Review: Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn

Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn

Gemma just got dumped and is devastated. She finds herself back in the Hamptons for the summer—which puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friend that she wronged five years earlier. Do people hold grudges that long?

When a small case of mistaken identity causes everyone, including Hallie and her dreamy brother Josh, to think she’s someone else, Gemma decides to go along with it.

Gemma’s plan is working (she’s finding it hard to resist Josh), but she’s finding herself in embarrassing situations (how could a bathing suit fall apart like that!?). Is it coincidence or is someone trying to expose her true identity? And how will Josh react if he finds out who she is?

I received Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Getting dumped at Target affects Gemma’s entire summer. No longer able to go to Colombia to dig latrines with her now ex-boyfriend, she’s shipped off to spend the summer in the Hamptons with her father. Gemma hasn’t been to the Hamptons in five years, not since she did something terrible when she was 11. It wasn’t on the level of murder, but it was really bad. I can’t even say her heart was in the right place, because it wasn’t. She was acting selfishly and, even at 11, she should have known that what she was doing was wrong. She planned it out, so it was a premeditated horrible thing and, from the story she tells, at no time did she question she was doing.

Gemma still feels bad about it, as she should. Really, it was awful! She spends the entirety of Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend trying to make amends, but she goes about it in the wrong way: by lying about who she is. (This is possible thanks to five years and recently dyed hair.) Of course, this means sneaking around so that people who know her (namely her father and her father’s boss and his entourage, who they’re staying with in the Hamptons) won’t out her — and won’t find out themselves what she’s doing.

I think we’re supposed to like Gemma and to feel sympathy for her, but something is seriously wrong with this girl. She seems unable to ever make a good choice and she seemingly doesn’t understand that if she wants someone to think she’s a good person, she should try being a good person. And yet she seemed like a perfectly nice girl at the beginning of the book. Now that I think about it, though, there are mentions throughout the book that she spent the past two years going along with everything her (ex-)boyfriend liked, assuming his interests as her own, so I guess she’s just extremely immature.

That doesn’t excuse what she did at 11 though. Or all the lying and deceit in the present either. And it doesn’t make me like her any more either.

Gemma’s romance with Josh is slow to build. He’s recently been through a bad breakup himself, so he can relate to Gemma. Josh seems like a nice guy who probably deserves a better girl than Gemma.

The saving grace of Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend is that it’s well-written and, yes, it actually made me want to read more. Most of the book was predictable but there’s something at the end that I didn’t see coming. The cliffhanger ending makes me want the next book now!

3 1/2 stars



  1. Nice review 🙂 I love the cover of this one, and the premise sounds pretty good. I think I’ll add it to the bottom of my tbr list, so I have it bookmarked to read later!
    finley jayne recently posted…Bout of Books Challenge #1 Books I’m Looking Forward to ReadingMy Profile

  2. I think it is good that a books is so well written that it makes you want to read more. However, I hate the sound of Gemma. I think YA characters have the ability to be mature most of the time! 🙂 I like how she tries to make amends though. I think I may swerve this one!

    Thanks for sharing & great review! xx

    Alex @ The Shelf Diaries
    Alex 🙂 recently posted…ARC Review: We Were Liars by E. LockhartMy Profile

  3. I saw this one mentioned earlier today. After reading your review, I’m not so sure, but I do want to know what the really horrible thing was, so I’ll probably pick it up. Thanks for stopping by!
    Kim@Time2Read recently posted…Tuesday Memes: The Daring Ladies of LowellMy Profile

  4. I am glad the ending wasn’t super predictable and that the writing was done well!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings
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  5. Oh wow, I don’t think I want to read this at all now. Not that it’s my usual read anyway, but I liked the cover so much it interested me (because I’m shallow when it comes to book covers, haha). But nope, characters are everything to me in a book, I don’t care if it’s one of the best or worst books in the world, if I can or cannot connect to the characters, it really effects my rating/review. But, whoa, Gemma sounds horrible. There doesn’t even seem to be an redeemable qualities either (I mean, as you said, she may feel bad now, but she didn’t while she done it) or can understand why she’s doing what she is, then I don’t mind it, but nope. I don’t think I’ll like Gemma at all. 🙁 At least it’s well written, I guess. That can definitely save a book for me too. 🙂
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…We Were Liars: Read-Along #lliarslivereadMy Profile

    • I usually feel the same way about connecting with the characters and having to like them, but for some reason this book was different. Owning up to what she did — and I’m sure that’s coming in the end because this IS a book (series) and she’s the main character — would go a long way toward redeeming Gemma. She just fell into the lie about her her identity and I guess it seemed like an easier path than admitting who she was and what she had done.
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