a constant tango – our feelings would ebb back and forth for one another. I would be so completely heartbroken when I saw him in a relationship with someone who wasn’t me. I would like to think this isn’t an uncommon occurrence for teenagers who have so many emotions and insecurities. Walker did an incredible job exploring how everything happened and how those choices affected every part of Clem’s life.

One of my most favorite aspects of a YA book is when there are strong family ties. Clem is stuck on the boat with her parents and 10-year-old sister, Olive. I found myself repeatedly thinking “I want to be parents like them,” or “I want do have children as close as these girls are.” It’s a rarity to see such a well-balanced and supportive family. I shed a few tears over scenes with Olive and the parents; they were so touching and perfect.

But, of course, nothing excited me more than the boy in Unbreak My Heart. Red (aka: James). Clem and James’ boats are sailing along the same route over the summer. It’s only natural that they’d bump into each other every once in a while. My heart did a pitter-patter, happy dance when I saw his name on the page. He was funny, sweet, and kind; he was respectful and genuine.

He is probably one of my FAVORITE YOUNG ADULT BOYS.

I know! That’s a big, bold statement. But I’m standing by it.

I’m really curious to know if you’ll feel the same way about James and how you’ll respond to Clem after you finish this book. I’m clicking over to Amazon right now to pre-order my copy; Unbreak My Heart is definitely a book I want to own.

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21 thoughts on “Magan: Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker

  1. Daisy says:

    HOORAY! I’m so glad this book worked for you! Even though the weather isn’t really cooperating yet, I’m pining for a cute summer romance story and this sounds like just the thing! I don’t approve of cheating either and I’m glad Clem realises the consequences and that there’s a boy in there that sounds amazing!!
    I’m reading this soon, yay! πŸ™‚

    • Magan says:

      DAISY! Yes! You should pick it up as soon as possible. It comes out in May (but is also on NetGalley!) so you should get it one way or the other. It’s the perfect lose-yourself-in-a-book-for-several-hours book. Especially when poolside. πŸ˜‰

  2. April Books & Wine says:

    I love when you love books, Magan, because my first reaction is to immediately leap up and find that book and start reading.

    AND OMG I WANT TO MEET CLEM. I WANT TO MEET ETHAN. I WANT TO MEET RED.

    I want the ‘pretend’ book drama and to feel the things, that seem to be felt while reading Unbreak My Heart. And also? Most awkward sentence EVER.

    Fabulous review!

    • Magan says:

      Haha, thanks, April! I feel like I’ve had a lot of “borrow” kind of books lately, so reading something that made me FEEL and connect and laugh was extremely refreshing. I cannot say enough good things about Unbreak My Heart! I hope you love it, too!

      If you’re looking for some drama, this book has it in all the right ways. Thanks so much for your comment!

  3. Katie @ Blook Girl says:

    What a GREAT review, as always πŸ™‚ I saw this on NetGalley and wasn’t sure if it was my type of read, but your review convinced me. While I love my dystopian/fantasy books, sometimes it’s nice to read a contemporary novel that deals with real-life issues in a believable and heart-touching manner. It certainly seems like Melissa Walker achieved that here.

    I’m off to add this to my TBR List! πŸ™‚

    • Magan says:

      Katie, I really, really loved it. I’m definitely a dystopia kind of girl, too, but this book… really amazing. I couldn’t work because I kept wanting to pretend I was sick so I could go read it! My husband knew I was consumed when I didn’t want to eat dinner and couldn’t put it down! I really, really hope you love it! πŸ™‚

  4. Anna says:

    My review of this one is coming out soon…I HATE cheating books, but sort of loved this one. I was so surprised at myself! I credit “Red” with a lot of that πŸ˜‰

  5. Allison L says:

    This book sounds really good! I’m not usually one to pick up a ‘cheating book’ but, I think I would actually really like this one. Especially from the way that you described it. Thanks for the fantastic review! πŸ™‚

    Allison @ Good Books and Good Wine

    • Magan says:

      Allison, it’s so, so wonderful. I don’t like cheating in books at all, but let’s just say there’s a LOT that I can’t share because it would be spoiler-y. I was hesitant to like this book, but I fell *splat* in LOVE WITH IT.

  6. elena says:

    Ahhh, Magan, I LOVE this review! I was interested in this book before but now I really really want to read it. I really like that Clem was so multi-faceted and you could understand where she’s coming from. James sounds incredibly sweet, definitely the type of YA boys I like to read about. I can’t wait to read this book. Your review is so lovely! x

    • Magan says:

      Elena, it’s so, so wonderful. There’s a lot that cannot be shared in the review (for fear of being too spoilery), but ooooh, gosh, is this book amazing. I really loved Clem’s character. She had the perfect amounts of self-loathing and humor all mixed together! πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to read your review!

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