Thursday, May 05, 2011

Review: Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson

Book Description via Goodreads:

ARC, 295 pages
May 1, 2011, 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.

Source: Sourcebooks Fire & Paul (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Jessa’s plans for a romantic trip to Italy with her boyfriend, Sean, were ruined when she caught him in some kind of “human pretzel” with Natalie Stone. When your boyfriend cheats on you for no reason, wouldn’t you feel betrayed, cheated, deceived, confused and hurt? That was exactly how Jessa felt. The heartache, the feeling of being left behind and being unwanted wrapped around Jessa through her trip to Italy. Worse, Italy was a place for lovers. Soon, Jessa felt alone in the beautiful, sweet and romantic Italy.
Thankfully, help came when Carissa, Jessa’s best friend, sent 20 envelopes containing the reasons why Sean was a jerk and instructions that might help Jessa cope. She discovered the beauty of Italy and followed Carissa’s instructions and reflected on the reasons she gave, with the help of Tyler and Dylan. But what Jessa did not know was that those 20 envelopes contained not only reasons that she had tolerated but also bits of reality that she was clueless about.

The characters were interesting and they felt real to me. Sean, the cheater, had been a crappy boyfriend (for me). I found him to be the kind of person who did not care to break Jessa’s heart, to give up on something when it was complicated and to quickly move on. I wanted to slap him, strangle him and dump his car in the ocean. Tyler was very supportive, guiding Jessa and comforting her. Dylan was a sweet, thoughtful character who befriended Jessa. Giacomo, the cute Italian boy, appeared all mysterious and rebellious. To be honest, I thought I would see more of him in this novel because he was mentioned in the synopsis. Mr. Campbell and Ms. Jackson proved themselves to be more than teachers, sharing their thoughts and experiences with Jessa. Cruella, Mr. Borington and Madison from the group they toured with, as well as the tour guide herself had stories of their own.

Instructions for a Broken Heart reminded me of Lizzie Mcguire the Movie but with a broken-hearted girl instead of one looking for adventure. Kim Culbertson impressed me again with this beautifully written, heartfelt contemporary. I recommend this to those who got their hearts broken and who were cheated, to artists and to readers of contemporary. Unpredictable, realistic, inspiring and refreshing, readers will be hooked to this story of self-discovery, healing and moving on.


Guess what? Sourcebooks is offering a free ebook of Kim’s first novel, Songs of a Teenage Nomad, from May 3 – May 9. I loved that book so much! I hope you guys like it too! If you want it, just click here!


  1. I simply love this book too! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :)

  2. I think I'm getting this one in the mail soon and I can't wait to read it! I'm glad you loved it and thanks for the review:)

  3. Oh I so want to read this! That you likened it to The Lizzie Mcguire Movie also peaks my interest. I never saw the show, but I enjoyed the movie. I love the idea of the envelopes of reasons why he was a jerk and her following the instructions to overcome it. Plus, Italy!! I adore! Fantastic review, I can't wait to read this!