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Isabelle Day Refuses to Die of a Broken Heart

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  101 ratings  ·  43 reviews
In Milwaukee, Isabelle Day had a house. And she had a father. This year, on Halloween, she has half of a house in Minneapolis, a mother at least as sad as she is, and a loss that’s too hard to think—let alone talk—about. It’s the Midwest in the early 1960s, and dads just don’t die . . . like that.

Hovering over Isabelle’s new world are the duplex’s too-attentive landladies,
Hardcover, 138 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by Univ Of Minnesota Press
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Showing 1-30
3.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  101 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Isobel Radakovic
2.5 stars.
I really wanted to like this book. The cover is beautiful and I've really been loving historical fiction lately, so I gave this book quite high expectations, which may have been wrong from me. However, this doesn't excuse quite how bad this book unfortunately was. My main complaint is just how boring this book was; literally nothing happened, and everything felt forced. This was disappointing.
Jun 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-read-books
This book was quite pleasant to read. It had an interesting theme and the way it was executed will certainly be well appreciated by its young readers. The book also has a varied cast of characters, my favorite one being the two elderly sisters who are the landladies to the main character and her mother. However, despite being enjoyable, the book did have a few flaws, hence the 3-star rating.
The characters, though being very interesting, were a bit underdeveloped. Isabelle encounters many people
Ms. Yingling
Jun 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
E ARC from

Isabelle and her mother move from Milwaukee to Minneapolis after her father's death. Her mother has a job teaching, and Isabelle goes to a Catholic school with feisty nuns and the world's ugliest uniform. The elderly neighbor ladies, Flora and Dora, take a shine to Isabelle and share their chicken soup and their sad past with her. Isabelle manages to make friends and slowly comes to terms with her father's death and her new life, even after tragedy befalls one of the elde
Sep 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Isabelle Day Refuses to Die of a Broken Heart is the story of a young teenage girl whose world has been turned upside down. Isabelle’s dad died and then her mum decided they would move to Minneapolis for a new start, so Isabelle has not only lost her dad but also her home, her friends and the only life she had ever known.

Isabelle and her mum now rent a small apartment from two old ladies who live in the apartment downstairs. Flora and Dora immediately want to look after Isabelle and her mum. The
Suze Lavender
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
After her father's tragic death Isabelle and her mother move from Milwaukee to Minneapolis. What happened to him is too awful to talk about. Because her mother wanted to move Isabelle now has to start all over again. She has to make new friends and she has to get used to a new home, which is a duplex instead of a three-story house. There two old ladies who live in the same building who don't leave Isabelle alone. Their names are Flora and Dora and they are sisters. They are good at preparing foo ...more
Heather A
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
I recieved a copy from Netgalley.

This book felt like somewhere between middle grade and YA. There was nothing really wrong with it. It tells the story of Isabelle, a young girl struggling to cope with the unexpected death of her father. She and her mom move and Isabelle goes to a new school where she has to deal with mean nun teachers and new friends. She makes the acquaintance of her two elderly neighbor sisters who are a bit weird.

It was sweet and certainly moving in parts towards the end, b
Jun 03, 2015 rated it liked it
I have to qualify that my rating is reflective of the fact that MY enjoyment reading this was at like a 3, but I would bank on my 10 or 11 yr old self giving this a 5. It's not the kind of YA that transcends age. It didn't engage me, it was just VERY sweet and expresses young grief in a lovely way.

But the BEST thing about it - as something meant to be read by youngsters - is that it's purely about friendship. It's about a teenage girl, and there's not one mention of romance. Which is super refr
Janka H.
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Little meaningful story. Teenager Isabelle is living with her heart broken - her beloved father died (under certain circumstances), and she and her Mom moved. There is nothing and nobody to connect to - or Isabelle thinks. But life just goes on and maybe there is hope and light to be found.

The topic of sadness is explained simply yet beautifully - but maybe one has to experience something similar to Isabelle to understand how one just lives almost normally, but there is something bottled up unde
May 23, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this short read. It's more emotion driven than plot driven. To be honest, reading it is like coming into the middle of a story. Major events have already happened. At book's end, there are still a couple of puzzling large questions I would have liked to had answered. I wouldn't have minded another 100 pages, providing they tackled the unanswered bits. Three stars.
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Bruce Gargoyle
3.5 stars

Ten Second Synopsis:
After Isabelle's father dies, she and her mother move to a new house shared with two elderly ladies. Isabelle tries to fit in with her new school and new friends, but is hampered by her secret grief and the old ladies from downstairs who keep trying to pry into her life.

This book features a leisurely pace and an authentic representation of a grieving young person trying to adjust to loss and a new environment. Nothing really bad happens in this story and there aren’t
Review copy provided by Netgalley

Isabelle Day is a character from another generation, but her story is one that will resonate with readers from today especially if they have dealt with the unexpected death of a loved one. I really enjoyed this book. Isabelle was a highly believable character, dealing with the loss of her father and the stress of moving away from her home in Milwaukee. She's nervous about upsetting her fragile mother, longing for the friends that she left behind and pining for ne
Becky Ginther
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: grades-5-7
I thought this book had an interesting premise, but unfortunately it didn't really deliver for me. It's about Isabelle Day, a girl who has recently moved with her mother back to their hometown since her father has passed away. While there she makes a couple of new friends, deals with a new school, and tries her best to avoid her odd downstairs neighbors, two elderly sisters.

The unfortunate bit about this book is that it was just rather boring. Not a lot happened. It doesn't have to be full of ac
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
C. Gold
Jun 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book is what i call “a slice of life” sort of story. We get to see Isabelle and everyone around her as their lives develops and keeps going from where we first meet them.

There is no supernatural/science fiction thing to it at all, just life itself, so i wouldn’t recommend it for people expecting to find fast passing, incredible stories. They won’t get any of them in this book.

And yet, i found this book to be really charming, maybe it’s the way it was written, or the way the characters are.
Cheriee Weichel
Aug 12, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a slow thoughtful book about a girl trying to come to terms with her father's death. Following his death, Isabelle and her mother return to her mother's home town where her mother gets a teaching position. They live above the McCarthy sisters, a couple of elderly ladies, who do their best to help out.

Isabelle has a lot to cope with: a new school and new teachers, making new friends, and the meddling of the McCarthy sisters. She worries about her mother and whether or not Margaret, the g
Aug 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Isabelle Day Refuses to Die of a Broken Heart... but I felt like my heart was going to break quite a few times while reading the book. Isabelle's and her mum's grief, their sadness over loosing their dad/husband is so tangible, so real, as the reader you simply can't help but feel their pain quite physically. As if loosing her dad isn't hard enough, Isabelle is loosing everything else and everyone else she has known so far as she and her mum move to a new town, away from everything reminding the ...more
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
At first I was really off by the way the story was written. I couldn't connect to the mother-daughter relationship portrayed. I felt the writing was devoid of emotions but the fool that I am I continued reading because I torture myself that way and can't stand not having finished a book I started. Fortunately, it got better as the story moved along. The friendship angle salvaged the whole story. We get a glimpse of Isabelle Day's fears and inhibitions in "moving on" from grief at her Father's pa ...more
Jean Haberman
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
This story of Isabelle Day is spot on. Her dad died and her mom couldn't take living in the same house and town with all the reminders, so they moved to Minnesota. They lived in the upper floor of a house with two elderly ladies, Flora and Dora, living on the bottom floor. Isabelle didn't want to talk to anybody, let alone two old ladies. She missed her friends and was sure she wouldn't like her new school or be able to make friends. Then she met her next door neighbor Margaret. She couldn't bel ...more
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-lit
Liked this one a lot. The cover is cute and more sophisticated than the average chapter book. This is Elizabeth Berg for young women. Cleverly and beautifully written. Despite the length the author manages to tie up loose ends and bring it all to cozy conclusion without it feeling rushed. Characterization is thoroughly well done; Isabelle is one of the most interesting protagonists in children's fiction I've seen in a while: she's going through the loss of her dad (the author really makes you wa ...more
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2015
The story was just a story and I couldn’t relate to anything because everything felt rushed or fake. Isabelle’s dads death is sad, but you never feel sad about it because one moments her sadness is there, then the next moment she’s obsessing over her new friendship with Margaret. The shocking part of her dads death was underwhelming. Usually books build up suspense that has you thirsty for it. There was absolutely no build up. It was just like here…have it. I just wasn’t shocked.

Keep Reading...
Dec 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Isabelle Day has a broken heart because her father died. As a result she and her mom move to another city where they won't have to face the memories of him everywhere.

The new place is the upstairs portion of a duplex and Isabelle misses the privacy of their older home with both her parents. Below them lives the owners, the McCarthy sisters, Flora and Dora.

Isabelle is having a hard time with the loss of her father and moving away from her friends. Now she will be going to a new school.

Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When Isabelle's father dies Isabelle and her mother move from Milwaukee to Minneapolis , they move into a duplex that has two elderly ladies living upstairs called Dora and Flora. These two women are no strangers to grief and so they do their best to look after young Isabelle who is struggling with losing her beloved father.
At school Isabelle meets Margaret and Grace who help her get adjusted to life in a new area , through all this help she is beginning to get through each day taking it one st
As Isabelle attempts to make peace with her father's death, an elderly neighbor, who is all to familiar with loss, explains how she persevered.

"Long ago, Dora came home with some lovely music by Mr. Dubussy--and she played it on the Victrola until it seemed I had used up a lifetime's supply of tears."

"Because of the music?"

"Yes, because the music found a little crack in me, and it dug into the hard knot of sorrow that had grown inside. I told myself, 'You have been hurt beyond measure.' Very gra
Brianna | briannas_books
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: received this book for review!!

I love middle grade books that also involve serious topics in a light hearted way! I believe Jane St. Anthony accomplished this and more!! This book was so cute and at times sad. I think it would be great for any pre-teen/teen who needs a laugh or is going through family issues. I give this book a full 5/5 stars!! The story line and characters were so loveable, and that made the read even better!! Looking forward to reading more books from this author!!
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
(Digital ARC)

It's okay for a book to have low-key action. It doesn't have to have explosions, vampires, or love at first sight to work. That being said, a book does need some action and Isabelle Day just doesn't have it.

The writing is stuffy and the anecdotes of Isabelle Day adjusting to her new school, town, and life after her father's death are all really boring. Even when they have the potential for excitement (breaking into a graveyard!) the snapshots are dull.

I'd have a hard time recommendi
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc-reading
Isabella is very sad after the death of her father and a big move that changes the rest of her life. The book is set another decade but it don't see a purpose for that time setting. It was curious that we don't learn the details and importance of those details until very late in the story. I like the characters but they didn't grow enough or have enough activity in the story. It was sentimental and slow, and I can't think of more than just a couple of students who might enjoy reading it.
Becky Loader
Nov 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Isabelle Day has a secret. When she and her mother move to Minneapolis, Isabelle is not happy. Her father has just died, and all the familiar parts of her life are gone. Isabelle is not happy with a new school, no friends, and two eccentric old landladies who live downstairs in their duplex. How will she adapt to all these changes??

Good read.
Aimee Bissonette
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am a long time fan of Jane St. Anthony. My daughter (who was in middle school at the time) and I loved "The Summer Sherman Loved Me" and "Grace Above All." How wonderful to now have the trilogy completed with "Isabelle Day." Kudos to University of Minnesota press for publishing this beautiful book and re-issuing its counterparts.
Michelle Abesamis
Jun 27, 2015 rated it liked it
If I was in elementary or middle school, I would have loved this book. Nothing really happens - it's more about the everyday dynamics and the relationships she has with various people in her life. And especially how Isabelle copes with grief at such a young age.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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