Jessa Gardner is a busy girl. Between drama, Honors classes, sports, and other extracurricular activities, she barely has time to read, let alone time for a boyfriend. But she has one, Sean, and she makes it work.
That is, until she finds him in the drama club's costume barn with "the Boob Job" Natalie Stone. What's worse, is that she has to go on a trip to Italy with them in three days, or not go to the country that she's been dreaming about since she was a little girl.
Armed with twenty envelopes from her best friend Carissa titled "Top Twenty Reasons He's a Slimy Jerk Bastard," that each tell her a reason he's a - well, a slimy jerk bastard, and an instruction telling her to do one un-Jessa-like thing everyday for the ten day trip, Jessa sets out to try to get out of the hole she can't seem to get out of.
This book was adorable, first off. I loved the incorporation of Italy's history, which not many books pull off without sounding like a history book. But Kim Culbertson combined the fiction of Instructions for a Broken Heart and the history of Italy with such ease, that no glue leaked out when she sealed them together.
Jessa was such a mess - and for a good reason! - the entire trip, that I couldn't wait to see what crazy instructions her best friend Carissa would tell her to do. I also couldn't wait to see if Jessa would actually do them! Jessa grew so much during the trip to Italy, and at the end, she definitely grew into a better person. One that doesn't take for granted the people and the things around you. One that lives more in the present and sees the beauty in life, rather than always planning each step toward her future.
The only bad thing I concluded about Jessa was that she wasn't described very much, so I never got a true picture of what she looked like, besides the cover. I would have liked more descriptions of her appearance.
The rest of the characters each had their own personality and although some of them could have been classified as "filler characters," I really couldn't tell and found all of them to be enjoyable to read.
Now the writing. The writing was fantastic. Better than fantastic, it was beautiful. It was so poetic at times, but not in a way that seemed like Culbertson was trying too hard. It seemed to me that she just writes that beautifully. She shows you a picture while you read, but doesn't show you too much, so you can't come up with your own picture of what the characters and setting looks like.
The plot was fast-paced and had a couple twists to it that I didn’t expect. The ending is a slight cliff hanger that makes me think Jessa might have more adventures in store for her in the future, which I’d definitely read.
Overall, I loved Instructions for a Broken Heart and there was only one thing that held me back from giving it a perfect score. If you love adorable, fast, light reads, definitely pick this one up. You won't regret it.
I give Instructions for a Broken Heart a 4 out of 5.
Disclaimer: Book was provided free to me from the publisher for review. No compensation was received.