Instructions for a Broken Heart

Instructions for a Broken Heart

4.1 22
by Kim Culbertson
     
 

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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

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Overview

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.


Praise for Songs For A Teenage Nomad:


"A beautiful, lyrical read-I loved every last word of it!"

-Alyson Noël, New York Times bestselling author

Editorial Reviews

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

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
From the Publisher
"Culbertson balances the story between teen angst and a nice Italian travelogue. The author has a flair for evocative descriptions. . . The major strength here is in the literary quality of the writing, although teens may be more interested in the characters' relationship." - Kirkus

"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. " - Young Adult Books Central

"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." - i swim for oceans

"There seems to be just the right amount of drama amongst the characters without being contrived. This is a quick read that moves at a rapid pace...The book will circulate well in libraries that have a strong following of teen romance and teen angst novels." - Library Media Connection

"I definitely recommend this book for those who like realistic chick-lit and books by Sarah Dessen. Jessa was a mess at the beginning of the book, and grew into an entirely new person by the end. Speaking of which, the ending I didn't see coming at all! There were two or three twists in the story, and I was literally smiling on the last page. Everything just worked out so perfectly, yet it wasn't cheesy or unrealistic! You'll just have to read the book to find out what I mean..." - Books Obsession

"Kim Culbertson has an incredible talent for writing a beautiful coming of age stories filled with wonderful accompaniment as well. Through the Broadway show tunes many readers have grown up with or are now becoming acquainted with in it's recent popularity, Instructions for a Broken Heart has not only background music but background memories to accompany it. As a teen who grew up around the high school theater kids and remembers those songs after playing them over and over in the orchestral pit the music was a welcome stroll down memory lane, one that connected me to Jessa and her story completely. Instructions for a Broken Heart is set in the beautiful cities of Italy and will no doubt have Chick Lit fans swooning with each setting along Jessa's trip. Learn what it takes to be the person you truly are inside by following a few Instructions for a Broken Heart." - Chick Lit Reviews

"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." - The Book Scout

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:
9781402245480
Publisher:
Sourcebooks, Incorporated
Publication date:
05/01/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
258,494
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

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