Unbreak my Heart
Clem Williams used to love sailing with her family. She used to love a lot of things. And then sophomore year happened, and Clem's not sure she - or her heart - will ever be the same again. Her parents have decided that a summer on the sailboat will be good for Clem, especially if she'll just open up and let people know what's going on, so school ends and on to the boat Clem goes. Unhappily, but even close-quartered family time beats staying at home dealing with the aftermath. And, bonus: No boys on the water.
The summer is barely underway before Clem realizes how wrong she was. Not only is all the family time really hard for her to handle, there is a boy on the water. A cute boy. With a great, sunny personality. Who seems to like her - because he doesn't know what she is. A boy named James, who is on the river with his father, traveling the same lazy sail that Clem's family is. Cue disaster. Or not. James's cheerful persistence, without being pushy, and the sometimes tough love of her family, help Clem start to strip away the layers and look back at what happened - even sharing the heartbreak with everyone. It hurts, but it helps, and Clem begins to start putting pieces of herself back together again. Because when you're sixteen, summer is the perfect time to "unbreak" your heart. Distance allows clarity, and tough, persistent love - with a dash of careful charm - is the perfect remedy. Especially as you realize that maybe, just maybe, your heart's not the only one that got busted.
Clem's story tugged on my heart and had me devouring the read. There was just enough 'mystery' to it to keep me guessing, trying to figure out exactly what had happened. We're told the whole story in a sort of flashback process: with Clem slowly remembering and reliving the events of the previous school year. It helps build a sense of empathy for her struggle, because in her misery she's a bit of a brat at times. I loved James, and the added depth to his story as well. The whole concept of a summer sailing a river is a foreign one to me, but works as the perfect backdrop for Clem's story. (Plus, that cover. So gorgeous!)
eARC provided by publisher for review.