cover image Unbreak My Heart

Unbreak My Heart

Melissa Walker. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-59990-528-0

Walker (Small Town Sinners) brings honest, heartfelt storytelling to the tale of 16-year-old Clementine, who’s embarking on a summer boat trip with her parents while leaving a ravaged social life behind. As her family sails along the Midwestern river portion of the Great Loop, Clem agonizes over the events that led to her fall from grace. The story emerges slowly, and what could have been a familiar retelling of a girl falling for her best friend’s boyfriend becomes something new and complex, as Clem reveals more of what took place. Early on in the trip, Clem meets James, a boy who’s also traveling the Great Loop and whose cheerful demeanor covers his own painful background. Their love story is pleasingly romantic, though it’s Clem’s relationship with her parents and younger sister, Olive, that are the core of the story, as they work to support Clem through this difficult time in her life. Clem’s breakthrough is satisfying and true, as is the ending that brings Clem home, but leaves open what will happen next. Ages 12–up. Agent: Douglas Stewart, Sterling Lord Literistic. (May)