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A Field Guide for Heartbreakers

A Field Guide for Heartbreakers

3.2 11
by Kristen Tracy

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When best friends Dessy and Veronica arrive in Prague for a prestigious writing workshop, their priorities diverge. Dessy, fragile from a recent breakup, has come to mend her broken heart by honing her craft. Veronica has just dumped her boyfriend and plans to blow off the workshop. She'd rather master a different craft-boys.

Veronica gets right to


When best friends Dessy and Veronica arrive in Prague for a prestigious writing workshop, their priorities diverge. Dessy, fragile from a recent breakup, has come to mend her broken heart by honing her craft. Veronica has just dumped her boyfriend and plans to blow off the workshop. She'd rather master a different craft-boys.

Veronica gets right to work on her "man-wall"-one paper cutout for every hot-dude she meets-and embarks on her mission to cover a wall of their dorm by summer's end. At times, Dessy thinks her friend might be a genius. At others, Veronica seems more like an agent of chaos. As if their love lives weren't complicated enough, soon a homicidal suitemate is bent on killing Veronica and Dessy, and both girls are hiding secrets that could wreck their friendship.

Well, no one ever said breaking hearts was a simple craft...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Best friends Dessy and Veronica aren't so much heartbreakers as heartbroken when they jet off to Prague for a monthlong writing workshop. Fresh from painful breakups, both girls are eager to get their minds off former loves and onto potential new ones. Along the way, the 17year-olds encounter more heartbreak and find themselves at odds with each other, but eventually find their way back to a stronger, more honest friendship. Tracy (Crimes of the Sarahs) is best with the vivid historical detail and city landmarks she incorporates into the story. But Veronica is energetic to the point of caricature, making Dessy (already saddled with the last name Gherkin) seem all the duller. There are boys galore, but none of them stands out as particularly special, and a plot line involving a threatening student at the workshop feels at odds with the book's comedic elements, such as Veronica's "man-wall"--a collage of "hot-dudes" she might go after. The way Dessy and Veronica bumble along, acting without thinking and often hurting people in the process, doesn't add to their appeal, either. Ages 12-up. (June)
VOYA - Jennifer Rummel
The summer before their senior year, Dessy and her best friend Veronica attend a prestigious writing workshop in Prague. They are the only high school students accepted into the program. Dessy has never been out of the Midwest and she's looking for a little adventure as she heals from a breakup with her first love. She's not ready to start dating just yet, but Veronica has a plan. Veronica's ready to take Prague by storm, chatting up every hot boy she sees. Dessy goes along with her plans, as usual, even though she doesn't agree. Together, they stumble along the city meeting hot boys, sightseeing, and attending classes until secrets come out that tear them apart and threaten their friendship. Both the cover and the title give this book a misleading breezy romantic feel. Even though the girls deal with the aftermath of heartbreak, the majority of this book revolves around their friendship. There is some romance when Veronica puts up a "man wall" of all the hot guys she's met and they both crush over boys. Their friendship consists of Veronica always being in control. Dessy doesn't question Veronica's advice or commands until Dessy neglects to tell her friend two important details that lead to one gigantic fight. Ultimately, Tracy pens a novel about changing friendships and growing into one's self. A Field Guide for Heartbreakers will be of interest to high school students looking for something more mature. Reviewer: Jennifer Rummel
Kirkus Reviews
Calm, straitlaced Dessy and her maniacal best friend Veronica are attending a summer writing workshop in Prague. Fresh from a breakup, Dessy wants to focus on her writing. Veronica, though she is a gifted writer and avid reader, is much more interested in what the workshop and Prague have to offer in the way of boys. Veronica's crazy schemes to attract boys work so well that Dessy thinks that she might have a chance with one of the boys from their writing class. That is, if she can survive her suitemate, Corky, who's out to kill both her and Veronica. The descriptions of Prague's heat and landscape are vivid and provide an ideal background for a fast-paced series of summer romances. The characters, however, fail where the setting succeeds. Dessy is a blank canvas, and Veronica is dizzying in her many mood swings. Corky is downright evil with no redeeming qualities. The lack of character development and resolution in some plotlines spoils what is otherwise a smartly humorous, sexy novel. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Kristen Tracy (www.kristentracy.com) lives in a fog bank in San Francisco. She is the author of the young adult novels Lost It, Crimes of the Sarahs, and A Field Guide for Heartbreakers, as well as the middle grade books Camille McPhee Fell Under the Bus and The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter. Her newest book is Sharks and Boys. When not writing, she tutors at 826 Valencia and volunteers as a gardener on Alcatraz.

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A Field Guide for Heartbreakers 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
DanceBree17 More than 1 year ago
Veronica and Dessy are best friends, but as wildly opposites of each other, and yet they are thrown together in a summer trip to Prague with Veronica's writer mother for a month-long conference for writers. Dessy is wanting a fresh start after her first boyfriend broke her heart, while Veronica kicked her boyfriend out of her life right before they left town and plans to find as many hot guys she can be with in that month. Dessy is actually wanting to learn while Veronica's mind is as far from writing as it can be. I liked how there was a lot of Prague history and sights shown in the book, so you really feel as if you are really there, so its the perfect summer read. Throw in some hot college guys, a weird group of roommates, and you have the perfect combination in my opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book pulled me in at the the begining and even though the second half of the book was a little slow it was still an enjoyable read. Would reccomend to someone looking for a light funny read.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Best friends Dessy and Veronica get into a college writer's workshop that Veronica's mother is teaching at during the summer in Prague. They will be there for a month, and both girls have different plans for their time. Dessy wants to mend her recently broken heart after her first love, Hamilton, smashed it. Veronica wants to make her newly ex-boyfriend, Boz, jealous by encountering all the guys she possibly can in one month. Once they get to Prague, Veronica even starts to put cut-outs of all the guys she's met up on her wall in their dorm. She calls it the "wall of hot dudes." But not long after they've been there, everything seems to start going wrong. The guy that Dessy is interested in suddenly stops paying attention to her, and Veronica makes enemies with Corky, who is one of their roommates and is apparently crazy. Soon, Dessy and Veronica's friendship is strained, and when Corky reveals something to Dessy about Veronica and Dessy's ex back home, their friendship may be ruined forever. For starters, this was a really great summer read. Reading about two high school girls spending their time in Prague and chasing hot guys is, to me, the ultimate way to spend my own summer. I loved how Dessy and Veronica's friendship was so strong, but they would constantly have these little fights with one another. It was almost like they were sisters, really. Also, A FIELD GUIDE TO HEARTBREAKERS wasn't predictable. It was nice to turn the page and not have what I expected to happen be there. I always appreciate that in a good book. I also really enjoyed the scenes when they are in the workshop and everyone is critiquing each other's stories. Even the crazy girl, Corky, was interesting to me. I'd recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a relaxing summer read.
A_Good_Addiction More than 1 year ago
Filled with outrageous, hilarious situations, sprightly and quirky characters, and a new setting, Field Guide for Heartbreakers is a cute, lively read. Two invigorating and vastly different main characters help add to the hilarity and endearment of this book. Stylistic writing and talented mindset help tie everything together. Dessy is practiced and logical, not one to immediately throw caution to the wind. Still hung up on her ex and fault focused, she is a mix of damaged and naïve. She is a well designed character, her quirks, attributes and flaws coming across strongly. She complements Veronica and though she finds herself in some awkward and obnoxious situations on account of her friend, she is, in the end, a great friend. She starts out strongly developed but grows further and the way Tracy plays this out adds spark into the book. Both through her interactions with Veronica and her classmates in Prague as well as her analysis of both her own writing and others in her class help brings things together. Veronica is rambunctious, boy crazy, blunt and apt to do stupid things. She is overdramatic and exaggerates yet through Dessy's eyes, the reader can understand the affection and appreciation. As with Dessy, Veronica starts out with much of her personality exposed but she grows and changes as the book progresses. Despite this, she still holds many of the same quirks including her penchant for using euphemisms and sayings wrong. The banter between her and Dessy is engaging and amusing, cropping up at unexpected moments. The "hot dudes" the girls meet and go after make up a large part of the characters, coming in a variety of personalities. Some are in their same program- college guys- while others are locals or visiting the area. The way they handle the situations is vastly different and even when things heat up and turn dramatic, the way they care for each other remains the same. The plot is a tangle of love and betrayal and the addition of Corky, their roommate bent on tormenting and maybe killing them, adds another level. As things heat up, the reader is forced to choose which friend their feelings most relate to. Tracy handles this area beautifully, not forcing the reader to side with Dessy simply because it's in her perspective. Dessy's emotions come through the pages to the reader but so do Veronica's. Their interactions with males is comical but the desire for love and attention is palpable. Much of their driving forces are understandable, lurking even in the simplest of places. Rapt with Prague culture and scenery, the setting alone is a fantastic element of the story. The descriptions are beautiful and the reader can get a sense of being there with each place the girls visit. In character narrative, spunk and manner of speaking help bring this book to life as well, from the "hot dudes" to the many other adjunct words and phrases thrown in. Tracy 's writing style is a bold one, exceeding the usual boundaries and spurring the life into her characters. A fantastic take on a love based premise, a unique setting and colorful characters meld together to make Field Guide for Heartbreakers a fantastic, fun read. The plot is paced steadily with plenty of comedy to break up the emotion and keep the reader from growing bored. The writing class adds another element as its writing within a book, rather than art or photography that seems to crop up often in novels. Tracy tests her limits and handles it b
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