I really enjoyed this tale that transported me to Italy and memories of that first break-up and betrayal. Jessa is used to doing everything well. One refreshing thing about this story is her character isn't a one sided drama student that are in some other books and even on TV. No, Jessa is a multi-layered person who's struggles with Sean's betrayal and to the wrenching heartache of first love ring very true.
The lush background of Italy tugs at Jessa as does the cute mysterious Italian boy who just shows up to Dylan Thomas, a boy from the other school. The letters from Carissa remind me of 13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES only these instructions have Jessa do some experiences that go way out of her comfort zone. For example the whole Laundry Rule 101 that it should be a crime for an ex to wear something you bought them. What Jessa does with this one to Sean is hilarious. The romps through Italy are both touching to hilarious.
Another thing I really loved was the whole kiss-a-frog-thing wasn't about finding a prince but rather that you had to follow your own share of frogs on a stick through the busy streets before you get them smashed on the cement so you can find your own way. This is in reference to their tour guide who has this frog on a stick that they all find very annoying. Jessa finds out on her journey through Italy that she has to do just that.
This is a must read for fans of Sarah Dessen and those who loved Culbertson's first book SONGS FOR A TEENAGE NOMAD. This book also has some free verse poems throughout the pages. A real treat for those who need a welcomed break from all the paranormals and dystopias out there. (Kim Bacciella Young Adult Books Central 20110418)
While contemporary was never my favourite thing before, truly I'm finding a wonderful and eclectic mix of books to satiate my contemporary appetite now. Instructions for a Broken Heart doesn't have the most original of premises - cheating guy, good best friend, chance to find oneself etc. - but author Kim Culbertson has delicately balanced a strong setting, a great cast of characters and a coming-of-age story that anyone can relate to. Laugh out loud funny, tender and sweet, Instructions for a Broken Heart is one of those books that makes me feel like the character might just be me or my best friend.
The strongest part of Instructions for a Broken Heart was the main character, Jessa, in my humble opinion. It is so easy to draw a character that becomes weak and spineless in her situation, but Jessa's personality was perfectly played. She hesitates, she's flawed and she has self-doubt, but it's not in the crippling "woe is me" sense of the word. Jessa wants to find happiness and she wants to have a great time in Italy. The way the list gives her a chance to step outside herself, introduce a cast of fantastic secondary characters and show us a world of adventure was a skill in and of itself, making me enjoy and relate to Instructions for a Broken Heart that much more.
All in all, Instructions for a Broken Heart was a sweet, heartfelt and extremely approachable book. It exceeded my expectations, which were already high. I give it a strong 4.5 out of 5, and I'd recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy contemporary fiction. (Melissa i swim for oceans )
About the Author
Kim Culbertson has taught high school English, creative writing, and drama for over ten years and sees her writing as an extension of her teaching. She lives in the Northern California foothills with her husband and daughter, where she loves to drink coffee and look at the clouds. Visit kimculbertson.com