Monday, May 17, 2010

Review: A Field Guide For Heartbreakers

A Field Guide For Heartbreakers
By Kristen Tracy
Publication date: May 4, 2010
My rating: ****

Synopsis from Goodreads:
When best friends Dessy and Veronica arrive in Prague for a prestigious writing workshop, their priorities diverge. Dessy, fragile from a recent breakup, has come to mend her broken heart by honing her craft. Veronica has just dumped her boyfriend and plans to blow off the workshop. She’d rather master a different subject—boys. Veronica gets right to work on her “man-wall”— one paper cutout for every hot-dude she meets— and embarks on her mission to cover a wall of their dorm by summer’s end. At times, Dessy thinks her friend might be a genius. At others, Veronica seems more like an agent of chaos. As if their love lives weren’t complicated enough, soon a homicidal suitemate is bent on killing Veronica and Dessy, and both girls are hiding secrets that could wreck their friendship. Well, no one ever said breaking hearts was a simple craft. . . .
My review:

The title makes it look like this is mainly a romance but that is misleading. While Dessy does pine over her relationship with her ex and develop a new crush, the focus of the story is her friendship with Veronica and her beliefs about herself. I thought Dessy was a likeable main character. I love how much she cares about Veronica and how she tries to be there for her friend. She is not without flaws however. I did find her whining over her breakup to be annoying after awhile but it was her first major relationship. I also thought she was a bit of a doormat but thankfully she realizes this and she really grows over the course of the novel. Veronica is very boy crazy and pretty much the opposite of Dessy. Dessy is more reserved and introverted and Veronica is a complete extrovert. I thought she could be really annoying and at some parts really hated her character but I found that there is more to her than a loud mouthed, spoiled flirt.

For being teenagers, Dessy and Veronica had a lot of freedom to roam around Prague on their own but I guess that it works well with the storyline even if it wasn't very realistic. Veronica can't exactly meet all those guys if she is with her mom all the time and it wouldn't have been such a fun book. Since Veronica is working so hard on her "man-wall" there are a number of male characters in the book, including a love interest for Dessy. I won't say any more because I don't want to give anything away but I am very happy about the ending and who Dessy ends up with. Veronica's mom is another important character as she is the instructor of the class the girls are taking but she also has a very complicated relationship with her daughter. I did wish that this was explored more in the book but since Dessy is the main character I can understand why it wasn't fully developed. The other major characters are Veronica and Dessy's suitemates in their dorm. Annie Earl is really sweet but it is crazy suitemate Corky Tina Baker who steals the show.

The setting is probably my favorite part of the book. Since Veronica and Dessy are taking a writing seminar in Prague we get to read about some of the really neat tourist spots like The Old Town Hall Astronomical Clock, The Dancing House, and the Spanish Synagogue. I wish there had been more descriptions of Prague and more details of things like the cuisine and other cultural experiences. I also enjoyed the excerpts of short stories throughout the book that the different characters are working on. Corky's story is truly disturbing but I enjoyed the other characters' "stories" and I thought that added something unique to the book.

Overall I found The Field Guide to Heartbreakers to be a really fun reading experience. I would suggest this to fans of Maureen Johnson, E. Lockhart, and YA chick lit in general. It would be a great book for summer reading.


Note: I read an ARC of this title which was passed on to me but this did not influence my review in any way

5 comments:

  1. I'm really glad you enjoyed it! I'm definitely a fan of both those authors and chick lit, so I'm excited to read this one. Thanks for the awesome review :D

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  2. lovely review! this one's in my TBR pile :)

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  3. I love Prague and this book sounds fun ( I am addicted to YA Chick Lit)

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  4. This sounds like a great story! I love the title too-- Thanks for sharing!

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