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Cures for Heartbreak by Margo Rabb

Cures for Heartbreak

by Margo Rabb

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Mia is in her freshmen year of high school when her mother is diagnosed with cancer - 12 days later Mia's mother dies and Mia is left trying to figure out how to go on living. 3 months later her father has a heart attack, but survives. Now Mia's attending Healthy Heart programs with her dad, trying to navigate romantic waters, and struggling to keep her grades up at school. Based on Rabb's own experiences with losing her mother and father when she was a young adult, "Cures" is told in loosely connected sections some of which have been published previously. ( )
  JenJ. | Mar 31, 2013 |
Although it was a quick and easy read, I wasn't very enamoured with this YA novel. Mia is dealing with a crapload of things, but I didn't feel as though I got a sense of her feelings but rather just a commentary. Also I never really warmed to her, and considering the Afterword states that a lot of this is the author's own story it doesn't help things out. I enjoy many YA novels, but maybe this should have been turned into a memoir instead of these disjointed stories.
  celiafrances | Oct 25, 2011 |
I found this book to be very well written and touching.When Mia is 15, her mother is diagnosed with melanoma, then dies 12 days later. Mia had been very close to her mother. They understood each other, in the same way Mia's sister Alex and their father understand each other. Just as the family is figuring out their new roles, Mia's father has a heart attack, followed by Alex leaving for college.The book is about Mia, her growing up and her healing. Along the way, we see some of her father's story and her sister's story as well. Each of them is an interesting character, but only Mia is truly compelling. Mia meets some very intriguing people along the way, usually through her father's hospital stays. We see all the other characters through Mia's teenage eyes, and it is quite a sight.The author does a wonderful job of showing us Mia's grief without wallowing in it. We see her explosion at school, and her sorting through her memories of her mother. We see her translate her concern for her health as well as her father's into an obsession with healthy eating, and a panic over her own mole. We also see a number of normal teenage moments in a not-so-normal situation. We see Mia's search for a new best friend, and her quest for a boyfriend, which swings between funny, touching, and (at one point) terrifying.This was a book club read for me, and not one I'd have picked up on my own (I hadn't even heard of it). Everyone in the book club enjoyed it. We didn't have a very in-depth discussion. We each pointed out parts that we'd enjoyed, had discussions about some of the characters, and talked about the link between the book and the author's life. The discussion then drifted to other subjects. I think we could have had more of a discussion, and we might have on a different month. I'd evaluate this as an OK book club book, with material worth discussing, but you have to work at finding it.This book was a very quick read, seeming even shorter than its 238 pages. I read it in one sitting, and we all found it moved quickly. The book delivers what it promises, so if the description appeals to you, give the book a try. ( )
  ImBookingIt | Mar 26, 2010 |
Reviewed by Lynn Crow for TeensReadToo.com

CURES FOR HEARTBREAK reads more like a series of interconnected short stories than a novel, but the format works. It gives the readers brief, poignant glimpses into the life of its narrator, Mia, during the first year after her mother's sudden death. Told with both humor and painful rawness, the novel should resonate with those who have experienced a loss, and make those who haven't feel almost as if they've been there, too.

What makes the disjointed structure work better than anything else is the many well-developed characters. Each chapter focuses on Mia's relationships with those around her: her father, her older sister, her friends and teachers at school, the people she meets at the hospital, and her memories of her mother. Every character is fleshed out on the page, with distinctive voices and quirks, so even in the short glimpses readers get, they get a clear picture of the relationships and how Mia is starting to get back to "normal" life among them.

Mia's voice is equally important in making the novel work. Where it could have been flat-out depressing and perhaps overwhelming, her sarcastic comments and comic approaches to certain situations (for example, she images the funeral home as a morbid Broadway musical) break the sadness, while also making the tragedy seem all that much worse in its absurdity. Wavering between jadedness and insecurity, Mia comes across as fully human, too old to be a kid any more but too young to know how to be an adult. Teen readers should find her an easy character to sympathize with, and an entertaining narrator for the journey.

CURES FOR HEARTBREAK is not an easy read, simply because of the subject matter and the depth with which it is portrayed. But the humor and the engaging characters will draw readers in, and Mia's progress through mourning will keep them reading, wondering how she will reshape her life after this unexpected turn. She makes mistakes, and struggles with her emotions and fears, but she grows and learns as well. And in the end, there's more hope than sorrow. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 10, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385734026, Hardcover)

"IF SHE DIES, I'll die," are the words 15-year-old Mia Perlman writes in her journal the night her mother is diagnosed with cancer. Nine days later, Mia's mother is dead, and Mia, her older sister, and her father must find a way to live on in the face of sudden, unfathomable loss. But even in grief, there is the chance for new beginnings in this poignant, funny, and hopeful novel.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:37 -0400)

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As she navigates adolescence, ninth-grader Mia must deal with her mother' s recent death and her father's illness while she searches for friendship and love in the world around her.

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