Monday 2 May 2011

Review: Instructions for a Broken Heart - Kim Culbertson

Genre: Contemporary YA
Pages: 320
Published: May 1st 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.

My thoughts:
This was another lovely book by Culbertson, and with this one she has become one of my favourite authors of YA books. She has a way of putting that extra into a tale.

Jessa Gardner is a young girl with a lot on her plate, all different clubs and projects. She knows what she wants, but she is also an artist, something she forgets at times. I liked her, and how she found herself again. Because just before leaving for Rome she gets her heart broken by a cheating boyfriend. This is all about her journey, finding who she is, what happened, and what has been going on. She travels through Rome with her drama group, tensions run high, and she follows the instructions from her best friend. And this leads to funny situations and sad ones too.

This is how contemporary YA should be. Warm, funny, thoughtful and it just leaves you happy, because there is always a rainbow after the rain, and sunshine. It leaves you whole. 

The writing is good too, it's easy, it flows, and when built around a good story there is nothing to complain about. To be honest the only negative thing I could think of is that Jessa reads The Portrait of the artist as a young man and thinks the book rocks (while I think the book is the most boring book ever written), so there you go, nothing bad to say about it.

Like I said, this is how contemporary YA should be according to me. No one too bitchy, not too much drama or angst, but it's still there just not in abundance. It's just real. I could close this book with a smile on my face and wish Jessa all the best. It's a book I would recommend to all, and I will read more by this author.

Very good.


Source: From the Publisher

I almost forgot my news:

Sourcebooks will be offering a FREE e-book of Kim’s previous novel, Songs of a Teenage Nomad, from May 3 – May 9. All you need to do is click here: 

So remember that tomorrow because that book was just as lovely. 


  1. This sounds very sweet!

  2. This sounded like a lovely book! I've never read anything by the author but I'm adding her books on my wishlist. Thanks for the heads up on the free e-book by the way :)

  3. A lovely suggestion and you are perfectly right :The Portrait of the artist as a young man bored me to oblivion. I read it for sure and I don't remember anything.

  4. This just sounds too too cute!! I'll have to keep an eye out for it.

  5. I love finding new contemporary reads! Glad to know this story is set up the way you think it should be, happy and sweet!

    And thanks so much for the link to the free ebook! That made my day.

  6. Sounds like a great read and I'm so adding that free book tomorrow!!

  7. Chris
    It was :)

    She is really good, and I am very sure that you would enjoy her books too

    Lol! I am glad I wasn't the only one. We had to read it for this class, so I did read it like 3 times, ugh, so boring!

  8. Carrie
    You would sure like it too :)

    It was just right. Sure it was sad too, but you always knew it was for the better

    Do that :D

  9. This sounds like a book I would really enjoy. I'll definitely look out for it. And thanks for the heads up on Culbertson's free book offer. It seems like a great way to try out this author and I'm heading there right now.

  10. This sounds like a great one!

  11. This sounds really good, and cute cover too.

  12. The book sounds good and I really love the cover!

  13. Sounds lovely. Sometimes I need a read that not too complicated without the drama and angst.

  14. This sounds so sweet. I really think this is for me. Oh and I didn't think Portrait was the greatest, but it did have a few small moments of brilliance. I think people tend to focus on those things IMO. Whatever that is worth (nothing.. lol). Thanks for the heads up on the free book too!

  15. Sounds good and thanks for the tip about the free ebook!

  16. YAY! I really loved this one, and I'm so glad to see you did, too. It was sweet, but it certainly wasn't overdone :)

  17. Sounds cute! Thanks for sharing.

  18. That's a recipe for living an adventurous life - do one thing every day that you wouldn't normally do! I can just imagine all the trouble I'd get into because I tend to play it safe :)

  19. I have heard so much about Kim Culbertson's books - i really want to read her books!
    Thanks for the lovely review! Instructions for a Broken Heart sounds like something I would enjoy - fun and relaxing.

  20. Thanks for letting me know about Songs for a Teenage nomad, I'll be downloading that for my daughter


  21. This sounds rather lovely and definitely one I would read!

  22. Nice review. This sounds like a good book and it does have a really pretty cover too.

  23. Simcha
    She is a wonderful writer, and the books are just the kind of YA I like. Because they can be read by everyone

    It certainly was.

    I do think that her coat made me buy one, cos I bought a read one this week ;)

    It's such a lovely cover. They did good there.

    I can't handle drama and angst, it usually just drives me insane

  24. Melissa
    Lol, oh Portrait, I think I was just mostly confused, but yes of course there were some brilliant writing in there.
    Do check out the freebie cos I am sure you would enjoy the books too

    It is definitely worth checking out

    I think that is what I liked, sweet but nothing was too overdone in any direction. I could connect with her

    I'd recommend it :)

    I sure live life too safe, I should try new things, even if they are not fun in the end

  25. Misha
    She is that good, I am sure you would enjoy these books too :D So both thumbs up from me

    I hope she enjoys it!

    You would surely like it too :) A lovely book

    It's one of those books everyone can read and enjoy

  26. Not a book for me, but I like your enthusiastic review about it!

  27. Thanks Aurian :)
    It was just that good

  28. I tend to avoid YA books. But I might have to suck it up and give this book a try. I like self discovery stories while visiting foreign countries. The story always makes me want to runaway and go discover! :) Great review girl.

  29. ING
    I read them if they are good, so no angst or petty drama for me. But this one was good, and I would love to find myself in Italy too

  30. This sounds really good~I totally forgot about her first book, and remember really wanting to read taht one.

  31. I love her writing! So glad to hear this is another winner!

  32. I don't read too much YA but I'll have to keep this book in mind. I don't like those overly dramatic teenage stories, so this sounds more realistic to me on that front. Great review!

  33. bucky
    Then you gotta hurry and check out their website and get it for free

    I will say the same :)

    She is wonderful. I can't wait for her next book now :D

    They are just so..arghh, nope I do not like it. And that is a reason why I am a bit on the fence when it comes to YA cos so many are like that

  34. I have this one on my TBR list. I didn't realize it was YA! LOL I'm glad you mentioned it's not too angsty or full of drama. That makes me more inclined to read it :)

    Thanks for the review!

  35. The Book V
    Good to hear, do read it since it's good, and yes not full of those things



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