Unbreak My Heart
By Melissa Walker
Publication date: May 22, 2012
Bloomsbury USA, 240 pages
Source: Publisher, via NetGalley
Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life. Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now. Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart? Told in alternating chapters that chronicle the year that broke Clem’s heart and the summer that healed it, Unbreak My Heart is a wonderful dual love story that fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Susane Colasanti will flock to.
— Goodreads.com description
There’s something you should know about me as a reader: I cannot tolerate stories about cheating.
It’s really important for me to have respect for a main character. Some authors purposely make their characters unlikable…and I just can’t do it. I need to relate to them, to cheer for them. So when a main character is a cheater? No. No way. Just something I personally have a hard time looking past.
And in Melissa Walker’s Unbreak My Heart, it’s pretty clear from the get-go that some type of cheating happened, but we don’t know what exactly went down. I mean, the book description says it: Clem fell for her best friend’s boyfriend.
So you’d think I’d hate it, right?
NO! I LOVED THIS BOOK.
What?! I know, right?
I think, for me, part of what I hate about books that tackle cheating is when they let me get invested in a relationship, then – wham! blam! – cheatfest. I HATE that. I feel emotionally manipulated.
I also feel this way when a book ends up secretly being about death. JOHN GREEN, I AM LOOKING AT YOU. I won’t name that book. But in his book The Fault in His Stars? Totally knew that was about death from the get-go, and I loved it.
Same rules apply here, apparently.
Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker is not really about the cheating – none of it happens in the present tense. Instead, it’s about Clementine’s struggle to forgive herself and move on and about how her family relates to her during her resulting depression. And I felt myself rooting for her because of this. I also loved how Walker tackled the double-standard in cheating. Why is Clem the outcast one while the boy is immediately taken back and forgiven? Lame.
And, oh, sure, the love story bit and the fact that they were out yachting around America in the summertime helped. I love summer books! I love kissing books! I DOUBLE LOVE kissing in the summer books.
Anyway, cheers to Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker for getting me to step outside my comfort zone and, for once in my life, cheer on the cheater. It helped me grow as a reader, and that’s what good reads are all about.