Clem is spending the summer with her family sailing the rivers of the central United States. She's perfectly fine with this, since she has lost all her friends.
It isn't clear what exactly happened to cause the rift at the beginning of the story, but it has something to do with Clem's best friend, and her best friend's boyfriend. Clem is depressed, guilty, and is really hard on herself. She doesn't believe that she deserves friends.
Clem's sister is a cutie. She's ten years old, and smart. She knows there's something wrong with her sister but doesn't know how to help. She has supportive parents (yea!), but they get frustrated with Clem also. The heart of Unbreak My Heart is watching Clem work through her predicament and come out stronger on the other side.
Along comes James, who is also spending the summer sailing with his father. They taking the same route as Clem's family, so these two meet up repeatedly over the summer and a relationship develops. It isn't quite clear what is going to happen between these two, since James is brining along some baggage too. (Although he's so SWEET!) The focus of this story is watching Clem work through her problems and come out stronger on the other side.
The relationships are interesting; the sailing life is a unique and well-described setting. This is a pretty short book and the pace makes it easy to keep turning pages. The complications are slowly revealed, and the emotions associated with them ring true.
I loved the Illinois setting (for part of Unbreak My Heart) and I'm familiar with the places they mentioned which is an added bonus. And...the scene with the "George Washington" hair...my kids used to do that all the time except they called it "Martha Washington" hair. Blast from the past!
I can give this book to a bazillion teen girls. They will love Unbreak My Heart for so many reasons. If you like a sweet teen contemporary romance, you must read Unbreak My Heart.
Published by Bloomsbury Childrens, May 22, 2012
eARC obtained from NetGalley
240 pages (Qualifies for my Books You Can Read in a Day Challenge!)
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