Instructions for a Broken Heart

( 22 )

Overview

Top 20 Reasons He's a Slimy Jerk Bastard Jessa: To help you get over your train wreck EX, I've enclosed 20 envelopes. Each one has a reason why Sean is a jerk and not worth the dirt on your shoes. And each one has an instruction for you to do one un-Jessa-like thing a day. NO CHEATING!
Ciao! -C

When Jessa catches her boyfriend, Sean, making out with Natalie "the Boob Job" Stone three days before their drama club's departure to Italy, she ...

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Instructions for a Broken Heart

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Overview

Top 20 Reasons He's a Slimy Jerk Bastard Jessa: To help you get over your train wreck EX, I've enclosed 20 envelopes. Each one has a reason why Sean is a jerk and not worth the dirt on your shoes. And each one has an instruction for you to do one un-Jessa-like thing a day. NO CHEATING!
Ciao! -C

When Jessa catches her boyfriend, Sean, making out with Natalie "the Boob Job" Stone three days before their drama club's departure to Italy, she completely freaks. Stuck with a front-row view of Sean and Natalie making out against the backdrop of a country that oozes romance, Jessa promises to follow all of the outrageous instructions in her best friend's care package and open her heart to new experiences. Enter cute Italian boy stage left.

Jessa had prepared to play the role of humiliated ex-girlfriend, but with Carissa directing her life from afar, it's finally time to take a shot at being a star.

"Instructions for a Broken Heart transported me-to Italy, back to high school, to the wrench and ache of a first breakup and the exhilaration of self-discovery...with multifaceted characters and realistic complexities, this unforgettable novel is a journey I'm so glad to have taken."
-Eireann Corrigan, author of Accomplice

Kim Culbertson has taught high school English, creative writing, and drama for over ten years and sees her writing as an extension of her teaching. She lives in the Northern California foothills with her husband and daughter, where she loves to drink coffee and look at the clouds. Visit kimculbertson.com

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Editorial Reviews

i swim for oceans
While contemporary was never my favourite thing before, truly I'm finding a wonderful and eclectic mix of books to satiate my contemporary appetite now. Instructions for a Broken Heart doesn't have the most original of premises - cheating guy, good best friend, chance to find oneself etc. - but author Kim Culbertson has delicately balanced a strong setting, a great cast of characters and a coming-of-age story that anyone can relate to. Laugh out loud funny, tender and sweet, Instructions for a Broken Heart is one of those books that makes me feel like the character might just be me or my best friend.

The strongest part of Instructions for a Broken Heart was the main character, Jessa, in my humble opinion. It is so easy to draw a character that becomes weak and spineless in her situation, but Jessa's personality was perfectly played. She hesitates, she's flawed and she has self-doubt, but it's not in the crippling "woe is me" sense of the word. Jessa wants to find happiness and she wants to have a great time in Italy. The way the list gives her a chance to step outside herself, introduce a cast of fantastic secondary characters and show us a world of adventure was a skill in and of itself, making me enjoy and relate to Instructions for a Broken Heart that much more.

All in all, Instructions for a Broken Heart was a sweet, heartfelt and extremely approachable book. It exceeded my expectations, which were already high. I give it a strong 4.5 out of 5, and I'd recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy contemporary fiction.
Melissa

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Things are going great for Broadway-obsessed Jessa Gardner. She's on the right track to getting into a good college, what with her AP classes, SAT prep, sports, part-time job, and roles in all the school plays and musicals. Then she catches her boyfriend making out with another girl. To make matters worse, Jessa and Sean are slated to tour Italy with the drama club, along with the girl he was caught kissing. Luckily, her good friend Tyler is there for her. Her best friend, Carissa, has given her a package entitled the "Top Twenty Reasons He's a Slimy Jerk Bastard," complete with instructions for getting over Sean, most of which force her to step outside her comfort zone. At times, they are funny and liberating, as when she throws an orange soda in Sean's face. At other times, Jessa just embarrasses herself, and readers are left wondering why Carissa would ask her to do such things and why she would blindly comply. In the end, though, Jessa realizes that Sean wasn't the perfect boyfriend she had made him out to be. In the process, she does a lot of soul-searching, realizing that she doesn't really know who she is or what she wants to do with her life. This is a scary realization for the goal-driven teen, but a necessary one to help her grow. Although the book meanders and teeters on melodrama, ultimately it's a good choice for girls who have had their hearts broken and thought they would never be able to pick up the pieces.—Lauren Newman, Northern Burlington County Regional Middle School, Columbus, NJ
Young Adult Books Central
I really enjoyed this tale that transported me to Italy and memories of that first break-up and betrayal. Jessa is used to doing everything well. One refreshing thing about this story is her character isn't a one sided drama student that are in some other books and even on TV. No, Jessa is a multi-layered person who's struggles with Sean's betrayal and to the wrenching heartache of first love ring very true.

The lush background of Italy tugs at Jessa as does the cute mysterious Italian boy who just shows up to Dylan Thomas, a boy from the other school. The letters from Carissa remind me of 13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES only these instructions have Jessa do some experiences that go way out of her comfort zone. For example the whole Laundry Rule 101 that it should be a crime for an ex to wear something you bought them. What Jessa does with this one to Sean is hilarious. The romps through Italy are both touching to hilarious.

Another thing I really loved was the whole kiss-a-frog-thing wasn't about finding a prince but rather that you had to follow your own share of frogs on a stick through the busy streets before you get them smashed on the cement so you can find your own way. This is in reference to their tour guide who has this frog on a stick that they all find very annoying. Jessa finds out on her journey through Italy that she has to do just that.

This is a must read for fans of Sarah Dessen and those who loved Culbertson's first book SONGS FOR A TEENAGE NOMAD. This book also has some free verse poems throughout the pages. A real treat for those who need a welcomed break from all the paranormals and dystopias out there.
Kim Bacciella

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Things are going great for Broadway-obsessed Jessa Gardner. She's on the right track to getting into a good college, what with her AP classes, SAT prep, sports, part-time job, and roles in all the school plays and musicals. Then she catches her boyfriend making out with another girl. To make matters worse, Jessa and Sean are slated to tour Italy with the drama club, along with the girl he was caught kissing. Luckily, her good friend Tyler is there for her. Her best friend, Carissa, has given her a package entitled the "Top Twenty Reasons He's a Slimy Jerk Bastard," complete with instructions for getting over Sean, most of which force her to step outside her comfort zone. At times, they are funny and liberating, as when she throws an orange soda in Sean's face. At other times, Jessa just embarrasses herself, and readers are left wondering why Carissa would ask her to do such things and why she would blindly comply. In the end, though, Jessa realizes that Sean wasn't the perfect boyfriend she had made him out to be. In the process, she does a lot of soul-searching, realizing that she doesn't really know who she is or what she wants to do with her life. This is a scary realization for the goal-driven teen, but a necessary one to help her grow. Although the book meanders and teeters on melodrama, ultimately it's a good choice for girls who have had their hearts broken and thought they would never be able to pick up the pieces.—Lauren Newman, Northern Burlington County Regional Middle School, Columbus, NJ
Kirkus Reviews

Overachieving Jessa looks forward to her drama class' trip to Italy until she finds her boyfriend wrapped around a new squeeze in the costume barn. Alas, all of them will be on the trip. Jessa decides to go anyway, armed with 20 envelopes from her best friend. The envelopes contain instructions for activities intended to repair Jessa's confidence and, perhaps, wreak revenge on the offending ex-boyfriend. However, as time passes and the instructions do nothing but cause more difficulty, Jessa begins to take her own road to recovery, finally focusing more on her own faults than on her boyfriend's. Culbertson balances the story between teen angst and a nice Italian travelogue, as Jessa begins to find her own way out of her despair. Her characters stand out as individuals, although she saves time by fitting some peripheral characters neatly into stereotypes. The tour director with her frog-on-a-stick signpost adds some local color. The author has a flair for evocative descriptions, with phrases like "the world's lovely sherbet colors, its gauzy, shifting clouds like wraiths" helping readers to see Italy. As Jessa readsA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, readers may be enticed to try it too. The major strength here is in the literary quality of the writing, although teens may be more interested in the characters' relationships.(Fiction. YA)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402243028
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/1/2011
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 451,538
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 800L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Kim Culbertson has taught high school English, creative writing and drama for over ten years in both public and private schools and sees her writing as an extension of her teaching. She lives in the Northern California foothills with her husband and daughter, where she loves to drink coffee and look at the clouds.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great book!

    I started this book and BAM! I was hooked and heart broken. Written exceptionally well, Ms. Culberston captures her readers with a great story line that we all experience.

    What I liked most about this book is the great plot line. Getting over a breakup/cheating significant others is hard. And it even harder when you have to watch them on a school trip! How messed up is that?? I like that through out the plot line the main character, Jessa, grows so much and learns so much. I like how she saw things differently. Some of the things she said made sense. I adored that she stood strong and got some revenge. Though she learn some of those thing did not make her feel better.

    The characters of this book are very well develop. I adored the Jessa's friends who help her along the way. There were some other nasty secrets that were revealed that made me gasp so much. I am not sure how Jessa is able to handle everything but really this girl got her some back bone. I think I would have had a break down if that were me.

    The love interest in this book isn't all developed but I like it like that. It left hope for the reader and hope for Jessa that their could be another love. Not all is lost, but that Jessa gain knowledge and experience. I can say that the ending of this book did leave me smiling. I adore that Jessa grew up. She never thought she see the light at the end of the tunnel but she made it.

    This is a great book a love that is once had but lost. A love that she thought would stand the test of times and didn't. A great coming of age story about love and it's experiences. What is true love anyway? As Jessa begins her new life, she answers many questions she never thought she get.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2012

    Great book so far!!

    I am reading this book right now an I think it rocks so far!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2011

    Ridiculous

    I do not recommend this book. I thought it would be something fun and cute, but it was just boring and dumb. If the best friend could have actually had some creative instructions, it might have been worth it. But the instructions were in no way helpful or innovative, just the usual "list the reasons he doesn't deserve you" cliche stuff. The characters were boring and unrealistic- all of their emotions and actions were so exagerated. The girl was so pathetic, I mean I understand she was sad about her boyfriend cheating, but why would that lead you to extremes like kissing your teacher? or keep letting the whole class know how you're feeling? And the best friend really wasn't much of a friend, how could she have kissed her boyfriend and never have let her know? Basically, it was all a bunch of exagerated silliness. Nothing like Sarah Dessen whose characters are so real and believable.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2014

    Four stars

    Good but the main character really annoyed me.....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2013

    Great Read!

    I liked this story

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2013

    Amazing

    I really loved this story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2013

    Wonderful

    This was a wonderful story. It pulled me in and kept me. The writing style flowed beautifully and painted breath taking pictures. I hope Kim has written more books because I will certainly be buying them.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2012

    Loved it!

    I loved this book, and who she ends up with is who I was hoping she would (thats a first)! I recommend this book to anyone who likes realistic fiction and loves reading. If you don't like realistic fiction and reading, don't write a review, nobody cares if you don't like the book, because to me, thats not possible with these books! Please read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2011

    Loved it

    I loved this it was so good! What jessahas been looking for was right in front of her face and im not talking about sean

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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