Double Shot! Review: Unbreak My Heart and Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker

13060734Unbreak My Heart
by Melissa Walker
May 22, 2012
Bloomsbury USA
240 pages
Source: NetGalley in exchange for a fair an honest review. 
 
Thank you NG and Bloomsbury USA:)
 
Synopsis
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.(Taken from Goodreads.)

 
Opening Line
 
“Sit on it,” I say.
 
My Take On It
 
Unbreak My Heart is the first book I have read by Melissa Walker and I think if I were to try to sum up the book in a single sentence I would say it’s a great summertime read that also tackles some serious issues, and does it in a very authentic way. As you read in the above synopsis, Clementine has had a rough year. She not only lost the guy she had developed a serious crush on, she also, and more importantly, lost her best friend in the process. Clem is in a very low place. She has been ostracized by all her friends after falling for her best friend’s boyfriend and she feels so much guilt over the situation she is unable to speak with anyone about it, including her close knit family. They know something is wrong, but Clem refuses to let her family know the full extent of what is going on, and so she has in effect, isolated herself even further. It’s summer and her parents have decided the family will spend it aboard their sailboat on a family cruise. But Clem is in no mood for a fun summer, she is too busy beating herself up about the events that occurred over the last year.
I have to admit that I was a little torn when it comes to the character of Clem. On the one hand I can totally empathize with her situation. I can remember, as if it were yesterday, how it felt to lose someone you think you love, and worse, to have a falling out with your best friend that results in an end to that friendship. It feels like the end of the world because in a way, it is. It’s the end of a big part of your life and it can be devastating and very difficult to get up and dust yourself off afterwards. And when things end over mistakes made on your part, it’s ten times worse.  Walker writes flashback scenes which lead up to Clem and Amanda’s falling out and  I thought it was a very effective way to tell the story although it started to annoy me after a bit because I just wanted to to know what happened already!  So, to a degree, I definitely understand how terrible Clem feels.
But I have to say, after a while I was ready for her to let it go. I knew that she need to have time to heal and have time to face up to her part in the whole ordeal, but I couldn’t help but feel like it was too long in coming. I really admire Clem’s family, her parents and her sister were so very patient with her because, you guys, I can tell you, if I had been part of that family I would’ve had a total Cher via Moonstruck moment:

https://youtu.be/0x-fkSYDtUY

I know that sounds a bit harsh but  although I felt genuinely sorry for Clem that she was going through this, I also felt sorry that her parents and sister were stuck on a little tiny sailboat with her as well. Call me callous but it’s true.

So clearly the saving grace of the whole situation was James. At first I found him, like Clem, to be a bit…cheesy. And whereas Clem was sodepressed, James was so happy. Perky, even. There is only so much perky I can take sometimes, you guys.  But James grew on me. It was great to read scenes with him because, let’s face it, Clem was kind of a drag for a while there. I loved the banter between Clem and James, and I think he was the perfect person to help Clem out of her funk and make her reevaluate her entire situation. I thought their romance was sweet and perfect for a summer read.

I also really enjoyed Clem’s relationship with her parents and her too cool for school little sister, Olive. She’s like the coolest ten year old EVER! I love that she totally acts her age, and not a ten year old going on sixteen. She’s silly and goofy and eager and just adorable. And when Clem finally does sit down and spill everything to her parents, they are AWESOME. They are understanding and forgiving and say all the right things, things Clem desperately needed to hear. I love how Melissa Walker portrays a positive family unit in this book:)

I also loved all the fellow boaters, like George and Ruth!  They were so darn sweet and kind and funny. I could have read a whole book solely about them. And while we are on the subject, I really enjoyed the setting. I don’t have a ton of experience with sailboats, but my husband was the captain of both a charter fishing boat and private sports fishing boat for many years so the general “life on and around the water” aspect was something I totally got and related to.

But perhaps what I enjoyed  most about Unbreak My Heart, was watching Clem come to terms with her mistakes, realizing that while yes, she was partially to blame, she was not alone in it.  And witnessing her ability to finally  let go of the burden of her guilt and make positive strides forward was a very uplifting message.  I love that she walked away form the experience wiser and hopeful for her future.

4/5 Stars

5421961Lovestruck Summer
by Melissa Walker
Harper Teen
2009
272 pages
Source: Purchased

Synopsis

Sunny days, late nights and a vacation full of possibilities…

This is the story of Quinn, an indie rock girl who came out to Austin, Texas for a music internship. She also plans to spend long, lazy days in the sun at outdoor concerts–and to meet a hot musician or two. Instead, she’s stuck rooming with her sorority brainwashed cousin, who now willingly goes by the name ‘Party Penny.’ Their personalities clash, big time. But Sebastian, a gorgeous DJ, definitely makes up for it. Sebastian has it all: looks, charm, and great taste in music. So why can’t Quinn keep her mind off Penny’s friend — cute, All-American Russ with the Texas twang? One thing’s certain: Quinn’s in for a summer she’ll never forget! (Taken from the author’s website.)

Opening Line

I live my life in headphones.
 
My Take On It
 
If ever there was a case for a book in desperate need of a new cover, and possibly a new title, this would be that book. You guys, I can confidently say that had it not been for some fellow bloggers talking this book up, that I would have never given it a read because of that cover. I apologize to the creative team behind it, but in my opinion it totally distracts from the awesomeness that is this little book. I LOVED this book, so much more than I expected to, and while yes, I think it definitely qualifies as a fun beach read, it has a lot more depth to it than would appear.
First of all this book is new adult. If you are familiar with me and the blog than you know that I LOVE this offshoot of young adult lit. Secondly, music plays a central theme in Lovestruck Summer. You guys, I am SUCH a music nerd. Seeing live music is hands down one of my favorite things to do. And I love, love, love books with music themes. And the icing on the cake? Quinn’s music of choice is alternative and indie, which also happens to be my music of choice. Thirdly, there is awesome character development afoot in this book. It’s kind of amazing that Walker is able to pull this off in a book that literally took me about four hours to read. Fourth, this book might seem light and fluffy on the outside, but really has some meat to it.  And finally, the romance is sweet and steamy sprinkled with plenty of swoon worthy moments.
I LOVE Quinn, you guys! I love her voice. I love her style. I love that she’s a bit left of center and different from the norm. I love her blue hair and vintage band and bar T-shirts.  I love her faults and all.  I love her because she starts out with a definite idea of who she is and what she wants, out of school, life, friendships and guys, and by the end of this book she realizes the narrowness of that mindset. I love that she has great capacity for love but she can also be tough as nails when she needs to be. I love that when she wants something she goes after it and doesn’t hesitate. I love that when she recognizes that she’s acting like an ass, she calls herself on it and tries to make amends. And I love that even with all her snarky attitude and music snobbery, she’s just a young woman on a journey to self discovery who is as human as the rest of us.
The best part of this book is the cast of wonderful characters. There is Penny, Quinn’s cousin, and her sorority sister neighbor Chrissy, who are both so much like Elle Woods from Legally Blonde it’s scary. There’s Jade, the hip fellow intern that befriends Quinn and is the perfect wing woman and has an open mind to go along with her big heart. There is Sebastian, (what a great name for this character!), the hipster DJ who is everything Quinn thinks she wants in a summer fling, and than there is next door neighbor, Russ.
Russ, Russ, Russ. Beautiful, funny, wise, built, loud, sexy, goofy frat boy Russ. He’s got the whole Texas cowboy vibe going and even though Quinn feels sure that is SO not her type, she comes to find that even she is not fully immune to his charm. I liked Russ from the start and grew to like him even more as the story progressed. I loved how he called Quinn out when she was being stubborn and close minded, yet he was always patient and forgiving. And I love how he used music, the very thing that Quinn responds to most, to bridge the gap between them.
 There are so many moments in this book that took me back to my teenage years, moments that made me laugh out loud , like the house party scene with the guy in a beer hat with straws that leads to his mouth wearing a T-shirt that says ‘C’s GET DEGREES, I mean don’t we all know a guy justlike that? I did. Funny scenes like that abound but there were other moments that made me cringe and made my heart hurt. Moments that made me want to jump in the book and shake the heck out of the characters so they would, you guessed it, SNAP OUT OF IT, ALREADY!!
And then there is the setting, the city of Austin. I’ve never been to Austin, though I vow to make it to a SXSW show one day before I die, and I loved discovering the city in the pages of this story. This book made me want to go to the Four Season’s and watch the bats fly at sunset. Made me want to go tubing down the Guadalupe River. Made me itch to hit up Dirty’s and meander around the University of Texas campus. You’ve heard the expression “she wrote a love letter to the city”, well, Walker has definitely done just that with this book.
I could go on and on about this one, but I’d never be able to get across all the things about this book that I enjoyed. It’s smart and funny and a really great “feel good” kind of read. Of the two Melissa Walker books I read, Lovestruck Summer, the little book with the bad cover and silly title, is hands down my favorite. It’s an older title, and the copy I found is a mass market paperback which equals cheap. So do yourself a favor, pick this one up. Look for it at your library. Look for a used copy online or check out the bargain bins. Just find a copy, because it’s is such a great read with so much more depth than the cover and title imply.
4.5/5 Stars
(I deducted 1/2 star only because I wished this book to be about 200 pages longer!)