When Jessa catches her boyfriend, Sean, making out with Natalie "the boob job" Stone three days before her drama club's departure to Italy, she completely freaks. Stuck with a front-row view of Sean and Natalie making out against the backdrop of a country that oozes romance, Jessa promises to follow all of the outrageous instructions in her best friend's care package and open her heart to new experiences. Enter cute Italian boy stage left. Jessa had prepared to play the role of humiliated ex-girlfriend, but with Carissa directing her life from afar it's finally time to take a shot at being a star.
I thought Culbertson’s first novel Songs for a Teenage Nomad was a great story so I was anxious to read another book by her. Instructions for a Broken Heart however did not impress me as much...it was sort of ho-hum. There are tons of books with plots that deal with relationships, break-ups, and dating but if it doesn’t have some sort of unique aspect or characters that make the book different from the rest, it will more than likely won’t be a big hit. That’s exactly what it was for me. Because it really wasn’t anything super special, I honestly didn’t enjoy it like I did Nomad. Although I know break-ups can be a hard thing to handle, I just couldn’t connect with Jessa and her longing to get back together with her cheating boyfriend. She was way too juvenile about the whole thing and I didn’t care for the third-person dialogue in this particular case. A few of the characters did stand-out: Tyler was a cool and Dylan Thomas was an interesting British boy. Alas, the entire book focused on Sean and how Jessa’s best friend was making her “get-over” him so there was not very much room for anything else to happen. The part of the so-called Italian crush (mentioned in the synopsis) was...weird. He only appeared a few times and he didn’t have much effect on Jessa or the story.
Really wish Instructions for a Broken Heart was better. Even so I still like Culbertson and I will definitely read another book by her in the future.
Recommendation: Overall, Instructions for a Broken Heart was an ok-book, the message/story just wasn’t significant enough for me to really enjoy it. If you want to read a book by Culbertson, try reading Songs for a Teenage Nomad if you think this one isn’t your style. Ages 14+
Content: Some language and sensuality. (PG)
More Books by This Author: Songs for a Teenage Nomad
|Pages: 292|Release Date: May 2011|Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire|
|Genre: Contemporary, relationships, teen issues, travel|
|Content Rating: 4/5|Cover: 5/5|Overall: 3/5|
This review is copyrighted by Books and Literature for Teens. Special thanks to Derry and Sourcebooks.