My Thoughts On: Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker

Posted June 4, 2012 by Asheley in Uncategorized / 29 Comments

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker
Published by Bloomsbury
Publish Date: May 22, 2012
240 Pages
Source: NetGalley/Bloomsbury

Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life.

Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now.

Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart? –(summary excerpt from Goodreads)

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker 

My Thoughts:  Oh, this book! It killed me, you all, it really did. Some people are saying it is a book about cheating, but I thought it was really something much different than that: I thought it was about friendship, faith, and love. The cheating thing is present in the book, and while most people find that cheating is never okay and don’t want to read about it blah blah blah, this story isn’t that way at all. It’s so much more than that.

Clementine Williams has a broken heart – not the regular kind of broken heart, but the kind she will probably never fully get over. She didn’t mean to fall hard for her best friend’s boyfriend because, well, they were both friends too. Sometimes things just happen and you cannot, you absolutely cannot, help the way you feel. So Clem fell for Ethanaccidentally, as these things happen – and he kind of fell for her too. And then Ethan kind of pushed things, which of course, played on Clem’s emotions. Nothing ever happened even though tons of stuff was kept private between the two of them because, well, they were friends, right? And friends have secrets. 

The problem with all of this lies in the fact that even when confronted by BFF Amanda and even when opportunity after opportunity arose, Clem never came clean about her feelings to her best friend – which is considered by some to be lying. Clem also never did anything to stop Ethan’s advances – nothing overly forward, but they did flirt very heavily and that kind of thing just runs wild in a girl’s heart. (Y’all know what I’m talking about.) So nobody told Amanda anything – she had to find out on her own. Big, big mistake. 

Once BFF Amanda finds out about this relationship (we’ll call it a crush, but it was a mad crush), she immediately cuts ties with Clem without even hearing her side of the story. The rest of their friends follow Amanda’s lead, and Ethan cuts ties with her as well to save his relationship with his girlfriend. Clem is left alone and reeling – reeling from things that spiraled out of control in a hurry. She was not alone in it – Ethan was certainly an active participant! – but she is certainly alone now. No one calls, no one talks to her. She feels like the lowest of the low and the guilt she feels is running her over. 

Not really understanding what their daughter is going through, Clem’s parents decide a summer vacation is just what they all need. So they pack up their small boat and the three, along with Clem’s awesome younger sister Olive, set sail for a summer adventure on the river. Let me repeat: all summer on the river, on a small boat, grieving the loss of her friends (all of them), the boy she likes/loves, and carrying the guilt from everything on her shoulders. Clem is certainly not excited, but her family is! 

Clem wasn’t paying that much attention the day James entered the picture – James, the red-headed funny guy. She barely noticed at first that his boat was sailing almost the same path as hers. Suddenly, every time she turns around, James is there. It annoys her a little bit at first, but James is persistent, patient, and kind. James and Olive certainly hit it off well, and eventually Clem comes around. She begins to shed some of her guilt and allow herself to have a good time. And you know what? She realized this James guy isn’t such a bad guy after all. Before long, sparks are flying all over the place and there is a romance that I thought was fantastic.


Unbreak My Heart is incredible from start to finish. There are all sorts of things in it that I love in a book and I couldn’t get enough of it. On a personal note, I connected with Clem like crazy. I’ve had this happen to me – I’ve been in Clem’s shoes. While I understand that other readers may not like her because of “what she did” I could certainly empathize with her feelings because I understand how easily it is to get caught up in the rush of just being around someone that is just like you, thinks like you, acts like you, etc. I understand that sometimes that rush that feels so good to you and seems so right at the time can hurt people that you love and change the course of your life forever. So, I loved Clem from the beginning as she made my heart both swell with love and hurt over and over. I hope that when people read about Clem, they’re able to be open-minded enough throughout the first part of the story, because it isn’t until later in the story that she reveals what really, really happened to make things the way they ended up being. 

Clem’s family, James, and the rest of the small secondary cast are great. These are people I want to know in my real life. First of all, Clem’s family loved her, cared for her, and took care of her, which is something that always sticks out in YA fiction to me because it just isn’t as prevalent as I would like. They are wonderful. They don’t know initially what her problem is, although they know something is bothering her, but they wait until she is ready to share her experience. When she does – they aren’t mad – they actually hug on her, encourage her, and love her for what she’s been through! Yes, it’s true! And little sister Olive is the most fun, quirky, and awesome character I’ve read in a while. Her persona broke up the sparse times of heaviness and added some comic-relief and heart to the story. 

James is the guy that lots of readers are falling hard for. (Is it because he has red hair? What is the deal with red-headed guys, people?) He is quiet at the right times and only talks a lot in this situation when it is appropriate. HELLO, PERFECT MALE! He isn’t overly quiet or standoffish, though, and Clem finds herself comfortable enough to open up to James when she cannot let her walls down for anyone else. I loved the personality Melissa Walker gave him – he loves to draw, he likes to fish, and he is perfectly content to hang out with little sister Olive even when Clem is not around. He is really a great YA male character – not the stereotypical one we read about all the time.  

OH! And Clem and James loved music. Good music! So music kept popping up every so often in the book, and I love it when it isn’t cheesy and bad. (Ethan loved music too, for that matter. Which is part of the whole mess that lead to the summer on the river, which lead to the new romance, etc. The music was important! 


Unbreak My Heart is the perfect contemporary story for someone who doesn’t mind reading books with some issues in them, although I don’t think the issues come off as too heavy. Some people will be against what they consider an issue of cheating, but I think if they’ll give the book a chance, they’ll see that this isn’t a “cheating book” at all – there’s much, much more here than that. Unbreak My Heart is about Clem’s progression from a guilt-ridden, lonely girl who let her emotions get the best of her to a person who becomes able to move beyond her mistake, begins to shed some of her grief, to forgive the ones who have wronged her in this situation, and maybe let down her walls enough so that she can love and be loved in return. The setting is wonderfully unique (a boat!), the story is unique and completely relevant to both young adults and adults (yes, adults), and once again Melissa Walker has captured my heart with an intense and emotional story that read almost like a fun beach read. I love this book so much, I’m such a fan of it, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has not picked it up yet or put it on their wishlist. 


Unbreak My Heart will appeal to fans of:

YA Contemporary
Great Secondary Characterization
Awesome Setting: A Boat!
Books Containing Great Music
Books Containing Issues: tons of issues, but not to heavy

Alternating Chapters: Clem’s present & Clem’s past
(the past being before the summer)

Unbreak My Heart
by Melissa C. Walker
is currently available for purchase.

**I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion and review. I received no compensation for my thoughts. Thank you Bloomsbury USA & NetGalley!


Look for my
Interview with Author Melissa Walker
& a Giveaway of Unbreak My Heart
in the following blog post! 


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


29 responses to “My Thoughts On: Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker

  1. Absolutely spectacular review, darling! 🙂 I had no idea this book was about cheating (I haven't read the synopsis of it, and yours is actually the first review I've sat down to read!). It sounds really.. thought-provoking and poignant, and I can't wait to read this myself! I actually regret not including it in my schedule, but hey, you've seen how crazy it already is, right? 😀

    Thank you so much for featuring this great title! 🙂 LOVE your thoughts on it!

    • Evie, I was so excited to give two days to Melissa Walker because I've loved her so much recently as I've learned of her. This book is one that I'm seeing being called a cheating book but it just is not, at least in my opinion. I was initially attracted to it because of my immediate connection (just in the summary alone) with the main character, Clem. Once again, just like with Small Town Sinners (and yet differently), Melissa is able to write big emotion but it just doesn't add too much weight to your shoulders or feel too heavy. There is substance, but not burden. Great, great book. Loved it.

  2. I have to be honest…I've seen several reviews on this, but yours is the first I've read; the title completely turned me off to it. However, the whole on-a-sailboat thing and the ginger guy… 😉 (I don't know, there's just something about gingers! haha) makes me want to give it a shot. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • HA! The ginger thing! I laugh so hard at that because I see people say that all the time. I fall all over a great voice and friendly-bicker with my twitter friends about voice vs red hair. It's hilarious. Anyway, the setting is fun and unique – makes for a great story. And also the story is just great. Don't let the title turn you off – this is a really, really great book! I hope you'll give it a shot.

  3. I'm glad to hear that this is more than just a "cheating book." After reading your summary I think I will like Unbreak My Heart a lot (way more than I initially thought when hearing about the book).

    Also, it contains music and is set on a boat!?! Sold.

    • Kat, this book slayed me. But not too heavy-like. It was the perfect mix of emotion and sweet swoon. And the music and setting make it almost quirky, which lightens the subject up a bit. It's great. Great great great.

  4. Great review! I read the book earlier this weekend and I completely agree with you. It isn't a book about cheating; there is so much more that is discussed.

    • Yep Christin, I loved it. I figured I'd like it when I started reading it, but I didn't realize I'd like it as much as I did. There's really much more to it than cheating, particularly since Clem's situation was a little misunderstood and she wasn't given the chance to explain. I found myself really feeling sorry for her. Great book.

  5. Jen

    I really need to read this:) I can't wait til it comes out:) Until then i guess i'm stuck waiting:) lol:)

  6. When I first heard about this a few months I was looking forward to reading it. But now after reading your review I am completely sold!

    I don't mind cheating. I know it's bad, terrible in fact, but if the author handles it delicately and well then I don't have a problem with it. For instance, cheating is present in Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay, and although I've read reviews which didn't approve of it, I loved this book! Not for the reason that cheating is involved but because this book is amazing. I don't approve of cheating but so far what I've read in YA hasn't bothered me that much…or at least what I can remember.

    If people were once unsure about this book I'm positive that they'll be running to the shops to get a copy after your splendid review 🙂

    • Yes, Rebecca, I see what you're saying. I think, though, that you'll see that Clem and Ethan were wrong in their actions, certainly, but nothing happened. So the line is blurry and gray. Is it cheating or not is the question – still, you're able to empathize with Clem because of all of her guilt and inner turmoil as she spends all of this time grieving the loss of all of her friends and this boy that she really likes, completely away from civilization and social media, stuck with her parents and sister on a boat. It's really just well done and there is such great character development as she grows from one way to another toward the end. I just feel like the book is just way more than the underlying current of cheating that is present. It's so well-written that I had a hard time disliking Clem at all. Just a brilliant book. I'm a fan of how well Melissa Walker has been able to do hard topics like this with ease after this book and Small Town Sinners.

      I hope you get a chance to read it either by getting a copy or library, or maybe borrowing one. It's so great and worth it. I'll definitely want to read it again.

  7. I definitely didn't think of this as a cheating book either-the themes about friendship and family were just so much stronger! And I'm very glad it wasn't as I've hated a lot of books where the MC ends up with her "best" friend's boyfriend. This one was so much more and I just loved it!

  8. OMG, I saw this one on NetGalley, but I wasn't really interested, but your review changed my mind, I really want to read it now, so thank you so much for this review! One more for my wishlist 🙂

    • I do that so often – overlook one on NetGalley, thinking I'm not interested and then read something that makes me facepalm (most recently, Scarlet by AC Gaughen). That is unrelated to Contemps, I know, but I totally understand. This one was just really great, better than I expected, and I did expect for it to be good already. Definitely throw it on the wishlist!

    • I didn't miss out on Scarlet & I loved it, but this one is the 2nd YA contemporary lately I've missed out on on NetGalley, the 1st one being First Comes Love.

  9. Okay, Ethan and Amanda (mostly Ethan) sound like real jerks. Come on! Why can't you just listen to her side of the story! And lying to say your relationship when your just as guilty? Pig. I hate people like that. But I will read the book. 😀

    • THANK. YOU. They really gave Clem such a hard time without hearing her out, which all happened before the book began, but she told through flashback chapters.

      I think you'll like the book, though, Tayte – because it's much more than just Ethan and Amanda. They play a smaller role than the summer on the boat and Clem's progression of character. READ IT!!!

  10. From your review I would agree that the book is about "friendship, faith, and love" versus just cheating. That would seem to be the theme on the outside but it's what results from that act that really matters.

  11. From what you say in your review, I would agree that the book is actually about "friendship, faith, and love" rather than just cheating. That may be the theme on the outside but it's what results from that act that actually matters!

  12. What a thorough review!!! To be honest, I didn't want to spoil the book so I just skimmed it. But I have read Walker's other novel and really enjoyed it. Her writing style is really unique and definitely makes you think. This contemporary sounds just brilliant and I've already added it to my wishlist.

    • I think it's great that you put it on your wishlist. If you liked Melissa's other book(s) you'll certainly like this one. I haven't read that many contemporary books that I've really really liked, but I do love her books.

  13. Beautiful cover. It has such a summery feel to it like alll the Sarah Dessen books!
    And amazing review! I cant wait to get my hands on this one!

    • I can't believe I've never read a Sarah Dessen book! I hope I can squeeze one into contemporary month!

      This book is VERY summery. It's incredible. I love it SO SO MUCH. It's probably one of my favorite contemps that I've read so far. I highly highly recommend it!

  14. I am dying to read this book and I am so glad you enjoyed it. The cover look so beautiful it make me want to go to the beach 🙂

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