Sunday, 22 April 2012

Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson

Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson

Add it: Goodreads
Source: Library
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Format: Paperback, 304 pages
Release Date: May 1, 2011

Three days before her drama club's trip to Italy, Jessa Gardner discovers her boyfriend in the costume barn with another girl. Jessa is left with a care package from her best friend titled "Top Twenty Reasons He's a Slimy Jerk Bastard," instructing her to do one un-Jessa-like thing each day of the trip. At turns hilarious and heartwrenching, Instructions for a Broken Heart paints a magical Italy in which Jessa learns she must figure out life-and romance-for herself.
A quick and enjoyable read awaits you in this contemporary novel.

Jessa Gardner is on the trip of her lifetime. She's been waiting to travel to Italy for as long as she can remember and finally the tme has arrived! It's too bad that instead of enjoying it with her boyfriend like she had planned to, she's being forced to spend it watching him and the girl he cheated on her with. This an easy kind of read. I wouldn't really classify it as a romance, although I'm sure many would disagree with me on that front. To me, it was more of a novel of self-discovery and being able to do it in the beautiful country of Italy was a huge bonus.

The descriptions of Italy were probably one of my favourite aspects of the novel. Even more than physical landmarks, Kim Culbertson manages to describe the atmosphere and feelings. It has me itching to hop on a plane!

Jessa as a character... confused me. I went back and forth with her a lot and although in the end I had more positive feelings than negative ones, there were a lot of times while reading that I got frustrated. Jessa's thoughts and actions are kind of all over the place. Understandable, considering her situation, but still a little jarring to read through. There's also the fact that when Jessa feels something, it hits you like a ton of bricks because of how deep it runs. Drama school indeed!

The supporting cast definitely made the novel interesting. Tyler, one of Jessa's best friends, was undoubtedly my favourite character. He puts up with a lot but still manages to keep up the friendly, supportive attitude. Carissa, Jessa's other best friend, I feel considerably less warm towards. There were moments I liked her and moments I understood her, but mostly I was just thinking that I hoped my best friend would never act like that with me.

Finally, Dylan Thomas! He had such great potential to be this smart, amazing guy that I felt we rarely got to see. He definitely wasn't shown enough for my liking and I would have liked to dig a bit deeper into his head.

Set with a stunning backdrop, Instructions for a Broken Heart is a novel about finding yourself when it seems like you've lost everything.

Cover Comments: It's cute! I'm a little confused as to why Jessa is wearing a coat but I like the overall effect :)

3.5 stars out of 5


  1. Amazing review, Sonia! This book sounds like such a lovely, pleasant read. Do we get cute Italian guys here? Then I need to have this book! ;) I'm glad that you enjoyed this book, and even though you have some problems with the main character, you end up liking her in the end. :)

  2. "Top Twenty Reasons He's a Slimy Jerk Bastard." <-- Hahahaha so cute!! The next time one of my friends gets a broken heart, I know exactly what to title a care package x)

    (On a side note: If anyone ever breaks your heart, Sonia, let me know and he'll get a scary piece of Mimi! *shakes fists menacingly*)

    This book sounds absolutely ADORABLE, Sonia! I'm pretty sure I heard about this one last year and passed it up, but now I'm reconsidering why. The fact that this book takes place in Italy already makes me excited, and the awesome supporting cast sounds like it makes up for being only okay with the MC :) Especially Dylan Thomas (who has a really awesome, rockstar-ish and semi-generic name)! We can totally imagine that he's in the book more than he actually is ;)

    Amazing review, you awesome person, you! <3

  3. I think I've heard of this book. I think I have. YES, I think I have. Oh no, maybe I haven't. LOL.

    Anyway, it sounds AMAZING. Your review definitely convinced me to read this book!

    Awesome review, Sonia! ♥ Glad you enjoyed it and LOVE LOVE LOVE YOUR CROWNS! ;)

  4. I haven't heard of this book before! It sounds like a really light yet nice read! I love that it's about self-discovery. Nothing better than self-discovery in ITALY :D Which is so great and reminds me of the Eat part of Eat, Pray, Love.

    I usually don't mind confusing main characters as I'm motivated to stick with them till the end to figure them out, at the least. I'm so so so intrigued about Dylan Thomas's role! Glad you enjoyed it, Sophia :) It sounds like a fun read!

  5. It sounds great, I hadn't heard of this before, but it sounds a bit like 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, I shall check it out!
    Thanks for the review, Isme, The Book Slooth

  6. *Whoops, I meant Sonia! I'm so sorry :)

  7. Ooh, I'm intrigued by this one! The main character sounds like one I'd have to get used to, but I do like the sound of the supporting cast, especially Tyler! Glad you liked this one overall, thanks for the review! I love the cover too (though it's a shame it seems a bit random :P).

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