Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson
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 heart wrenching, Instructions for a Broken Heart paints a magical Italy in which Jessa learns she must figure out life-and romance-for herself.
After reading and falling in love with Kim's debut novel, Songs for a Teenage Nomad, I was extremely anxious to find out what was next for her. While I wasn't as completely enraptured with Instructions for a Broken Heart, I still enjoyed it and am glad I picked it up.
After discovering her boyfriend, Sean, and big-boobed Natalie making out in the drama club's costume barn, Jessa is broken and shocked. Still, she decides to venture to Italy with the rest of the drama club (including Sean and Natalie) with nothing but a broken heart and a set of twenty envelopes from her best friend at her side. I liked the idea of the envelopes, because they did encourage Jessa to do things that she may not have done otherwise, but they also revealed things about Jessa, Sean, and her best friend, Carisa, that she never knew before. Jessa was a character that I both loved and hated at times. She often didn't see what was right in front of her until it was too late and she moped about Sean for waaay too long. He was obviously a big jerk!
The setting of the story was the beautiful and romantic Italy. Reading about the different sites and cities they visited was a wonderful aspect of the story and added that much more to it. I have never been to Italy before, but definitely want to even more now. Reading about European countries just makes them come even more alive to me and I love seeing the monuments and places through the eyes of the character. Jessa was able to come to terms with so much on that trip and learned a lot of things, many of which were about herself and how she had been before the trip and all of the Sean and Natalie drama went down.
There were many interesting side characters in Instructions for a Broken Heart. I loved her close friend, Tyler, he stuck at her side through everything. Also, Dylan Thomas, even though he didn't have a huge part, he stole the show when he was included.
Instructions for a Broken Heart may not be for everyone, but I did like it. Jessa was a unique character who was dealing with a lot and learned a lot about herself and those around her over the course of the book. The scenery described in Italy was amazing and I liked imaging the different places Jessa and the rest visited. Kim Culbertson is a talented writer, and I do recommend both this and Songs of a Teenage Nomad.
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
May 1, 2011/Sourcebooks/320 Pages/Young Adult
Source: Publisher (ARC)
Other books by this author: Songs for a Teenage Nomad
Just wanted to let everyone know you can download an e-book of Songs for a Teenage Nomad for free until May 9 here, so get on that ASAP! It's an awesome book, you don't want to miss out on this opportunity!
Also, be sure to check out the awesome trailer for Instructions for a Broken Heart!