Review: Instructions For a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson

Young Adult
Paperback, 304 pgs.
Published May 1st, 2011 by Sourcebooks Fire

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.

This was just a so-so book for me.  It was cute and had a great setting but there wasn’t really any wow factor in it.  Fortunately it was a fast read and it kept my interest fairly well.  

First of all, I had thought this book would have more romance, but it didn’t.  It really was what the title says “Instructions for a Broken Heart”.   And while at the end there’s romance I never really felt anything between the two people that were suppose to be developing feelings for each other on this trip.  There wasn’t really any hints that anything at all was felt between them.  I realize that we’re seeing Jessa’s side of things and she’s pretty hung up on her ex, but I wish there was something at least that made me feel a real vibe between them.  

Jessa was okay, but only okay.  She was a bit whiny and had a hard time moving on.  I understand her situation and I tried to put myself back in my own teenage broken heart but I still felt like she needed more personality or something.  But she wasn’t bad and I didn’t dislike her, I just wanted more from her.  

To be honest the characters that stood out the most to me were minor ones.  Like the kids from the other school and the teachers with them {they all toured Italy together} and the tour guide, Francesca.  Tyler, Jessa’s friend, was pretty cool.  He was a great friend and really was helpful in trying to get her to move on and not do stupid things.

The setting was great!  I’ve always wanted to visit Italy and I think the author did a good job in describing things but I kind of feel like Jessa’s moping maybe ruined it just a bit.  I think more romance thrown in would have set the scenes better for me, but that’s not really what this book was about.  

Overall it was an okay book.  There wasn’t really any wow factors but I still enjoyed it anyway.  Don’t go into it expecting a romance, this is more about mending a broken heart, and maybe you’ll enjoy it more then I did.

3/5 stars

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  1. The fact that it’s set in Italy really makes me want to read it, but the somewhat lackluster romance and Jessa’s slightly whiny nature are deterrents:( I think I’ll wait on this one, thanks Candace!

  2. Bum deal that the romance was lacking because it totally gives the impression that it is going to be big on romance. But glad to know the setting was as magical as Italy seems. :)

  3. Great review. I liked this one, but Jessa’s hang up on her break up did get to me. I read this one on the way back from Europe so I think I connected to the story through that.

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