Review: Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson

Title: Instructions for a Broken Heart
Author: Kim Culbertson
Publication: May 1st 2011 by Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Owned

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.

-- My Rating --
4/5 Oscars: Really Liked It

-- My Thoughts --

     I read this book initially on a whim. I wasn't really expecting much. Just a normal, boring contemporary read. But oh, I was proven wrong. So wrong.
     Jessa is heartbroken after she finds her boyfriend cheating on her. So a trip abroad will be all she needs. And on this journey of self-discovery, her best friend sends her 20 envelopes that she has to open everyday and do the thing that is written inside. And together with her little envelopes, she finds out what friends and love really mean.
     The first thing I loved about this book is the setting. I love books about foreign places, since you can experience all of it through the eyes of the main character. And this book was a gorgeous trip to Italy. I am sure that the author put a lot of work into building such a believable surrounding. It felt beautiful, I could see myself in the streets of Italy, smelling the amazing flavors.
     The characters are this book's strongest suits; Jessa is such a quiet, reserved girl. She reminded me a lot of myself, the way she thought, the way she behaved. But above all that, she is a writer. And that connected me with her on a whole other level. Then, there are the guys. And not all of them are love interests. There is the cheating boyfriend, Sean. There is the sweet, kind best friend Tyler. Then there is the gorgeous Italian Giacomo and the adorable Dylan Thomas. I fell in love with their uniqueness. Every single one of them is a character on his own.
     There is not much romance in this book. Except a little at the end. But still, it is very believable and real. Sweet and kind. The perfect kind of love. This book is about self-discovery. It teaches you valuable life lessons. It teaches you that before you can forgive someone, you have to forgive yourself. To find yourself. I loved all the different references to culture that the author put in this book. They made it even more interesting.
     Finally, the ending was perfect. There is the potential of a hopeful future, with no loose-ends. I love these kind of endings. This book is an enjoyable read with a deeper meaning.


  1. Haha I love how you went into a book expecting a boring read. But I get it - sometimes you just want mindless brain candy you know. Great that it was anything but, though. It sounds like such a wonderful contemporary and full of personality. I love a good character driven novel!

    1. Well, I was in a reading slump, so that was all I expected :)
      thanks for being here, GIselle!

  2. This sounds like a wonderful contemporary story. I love books with strong characters, and the foreign setting is very tempting :)

    1. It definitely is :)
      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I have never heard of this one! This sounds like such a great YA Contemporary.


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