Melissa Walker’s book Unbreak My Heart is a smart and swift coming of age tale that follows the very imperfect heroine Clementine Williams. The book begins with Clem and her family preparing to spend the summer on their boat. Clem is heavy hearted about being away from all of her usual contacts and social media for the entire summer but at the same time she is thankful for the timing. She is leaving town after a major life change in her life which occurs largely due to her own choices.
“My heart was pounding and I wondered if she could hear it. Can people hear hearts?”
With other authors the storyline could‘ve been exhausting, “Okay, we get it!” but Walker has a way of revealing the small details of the situation that haunts Clem in ways that are realistically natural and painfully familiar. Often her memories are triggered when she overhears simple statements or goes about her daily routine.
“This is really good, I say. “How come you’re giving it to me?” “So you’ll remember what’s real.”
Clem’s growth is due in part to her new friendship with a boy, James, who is also sailing the great lakes for the summer. James has his own set of problems but he deals with them very differently than Clem and it’s rewarding to watch them relate to each other.
Unbreak My Heart leads readers to think about what is considered “wrong” as they relive the events that trouble Clem. It also leads readers to question where lines fall in relationships and what constitutes them being crossed. The book is about memories and forgiveness, family and boating but most of all, it’s about love. It’s a beautifully written book that keeps a clipped pace of narrative which leaves the reader fulfilled.