June 17, 2014

Review: Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend

Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend First in the Broken Hearts & Revenge series
By Katie Finn
Available now from Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan)
Review copy
Read my review of Since You've Been Gone

It is hard to believe that Katie Finn and Morgan Matson are the same person.  BROKEN HEARTS, FENCES AND OTHER THINGS TO MEND starts out promising, with a strong narrative voice from a young girl getting over heartbreak.  But things go off the rails with a plot that is way too drawn out and requires the heroine to act like an absolute idiot.

Gemma ruined several lives when she was 11.  I found what she did suitably devastating for a dark past secret, but found it unbelievable that none of the adults in the situation spoke enough to each other to figure out what was actually happening.  Now, Gemma has run in to two figures from that summer: her old best friend, Hallie, and her brother.  Luckily, Gemma is carrying a cup labeled "Sophie" so they don't realize it's her.

Gemma is determined to make amends, and she's also falling for Josh.  Their relationship is really sweet, and their conversations about past relationship traumas make their connection something believable and more than physical.  At the same time, bad things keep happening to Gemma.  It absolutely can't be because of an extremely obvious twist.  Seriously, Gemma may not be the smartest, but she's smart enough to put two and two together, so it's frustrating that she doesn't.

(And I will eat my hat if Hallie and Josh's mother isn't the author of the ersatz Twilight novel.)

Basically, BROKEN HEARTS, FENCES AND OTHER THINGS TO MEND wastes good character work and a terrific summer romance on a glacial, silly plot.  I somewhat want to finish the trilogy to see Gemma grow up, but I doubt I will.  This was a fairly frustrating reading experience.

(However, if you are interested in reading it yourself, Macmillan started a readalong yesterday, so now is a good time.)

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